Fables in Service of Capitalism

Dated Oct 7, 2020; last modified on Sat, 06 Nov 2021

Over the last 70 years, less than 10% of plastic waste has been recycled - it’s uneconomical. Recycling shifts attention from the environmental impact of plastics and their overproduction to the consumer’s willingness to recycle. Reducing and reusing is a much better environmental strategy.

Slots are increasingly designed for addiction, e.g. quick simple games, adding “near misses”, more ways to win (and therefore more “near misses” if one doesn’t bet on the additional ways), losses disguised as wins, random but weighted outcomes. However, casinos claim that gambling addictions are personal failings that can be resolved with self-regulation.

Reminds me of packs in FIFA and NBA 2k…

Google allows certain booking and ordering services from third-party providers (e.g. Doordash) to automatically appear with business listings. To edit such links, the business has to contact the third party. Complaints by restaurants: Doordash has poor service that reflects on the restaurant; sometimes owners have their own delivery service which is circumvented; Doordash charges the restaurant for orders made through them.

It’s more likely that Doordash and Grubhub will have more technical expertise to navigate online listings - they have deep money-losing, but user-growth-fueling pockets (e.g. Uber Eats spent $1.2B to make $734m in Q4 2019).

Food delivery services may argue that an opt-out model for restaurants avails more choice for the customer. But should it be at the expense of the actual restaurants?

In some cases, the phone number provided by the delivery service is more visible (e.g. Yelp, Google Maps, 3rd-Party App) than the one operated by the restaurant itself. Furthermore, the 3rd-party phone number typically doesn’t disclose that it’s third-party. Any calls/orders made through this phone number results in the restaurant paying commission, even when it doesn’t make sense - $6.42 for a coffee.

  1. Recycling was a lie — a big lie — to sell more plastic, industry experts say. The Passionate Eye | CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/the-passionate-eye/recycling-was-a-lie-a-big-lie-to-sell-more-plastic-industry-experts-say-1.5735618 . https://www.cbc.ca/passionateeye/episodes/plastic-wars . Sep 23, 2020. Accessed Oct 7, 2020.
  2. Your Book Review: Addiction By Design. https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/your-book-review-addiction-by-design . May 14, 2021. Accessed Jun 19, 2021.
  3. Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage. Ranjan Roy. https://themargins.substack.com/p/doordash-and-pizza-arbitrage . May 17, 2020.
  4. Doordash has hijacked my Google business page and I can't edit or delete the 'Order' link away. https://support.google.com/business/thread/5820393?hl=en . https://support.google.com/business/answer/6218037 . May 9, 2019.
  5. Even If You're Trying To Avoid Grubhub By Calling Your Favorite Restaurant Directly, Grubhub Could Still Be Charging It A Fee. Vanessa Wong. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/venessawong/grubhub-phone-order-call-fee-coronavirus . May 15, 2020.