Uber-for-food is just another form of exploitation


Food delivery services offering home-cooked food may be convenient for consumers. However, chefs become replaceable, mechanized cogs who will be paid less and less as competition among them increases. This eventually will decrease the choice consumers have, as food delivery services become more and more bland in their offerings, as they try to appeal to all and the really good cooks refuse to work for reduced prices. I’m sure food from Sprig is mighty tasty and wondrously organic too (for now.) But that misses the point.

Aggregators kills independents. A website client of mine teaches violin and used to get good results from Google Ads. Then aggregators, offering hundreds of music teachers to choose from moved in, bidding the price up to $8-10 per click, far more than my client can afford and her business has suffered.

Our economy is devolving into subsistence living, as elites figure out how to stick a straw in to suck out the profits.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say hypothetical Sally trains in bookkeeping, and incurs $40,000 in debt to get her degree. But bookkeeping, clerking, and payroll jobs are being off-shored to the Philippines, India, and Mexico. Also, her grandma is a bookkeeper, and she and her buddies are clinging to their jobs in their 60’s and 70’s, because they were wiped out by the last two recessions – dot com bubble bursting and the 2008 great recession. They aren’t retiring and letting Sally or her bookkeeping friends enter that profession..

Maybe Sally is old for a newbie bookkeeper, and not young, perky, and cute — two more strikes against her. So she never gets called back for a second interview.

She puts up notices at churches, in Craigslist (if its safe in her area), at grocery stores. Along comes an accounting aggregator, like Josephine is for food. Sally’s business stream dries up.

So she turns to the desperation economy for the last 1,000+ years, and starts renting out rooms and cooking. Subsistence living

First: She’s not cooking because that’s what she’s trained to do, or wants to do as a profession. Second: It’s marginally profitable, She’s only making ends barely meet — thus, subsistence living. Third: an outside entity interested only in profits has just interposed itself in her subsistence business model. They skim off a chunk of her income from subsistence. By increasing the competition, they have also driven down whatever income Sally can make.

Moral: the capitalist elite will reserve the cake for themselves, then cheat the rest of their bread, and won’t be completely satisfied until they have deprived us of the crumbs.

Sprig-type operations drain agency and expertise out of the world. They centralize, aiming to build huge hubs with small spokes; their innermost mechanisms are hidden. They depend on humans behaving as interchangeable units of labor.

In the hypothetical future we can label Full Sprig, no one cooks who is not employed by this kind of company.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.