“One of the reasons why S.F. is so expensive to live is because of rent control and other policies, not free market economics.”
Sorry, but I’m from the Bay Area and this is simply not true. Rent control is a policy that stops landowners from raising prices on tenants past a certain amount at one time, it is certainly not the reason that housing prices are so high here. It is 1) the general desirability of the SF Bay Area as a place to live, 2) the fact that Silicon Valley is here and the tech economy is booming once more with the second wave of startups, and 3) a distinct *lack* of regulation in the housing market in this area, which has enabled the gentrification of countless neighborhoods and the displacement of the middle- and working-class families who used to live in them.
“No one forces you, as a user, to use Yelp. No one forces employees to work there. If you find their hiring practices abhorrent, don’t use the service.”
You seem to have missed my point that this argument could have been made 140 years ago with regard to the excesses of business in this country as well. “No one’s forcing you to ride the railroad, why do you care if their employees are being mistreated and forced to live in company towns?” “No one’s forcing you to buy textiles, why do you care if children are being used as labor?” You might say that “this is how economies work,” but you seem to have also missed the primary economic lessons of the 20th century — namely, that unregulated market economies do *not* self-correct, that industry will *not* regulate itself with regard to its human and environmental costs, and that workers have to *demand* (and not simply hope for) a fair share of the profits of business.
Like I said, I respect that “personal responsibility” has to be a *part* of this conversation, but it seems like you and many others wish to redefine personal responsibility as “always working harder and never complaining no matter how badly you are being treated.” My dad had a word for people like that — he called them “suckers.”