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You're grossly overestimating the effect of Uber and Bitcoin (AirBnB is different from the other two, and is far more interesting, IMO, and far bigger to boot). Currently, the two are little more than blips on the radar, and it is far from certain that either will ever become more than that. Uber is a service for affluent, impatient people. It reforms (if it reforms anything) the system by letting the rich play by their own rules. Bitcoin, let's be honest, is currently regularly used mostly to facilitate illegal transactions (not necessarily "bad" transactions, but illegal nonetheless). If it ever does becomes widespread, Bitcoin cannot reform the banking sector or the economy. In fact, at least in western countries, it can do more harm than good because it takes away the freedom to manipulate the currency in favor of the people.



Taxis are services for affluent, impatient people. UberX is cheaper than a black cab in London.

I said Bitcoin has the potential, not that is was actually there. Already being used for "not necessarily "bad" transactions, but illegal nonetheless" transactions is a powerful endorsement already. I see the potential of Bitcoin, not as a savings currency, but as a transaction currency. Right now, making an electronic, verified transaction is the exclusive domain of banks and fraught with annoyance and danger. In Denmark, an electronic bank transfer takes a day. If you need to real-time transact with someone without credit (ie. trust), you need to use cashiers cheques (which are expensive and have a fixed amount, so no haggling) or cash. Or you need to buy into the ridiculously expensive and painfully over-regulated credit card network. And still deal with charge-backs. In the US, someone can more or less trivially steal all your money if they get your account number. The UK is mostly sane, there's even a mobile app for doing instant account transfers (PingIt), but then add international to the mix and all bets are off.

Bitcoin is a plausible infrastructure for secure, almost instant peer-to-peer transactions without getting the banks involved.

Also, it's a neat technology for people who don't appreciate having their savings "manipulated" for their own good (in reality, mostly other peoples' good).


I don't see how banks lending out my savings at fairly low risk in order to earn me a small sum of interest means my savings are being "manipulated".

Besides, if I really want to run the hell away from banks, I can always take all my savings out as cash and either bury it in my backyard that way, or buy its worth in some fixed commodity and bury it in my backyard that way.

Of course, that presumes I have a rather large backyard and a rather large time horizon for savings! When I don't, a bank is very useful, actually.

And of course, let's not forget that bitcoins can be lost forever if my dog eats a scrap of card on which I kept my wallet.


Is there really such a thing as "other people" when we talk about society?

Also, Uber's attempts to battle Taxi drivers is a perfect embodiment of preferring the consumer experience over the worker's dignity. Personally, I find this appalling but realize it's the natural result of American consumerism.


> Is there really such a thing as "other people" when we talk about society?

Are there only ever not "other people"? A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

> Also, Uber's attempts to battle Taxi drivers is a perfect embodiment of preferring the consumer experience over the worker's dignity.

I'm not sure how having an exploitative monopoly is dignified for anyone. I've met plenty of cheerful and dignified Uber and Kabbee drivers (and rude and undignified black cab drivers).


Uber is degrading to which worker's dignity? Why?




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