Getting Over Taxis
Tim O'Reilly
69556

Live from La Farine: The Good, the Bad, and the Uber

There are two bad things about Uber:

  • It is, to some degree, a behavioral economics play against its drivers — a bet that the drivers will not properly see the costs that depreciation imposes on their vehicles and on them.
  • It is, to some degree, a regulatory arbitrage play against us citizens —evading, via the claim that drivers are independent contractors, that part of the corporate tax which is assigning some of the responsibilities for administering social insurance to large firms.

There are four good things about Uber:

  • It is a valuable neurosis play, for the benefit of passengers (like me) who are really made calmer and less stressed by seeing the little taxi crawl toward us on the screen.
  • It is a valuable supply play for drivers and passengers, by raising the price and informing drivers when demand is high.
  • It is a valuable information play by empowering passengers to inform drivers where they are.
  • It is a valuable equality play by its willigness to pick up African-American males, albeit only those with credit cards.

I think the good clearly outweighs the bad…