Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Uber's consumer libertarianism

I know Thom Hartmann knows the info in this article, "Uber's consumer democracy: Uber uses the language of consumer choice to subvert democracy." I've heard him rail against this sort of libertarianism countless times. And yet he still shills for Uber several times during his program. I guess the trade-off for getting his show more widely distributed by Westwood requires him to do these Uber ads. I'm pretty sure Westwood doesn't care what he says about libertarianism as long as he participates in it. Thing is, Westwood is reducing the markets for his show, controlling and limiting that distribution.

From this article.

"Uber uses the language of consumer choice to subvert the democratic process."

 "Last summer, as Judge Sean Dunphy threw out Toronto’s suit to shut down Uber, he acknowledged that the city was caught between 'the existing regulatory system' and 'thousands of consumers/voters who do not wish to see the competition genie forced back into the bottle.' Whether he realized it or not, Dunphy was speaking the language of permissionless innovation proponents, who equate consumer choice with direct democracy. Every purchase, they reason, is a vote for a product and its business model. Yet, as historian Lawrence Glickman points out, assuming that what’s good for consumers is good for society papers over the tension between workers’ interests and consumers’ interests."

"Millions of workers can’t even find employment — in Canada, there are more than three unemployed people for every job vacancy. Uber benefits from and exacerbates this precarity, drawing many of its drivers from the desperate ranks of the un- and underemployed — and then completing the circle by classifying them as independent contractors."

"Citizens are not synonymous with consumers. Consumers act according to different imperatives, and in ways that often undermine the rights of workers. And if you confer on them supreme power — sidestepping the ballot box and other forms of democratic control — you create a reactionary new order. You create, in a word, libertarianism."

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