A visitor arrives at your door; they smile, and hand you a package with Pad Thai and chicken.
You ordered from your favorite meal delivery service, and you know that dinner will be easy tonight; just plop it on plate, and enjoy it while watching something on Amazon Prime Instant Video. You take the box into the kitchen, pop open the laminated chipboard and get the food onto a plate.
That is when you notice it. On the takeout box you’re about to junk, the tagline we are all familiar with: an Amazon Company.
A Network of Influence for Amazon
Amazon seems to be unfurling an ever-growing network of influence across our world as company after company falls prey to the money, and near guaranteed success the tagline brings.
From security cameras to prescription medications, Amazon is moving into every imaginable business venture at a blinding speed. That family of companies now includes Deliveroo, a British food-delivery service, and a rival to companies like UberEats.
Amazon recently used some of its cash to fund the startup, providing the lion’s share of more than $500 million dollars. With it, Amazon joins four other companies in a mission to earn a share of the hyper-lucrative market.
Beyond the simple injection of cash, this represents Amazon’s management’s goal. Put simply: Inundate every portion of your life with Amazon.
And to that goal, it has been successful. Its original load star, Amazon.com, has more than five-hundred million different products. One could already essentially live off of Amazon alone. From food delivered, to Whole Foods, to clothing from your favorite brands or kitchen supplies from Amazon Basics –heck, even a tiny house to live in — Amazon is now the ultimate department store, carrying literally everything from A to Z, and even forcing Walmart into follower status.
But this has an effect on our lives, and it’s not necessarily a good thing.
Amazon’s Permanent Revolution
As with Walmart’s relentless price cutting that on one hand lifted millions out of poverty but on the other hand drove “mom and pop” shops out of business, Amazon is bringing a similar revolution to the interactions between governments and business, and in doing so reforming what it means to lobby. In fact, the Washington-based company is now operating in a way that is so efficient and encapsulating that it is in fact setting government policy.
The announcement of a second headquarters led to a literal coordinated competition between cities in which they attempted to become the most friendly to Amazon’s business; mitigating taxes, changing zoning, and capitulating to the inevitable wave of gentrification that comes with the Amazon sword.
And while that is a big problem for a lot of reasons and for a lot of people, it represents a scary food problem. Amazon brings with it its network of business, one even more expansive and complex than the global food net, and what is sure to be a harbinger of further decentralization of our food.
The Effect of Easy International Delivery
After all, Amazon is driven by money, and the money says things like we should be growing peppers in Mexico where it’s cheaper, and there is a longer growing season, and shipping them all over the world, still at a fraction of the cost of actually growing them where they are consumed.
To a large degree, it’s already our food network. In the Winter, tomatoes are available in the northern United States because they are grown in the far south and further. The same breed of tomatoes, grown in Sweden and yet feed Germany, Russia, and the U.K., all because they’re cheaper.
The same concept applies to all the products Amazon ships. On my home page, I am recommended a ring from China, magnetic hooks made in Japan, and shipped from Korea, and pants made in Malaysia. Each product considerably cheaper than the local made counterpart, but with a much larger environmental impact.
Amazon’s investment in food delivery represents the goal of the companies operators: a delivery continuum, and that continuum now includes fresh food from your favorite restaurant, at least if your in the U.K. that is. So when you order from Amazon, be weary of the costs you don’t see on your credit card bill, the societal and environmental costs, and even the long-term costs to the world supply chain.