Tags: uber | innovation | government regulation

Uber and Innovation: The Left's Worst Nightmares

Uber and Innovation: The Left's Worst Nightmares

The Uber app logo is displayed on an iPhone on August 3, 2016. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 02 November 2016 09:42 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Recently we have been hearing about the evil monstrosity destroying the very fabric of our society and the welfare of all who inhabit it. This supposed malevolent entity is none other than Uber, a smartphone application that provides private taxi services to its users at competitive prices.

Uber has been attacked and threatened by many government jurisdictions worldwide and their government monopoly taxi companies. They claim that Uber is unsafe and dangerous because it is "unregulated" and "unlicensed."

So do these politicians have a point? Is Uber really a danger after all?

Of course not — this is all utter nonsense. Uber is far from a threat to our society and the economy. In fact, it is a positive development that has given countless people affordable and efficient transportation options while providing an income to just as many drivers.
When the government throws accusations of a new and promising venture being dangerous because it is "unregulated" or "unlicensed," this is essentially newspeak for "they didn't pay us our kickback." Governments across the world license an innumerable amount of professions and activities, and Uber has provided many with a way around these archaic and corrupt licensing laws, allowing people to become drivers with relative ease and without needing to go through a burdensome, bureaucratic, and expensive process to gain a license.

Essentially, how this government licensing racket works is by taking natural rights away from individuals and then trying to sell back to the same individuals the rights they stole and denied from them in the first place, calling it a "license" — all at a profit, of course. At the same time, they build a support network of individuals and organizations who benefit from the weakened competition under this licensing system. These vested interests are essentially purchased votes and will work hard to prevent any change to the law. In the case of Uber, the biggest of these groups have been the government taxi companies and the taxicab unions.

So you see, when the government uses coercion and force to suck a profit out of you it is "for the greater good," but when a company makes a profit by providing a much-needed service efficiently and at a competitive rate they are deemed "exploitative" and "dangerous."

Uber has been taking market share away from various government-owned or supported transportation entities such as traditional taxis, buses, and other modes of public transportation. Why? Because they provide a better and more innovative service. Thus this is starting to hurt the government's bottom line.

Democratic presidential candidate and limo connoisseur Hillary Clinton came out swinging against Uber and the entire sharing economy (which she demeaned as the "gig economy") back during the Democratic primaries. She said at a speech in New York,
“Many Americans are making extra money renting out a spare room, designing websites, selling products they design themselves at home, or even driving their own car."

If she had stopped there she would have said one of the few sensible things in her entire scandal-ridden political career. Instead she continued, "It's also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future."

Workplace conditions? Is it such a terrible thing that someone can drive another person for money without getting government approval? Licensed taxi drivers are notoriously shady and rude, I find it hard to believe that a non-licensed Uber driver who has to work to maintain a good reputation would be a worse alternative. Are the drivers or riders being exploited by Uber? Well, if the drivers felt they weren't being paid enough or their work wasn't safe they would cease working for Uber, and if the riders felt the prices were not reasonable or conditions unsafe, they would cease to use Uber. Neither is happening and Uber continues to grow. It's called mutual exchange, and it is at the heart of human interaction and been going on since time immemorial.

In my hometown, New York, which has been at the center of the Uber debate, the prices for New York City taxi medallions (licenses) have been falling. Prior to Uber, the prices for such medallions topped $1 million. Now that Uber has made it possible for anyone to become a driver with relative ease, the price for these medallions has dropped and hopefully will continue to do so. Their depreciation in value from their all time highs represent the decline of the NYC taxi monopoly, which is finally, after generations, having to face competition.

Of course, our Mayor Bill DeBlasio doesn't see things as I do. As one of his first acts as mayor, DeBlasio decided to set his eyes on Uber. Clearly, in a city with record levels of homelessness and poverty (especially among children), the main focus of the mayor should not be to subvert and destroy a company that is providing jobs and valuable services to the populace. The saddest part of all of this is that DeBlasio isn't alone. This same story is being played out the world over.

All this innovation of the so-called "sharing economy" is nothing more than the free market at work. Through market competition, incentives are created to innovate and improve your product or service. If an economic actor fails to do such they fail. Government monopolies have no such incentives to improve as they are tax funded and will be bailed out when the going gets rough.

This isn't the full picture though. At the heart of the ongoing war against Uber, there is an underlying fear among the left: a fear of the power and rise of free market capitalism. What has essentially been going on in recent years with the rise of the "sharing economy," manifested in companies like Uber and Airbnb, is a realization that was described perfectly by President Reagan when he famously said, "government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." Innovation through the free market has time and again showed that private entities do a better job at solving our problems and providing solutions then their public-sector counterparts.

The left hates this. When people can get better service from an Uber driver for a cheaper price than a bus or taxi, then people begin to question why they are paying the taxes to support such things in the first place. It rips to pieces the whole message of the left: that the government must provide everything, that the market is exploitative and not to be trusted.

As a result the left has only one option, to go after any market innovation they can and suffocate it to death before it takes off. That is exactly what they are trying to do with Uber. Government regulations, restrictions, laws and other impediments cannot keep up with the market. Sooner or later, workarounds are found that only further discredit the left's agenda.

Thus, I encourage all freedom loving Americans to ignore the spin and Uber on. Your liberties are at stake.

Gavin Wax is the Editor-In-Chief of The Liberty Conservative, a former New York State Director for the Ted Cruz Presidential campaign, and a small business entrepreneur. Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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GavinWax
Uber is far from a threat to our society and the economy. In fact, it is a positive development that has given countless people affordable and efficient transportation options while providing an income to just as many drivers.
uber, innovation, government regulation
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2016-42-02
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 09:42 AM
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