This is about Uber. I’ve done a lot of research, and I’m seriously considering writing a book about the company. If I do, it will be called “Uber Ugly,” and it will be an “expose in broad daylight.”
(When there aren’t any secrets, all an expose can do is present the facts in a way that awakens the public’s sensibilities and sensitivities. In short, it’s about being productively annoying.)
Most people can see everything Uber is doing. They just don’t stop and think about the details or their implications–it’s somebody else’s problem.
Looking at Uber as a symbol of the “sharing economy,” there are a number of things that have to be examined. A good place to start might be, what the **** is the “sharing economy,” anyway? Are we talking socialism here? The term is vapid, the “concept” illusory. Some things are changing, somewhat, possibly–or possibly not.
So far, Uber has succeeded in BSing everybody, or at least everybody whose judgment or opinion actually matters in terms of how things are going to be and how things will be regulated.
With the new administration taking over imminently, and with politics being as it is, the future looks bright for the “sharing economy,” and for Uber especially, as it stands as the de facto poster child for that whole concept. (Is it actually a concept? Or a fatuous symbol of simplistic “deregulation” theory?)
On the other hand, as noted, pretty much everybody has been watching how Uber has achieved its success, and the company doesn’t have many fans on the basis of its ethics or integrity or respect for the laws that everyone else is expected to follow.
You can’t really blame Uber for doing what it has done in light of the collapsing wall of resistance it has encountered almost everywhere. Legal challenges have been brushed aside time after time, and even when it seems clear that Uber is afoul of the law–such as on the issue of drivers being contractors or employees–nothing happens.
The latest court rulings have fallen in line. Uber can force many claims–by drivers and passengers–into arbitration, creating a daunting wall of resistance to class actions. And Judge Posner, 7th Appellate District, concluded that Uber and traditional taxis are not “similarly situated parties,” so Uber can retain its crushing competitive advantage and the taxis have no recourse.
(In fact, the issue of taxis-versus-TNCs hasn’t yet been definitively decided. It might wind up before the U. S. Supreme Court, a tech-savvy bunch if ever there was one.)
Just since this item was created, there is (I am led to believe) a new legal decision on the employee-versus-contractor dispute, this time in favor of Uber. To my knowledge, if I verify it’s so, this is the first such decision to drift across the line in favor of the “contractor” definition. All before it have been decided in favor of the drivers (who wanted to be regarded as employees). Once again, it is more and more obvious that the fix is indeed in.