What We’re Reading

Logistics:

Amazon now delivers nearly half of its orders, compared with less than 15% in 2017, according to estimates from research firm Rakuten Intelligence. It is now handling an estimated 4.8 million packages every day in the U.S. … The U.S. Postal Service, once the primary carrier of Amazon parcels, delivers about half the share of packages than it did two years ago.

Synergy:

When Tesla bought SolarCity, it said the deal would “add more than half a billion dollars in cash to Tesla’s balance sheet over the next three years.” But it appears to have had the opposite effect. “I think it’s a big source of the cash-flow deficit,” says one longtime analyst. “I think it is a big thorn inside of Tesla.” The company has paid back some of SolarCity’s debt, including the Solar Bonds owed to Musk and SpaceX. But this fall, another $556 million is coming due. In a characteristic tweet, Musk once vowed he would “personally” repay the SolarCity debt if need be.

Value:

“A huge part of our job is building a great investment process that will make money over the long term, but a fair amount of our job is sticking to it like grim death during the tougher times.”

Fake meat:

I can’t help but notice that when fake meat was the purview of food utopians and visionary chefs, thought leaders were enthusiastically in favor of it. But as soon as fake meat hit the plastic trays at Burger King, they were fretting about how over-processed it was.

So what’s going on here?

I believe that the problem with fake meat isn’t so much that it is ultra-processed as that it is mass produced. The conflation of exclusivity and goodness is actually endemic to large swaths of food culture. “Myths about superior taste and nutrition,” food scholar S. Margot Finn observed in a recent essay in the Breakthrough Journal, “mostly help the middle classes distance themselves from the poor.”

Household help:

Relationships between the classes, once mediated through the household, are now managed through an app that serves a large metro area. The workers of the new servant economy don’t live with their employers, but rather sleep many miles away where they can afford a bedroom. “You could argue there was a more benignly human quality to the old aristocratic relationships,” the economist Muro told me. “Today’s platforms strip down what was once a job into simple, seamless transactions.”

Enjoy the long weekend.


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