[iDC] "'Bandit' cabs are bad for drivers and passengers"

Frank Pasquale frank.pasquale at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 21:06:22 UTC 2014

I think Dean Baker has a sensible response:

"In the case of the taxi industry, it may well be the case that the
existing regulatory structure is excessive. The industry pushed city
governments to restrict the number of cabs so that they could have more
pricing power. . . If Uber and Lyft force a re-examination and
modernization of taxi regulation in San Francisco and elsewhere, they will
have provided a valuable public service. However it can't possibly make
sense to have a stringent set of regulations for traditional cabs, while
allowing Uber and Lyft to ignore them just because customers order these
services on the Internet."


It's just like Amazon getting huge by lobbying for a tax holiday, and thus
getting the upper hand on retailers (whose customers had to pay the tax.)

The only problem with a "sensible" response like Baker's nowadays is that
political structures are so influenced by the wealthy and powerful that
it's hard to imagine a future set of rules being much better than the
present.  So we're caught between a rock (current cab service, which in
cities like Baltimore and Boston strikes me as unreliable) and a hard place
(brave new world of labor herdsourced via 2-way crowdbilking
<http://collectivate.net/journalisms/2014/3/9/crowdmilking.html> by
billionaires, until they're all dumped in favor of driverless Google cars).

That's one reason why I tend to think that, before some new market emerges,
there ought to be taxes in place to help those badly hurt by it (and to
prevent further concentration of wealth). For example, if organ markets
become legitimate, some of the money generated by them ought to be set
aside to help anyone with complications post-"donation". Even Arun
Sundararajan appeared to accept the legitimacy of such a transfer in this
show <http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-07-02/sharing-economy>, to
help individual cab proprietors who bought medallions.


On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 3:43 PM, Trebor Scholz <scholzt at newschool.edu> wrote:

> Here is another article by Veena Dubal on the phenomenon of "ride sharing"
> and its relationship to casual employment.
> http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Bandit-cabs-are-bad-for-drivers-and-passengers-4747566.php
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