Politicians’ Love-Hate Relationship with Uber

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Recently, presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg joined a rally in San Francisco to support Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which would transition drivers from “contractor” to “employee” status. Despite his criticism of Uber and Lyft, Buttigieg’s staff have already spent $9,000 on the services in the first […]

Are We Living in the Golden Age of Ride Sharing?

California’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill, AB5, which would notably disrupt the entire ride-sharing economy as we know it. The law proposes to change Uber and Lyft drivers from “independent contractor” to “employee” status. While a seemingly innocent change, the proposal has the power to destroy tens of thousands of drivers’ jobs. Since […]

The Road to Autonomous Cars

A thoughtful piece on the future of automobiles was written by Bob Lutz, former Vice-Chairman of General Motors.  He foresees a 20-year transition before autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) become the main traffic on our roadways.  He expects that consumers will embrace autonomous cars for reasons of convenience and economy, and he expects painful economic changes […]

Gig Economy in the Crosshairs of a Benefits Blunderbuss

Our so-called “gig economy” is the spontaneous contracting for labor and services on a short-term, low entanglement basis, much as a musician might join a band for one or two night’s work.  Those fleeting labor contracts are made easy by Internet as it supports contractual interactions by sellers and buyers.  In the gig economy, some […]

Government’s Share in the Sharing Economy

The “sharing economy” is a fanciful name for one version of commonplace independent contractor arrangements.  “Sharing” eludes to the multiparty use of an asset such as car or house bought by an individual (or small group).  Intermediaries such as UBER, Airbnb, or Peers provide promotional and booking services to the asset owner in return for […]

Regulatory Creep and Ridesharing

Uber, Lyft and Sidecar are fast-growing “ridesharing” services that compete with each other and with conventional taxis.  The ridesharing services are summoned through an Internet app tied to an established personal account.  The app handles booking, payment, and a ride survey. Ridesharing can be a compelling economic proposition to consumers.  In urban settings, it can […]

Local Governments Blocking Competition and Hurting Consumers

For several years, car-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have been fighting battles in cities across the country. City councils, at the urging of taxi cartels and other interest groups, have attempted to regulate these new services, sometimes out of existence. Uber and Lyft provided a new service that cut into the entrenched and protected […]

The Sharing Economy

One of the more interesting developments in the tech startup scene has been the proliferation of companies capitalizing on what some call the sharing economy. These companies facilitate commerce between two private entities to make a financial transaction. The most popular companies facilitating these interactions are Airbnb, which connects travelers with people who have spare […]