Opinion today: The food delivery revolution

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© Efi Chalikopoulou

Uber’s on-demand ride hailing service used to be the ultimate disrupter. But watch out for food delivery apps like the UK’s Deliveroo and China’s Meituan Dianping, writes John Gapper. Back at the dawn of the 20th century, most families made their own clothes until cheap mass-produced goods persuaded them to outsource this basic necessity. Now the food delivery apps are hoping to do the same thing to home cooking.

Nor will it stop there, John argues. The growth of personal services on two wheels, whether pizza, a massage or a dog-walker, is bringing a cultural revolution. That may well benefit consumers, but those in the supply chain, from drivers to cooks, may not be so lucky.

Roula Khalaf wades into the controversy in France over non-traditional names. She argues that first names tell stories that reach beyond cultural origin.

Megan Greene explains that Italy is playing for high stakes in its fiscal poker game. The markets, the EU and the Italian public are all waiting to see what the new populist government does with its budget, which is due out today.

David Gardner writes that Iran is benefiting from the Trump administration’s lack of a clear Middle East strategy. For all the White House’s bluster, Tehran continues to expand its sphere of influence.

Janan Ganesh argues that Donald Trump’s interests and those of his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have diverged now that Mr Kavanaugh has been hit with sexual assault claims that he denies.

David Pilling writes that China’s entry into Africa has been a boon and that Beijing is acting much as the west did in the 1970s and 1980s.

What you’ve been saying

Tokyo must also focus on energy-saving strategies: from Dana Buntrock, Berkeley, US

Shinzo Abe makes a stirring pitch for all of us to save the earth while we still can, arguing that “no alternative” should be excluded. But the path to energy efficiency should not only include the marketable new technologies he highlights. Considering that more than half of all electricity is consumed in buildings, and that the nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima have been followed by aggressive construction of coal power plants, it is time for Japan to get serious about passive strategies for energy savings.

In response to “Saving liberal democracy from the extremes”, Kaleidoscope says,

I disagree that Trump could not become Orban-esque. In some respects, his attitude towards the UN, NATO, the climate change accord, Israel, Iran etc is already arguably worse than Orban’s actions. He is a dangerous man.

Learning self-detachment en route to top jobs: from Bruce Mathers, Zug, Switzerland

As an ex-partner of a Big Four firm, I agree with Andrew Hill’s column about insecure overachievers. My own career was not bad, but included all the anxiety he describes. I question, however, his sentence “there is no separate strain of unshakeably secure alpha-humans ready to lead the largest organisations”. Late in my career I met several well-known and apparently confident chief executives [ . . .] Interestingly, almost all of them were keen and able sportsmen. Watching them carefully, I came to the conclusion that they treated their jobs just like their sports: every effort should be put into it, but at the end of the day “you win some, you lose some”.

Today’s opinion

The boon of China’s entry into Africa comes with a warning
Beijing’s loans build ports, airports and roads but they are often overpriced

Italy plays for high stakes in its fiscal poker game
The country’s debt sustainability remains on a knife edge

Instant Insight: Jeremy Corbyn’s most accomplished speech and conference yet
The UK Labour leader’s populist policies and rhetoric chime with a mood for change

Trump has an alternative to Brett Kavanaugh
There is another Supreme Court candidate who would electrify the president’s base

Donald Trump’s lack of a Middle East strategy benefits Iran
For all the White House’s bluster, Tehran continues to expand its sphere of influence

Free Lunch: The economic value of trust is staggering
Countries are richer where more people act with, rather than against, the common interest

First names tell stories that reach beyond cultural origin
French anti-liberal commentator’s attack on non-traditional choices is misguided

The food app revolution will eat its drivers
On-demand meal companies such as Meituan and Deliveroo are more disruptive than Uber

FT Alphaville: (Un)lucky number seven

FT View

The FT View: French malaise and why Macron’s reforms matter
The president’s popularity is waning but he must stick to his economic plans

The FT View: US development finance needs urgent upgrading
If America is to maintain its influence, it needs to modernise its tools

The Big Read

FT Series: The Pessimist: a comic satire of the post-crisis world


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