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the cake is a lie

The cake is not a lie

Silly little thing.

Bloke I work with is based in Nairobi. Local lad, writes in English, gets the job done etc – often better than me too. We are both employees at this workplace.

So, he did a record breaking piece of work. Best ever. And so I said “lashings of ginger beer and cream cakes” as that sorta English thing from, umm, Famous Five? Bit of misunderstanding there, as ever when the English use English English phrasing to international speakers etc.

But, cake. So, in this modern world is it possible to get cake delivered in Nairobi? Used to be possible, of course, just call Harrods. A month later there would be cake in Nairobi – Empire, liners, all that. But today? Hmm.

As it turns out, yes. There’s a cake delivery service in Nairobi. Which does indeed deliver. And which I can order from here in Portugal.

Of course, there’s the usual economic weirdness to this. I paid in $ from a US account. So, that’s an import into the US. The $ flowed into Kenya, so that’s an export from Kenya. Even if the cake just moves across the one Kenyan city, it is an American import, a Kenyan export. Weird.

It’s also true that this is a triviality. Folks are facing £4k energy bills this winter and I’m wittering about a $30 cake in Africa. And yet even despite those energy bills the ability to do this is an advance, it’s an increase in the wealth and richness of humanity. I enjoyed the little jokule, presumably the kids will like the cake, utility has been increased. But more than that, even the ability to do this increases utility – it is possible, in a way that was not. So, there’s been economic growth even given the weird way we count it. Humanity, as a whole, is a tiny bit richer because you can order cake in Nairobi from Portugal. Maybe only a tiny bit – but that potentiality is something not normally included in those estimations of how rich we are or are not.

And I’m not so sure that it’s entirely de minimis this increase in utility. I am entirely hugging myself with glee at the thought that I can in fact do this. What, you mean, from this desk, right ‘ere, I can get fruit cake delivered in Africa, a continent I’ve never even been to? I may well never do this, nor anything like it, again, but ain’t that just damn fucking fantabulous? And I can do it for the price of perhaps 30 minutes work?

Of course, the important thing here is that the deal has been completed, the delivery took place last night. So now there’s at least one kid in Africa who knows that the cake is not a lie.