Every company is out there "hustling", as they compete with one another. So is it so much better to delegate the hustling aspect of life to one's CEO? Or are we all just turning over power and rewards to those people, in exchange for a quieter life?
It does get at the question - what are companies even for? According to free market theories, we should all be selling our labor freelance. The standard answer for a long while was that transaction costs would be too high. So possibly AirBnB and Uber are solving that, and more of us can jettison the dead weight of having bosses who specialize in hustling.
The only problem is that they are completely artificial "markets", and they're taking a tremendous percentage. You're not hustling on the free market, you're hustling on the totally-controlled-by-AirBnB market. And the company has no long-term responsibility to any individual operator, and there's probably never going to be anything like an AirBnB hosts' union. Right now, the sharing economy companies will try hard to make life good for the sharers, but they may not always be so aligned.
This is incorrect. If the disutility to an employer of absorbing short term risk is lower than the disutility to the employee, it makes perfect sense. And similarly, if an employer has a comparative advantage over the employee for hustling, specialization makes sense.
There are also large tax incentives (most notably relating to medical spending) for full time employment.
"Free market theories" don't generally oppose risk mitigation strategies, specialization or exploiting economies of scale.
Where I work we have a ridiculously complicated project with crazy business rules and hundreds of thousands of C++ lines written over twenty years. It takes an entire year for someone to become productive. My employer pays people on that project very well and tries to keep them happy so they won't leave and take that year of training out the door.
I'm only a dabbler when it comes to economics, but I think the field of the "theory of the firm" is interesting. And one of their primary topics the question of why all labor isn't sold on a free market.
ToTF is actually a very interesting framework through which to evaluate the "Sharing Economy." It suggests that transaction costs for certain goods and types of labor have been lowered to the point where freelancing / ad hoc exchange makes sense. But there is still an organizing force underlying these pockets of the market. Lyft and Uber haven't eliminated the previously existing firms in the taxi marketplace. They've organized the market more effectively, and in some cases, they've lowered transaction costs for the marginal labor supply who otherwise would not have entered the market. They have also increased and aggregated demand, further incentivizing latent supply to come online. The story of Lyft and Uber is largely a story about how technology made inefficient markets a lot more efficient.
I'm not sure I see the connection between these companies and the plight of the middle class in America. That's where the author of this piece loses me. It's almost as if he's covering two interesting, but tenuously related topics in the same piece. The "hustling" imperative is an interesting one, however, and he's on to something with that.
The 'hustling' imperative comes about from inflationary economics. While we had inflation in the past, the general security of previous generations was financed through debt expansion. As the total amount of debt is maximizing the social capacity for trust, we can no longer finance the security of contemporary generations. Ironically, 'taking care of' previous generations came at the cost of stealing it from present generations.
Not to worry, Europe will be seeing this sooner or later (probably not the Nordic countries, as they have low headline inflation rates).
You can maybe argue that some people are completely unable to make those decisions and society should just make the decisions for them ("you are going to be a plumber" and so on...). That line of thought quickly leads into weird philosophical territory, though (freedom, free will,...).
"Innovative" businesses on the other hand have very low costs because they employ maybe a few hundred highly specialized people like programmers, marketers etc. They can engage in cutthroat competition and there is a massive polarization between the lumpen underlings and the owners. I think the Amway parallel is spot-on.
In theory it will reduce prices of taxis, hotels, etc. making them affordable to more people, thus create wealth. In practice it will destroy jobs and most of that wealth will be transferred to the capitalists.
I think it's tendentious nonsense, or anecdotal at best (did you just have a miserable experience at a start-up?), but rather than bickering about that per se, I'd prefer to offer a more important principle:
You cannot make an economy more prosperous by making things less efficient and spending more money on unneeded middle management.
Traditionally such advances could not stand for very long because competition would creep up and eat away at the innovators' margins, redistributing the gains to the wider public via lower prices. In the walled garden of highly monopolistic internet businesses powered by strong network effects, they seem to stand.
The line about startup employees does not even make sense, the individual contributors used by the likes of AirBnB are not employed in any traditional sense, nor are they entrepreneurs. The folks in Silicon Valley are doing great but the effects of what they are led to create has society-wide implications that you don't seem to grasp.
Finding, validating and qualifying a good freelancer is a serious transaction cost; Risk of poor delivery for the buyer and risk of nonpayment/partial payment for the worker is higher than in the employment scenario; those risks are serious transaction costs.
As you say, it can lessen the need for firms (more exactly, make the optimal firm size smaller) - but as the parent states, it can't eliminate the need for firms, there will remain an area where firm-like cooperation is optimal, better than freelancing.
No, but it worked very well the last time the US middle class mattered, back in the 40's to 60's.
The present personal investment model (401k and similar) will, I suspect, be seen as one of the larger financial mis-steps of 20th century economic history. Its emergence itself was largely accidental.
Maybe try re-examining the assumption the "most efficient" way of distributing resources is better than finding a more equitable and globally beneficial distribution of resources.
(edit: sorry, I shouldn't tell you what you 'probably think'. Bad phrasing.)
I agree largely (though not wholly -- truth is a bit more nuanced) with your sentiment.
If you want to make the case, though, pointing to references for others to look at tends to be more persuasive.
You'll actually find a lot of support within the field of economics itself, though much as well outside of it -- sociology, anthropology, physics, chemistry, and ecology all come to mind. There've been articles noting the crisis within economics over the past decade in such left-wing pinko rags as The Economist, Financial Times, and Forbes, as well as the more plausible sources such as The New York Times and The Guardian.
Thomas Piketty's recent book Capital in the 21st Century (you've probably heard of it) addresses much of this. Hell, you'll find a lot of similar sentiment within Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, which, I can pretty much promise you, isn't the unalloyed defense of laissez-faire, non-interventionist, anti-statist doctrine many people would like you to believe (and likely believe themselves). David Brin's been on a kick to get people to read, really read, Smith, and I have to agree.
Even with persuasive argument you'll get a lot of hostility, but you'll also tend to convince a few people if you line your evidence up.
The other point though, is that I don't think we'll have decades of hustle anyways, because the point of many of these services is to catalyze a culture of sharing that we've lost. Once we gain it back, then Lyft, Uber, and the like (as one example) can shift from drivers that drive around looking for rides (which is hardly sharing so much as a homegrown taxi), into truly picking up people when convenient for their usual routes. Of course, this depends on these organizations not being swayed by perverse incentives themselves.
Perhaps the reason we'll all need to "hustle as a way of life" is because by making it easy enough for everyone to do, everyone's earning potential is increased, and our entire earning potential gets soaked up by higher rents and other limited-quantity commodities we all compete for.
Problem with that theory is that much of the increase on college tuitions and fees has come about as the government has withdrawn subsidies (though it's continued guaranteeing loans, and more recently, making them non-dischargable).
Counterfactual argument is counterfactual.
But what are taxi drivers or hotel staff going to do? They can lower their prices (and thereby limit Uber/ArBnB) or they can do something else. Probably something less enjoyable and/or lower paying, or they would already be doing it. So money moves from professionals to hobbyists and the firms that organize the hobbyist movements. But who are the hobbyists really? Not millionaires, I would bet. The Uber drivers may be hotel staff and the AirBnB hoteliers may be taxi drivers. People who need money, in other words. So lower-class services get less expensive, low-class people get less purchasing potential and the potential go to the middle-upper class people at Uber/AirBnB directly, and to other trades not suited for hobbyisation indirectly.
It doesn't look very good.
I'm not really sure that the money-flow works the way you think it does. When I stayed in London last week at AirBnB instead of the hotel which was literally next door, the savings wasn't just hotel labor (which I mostly didn't need). It also meant money that could have gone to the hotel owners (capitalists with multi-million pound investments) instead went to a family which was spending time abroad on a cycle-tour through Germany.
The money you would have paid to a hotel would have been split between the employees and the owners. For your Airbnb stay, a 6-12% guest service fee  and a 3% host service fee  was paid to Airbnb, who are analogous to the owners in the hotel situation.
You are perfectly right that you made savings by not paying for services you didn't want, but the "sharing" model hasn't eliminated the role of the capitalist class, which is implied by your post.
To take a much broader view, although our global production capacity has increased markedly, so has our consumption, which ultimately causes prices of these goods to remain relatively high to people on locally average incomes. One might hypothecate that we could maintain our higher production with a significantly smaller global population (and correspondingly lower consumption), which would make real inroads into lowering prices for common goods, but I really have no idea as to whether or not that is true.
You say this as if it would be a step forward instead of a huge step back. The whole idea of a market economy is that you can trade what you have for what you want, even if the person who has what you want doesn't want what you have. Money is used to facilitate this kind of indirect trade. This system is superior to the system you advocate, wherein, if I have ten pounds of corn and want a painting, I need to find a painter who wants corn.
If the only place Lyft will take me is the football stadium, Lyft isn't a useful app, or a useful anything else. I won't bother to use it even on the rare occasion when the football stadium is where I want to go. The point of a transportation service is that it takes me where I want to go, not that it takes me to a random location depending on which driver I happened to contact, and not that if I want to go someplace out-of-the-way I need to wait for possibly a period of months.
What they actually end-up doing is competing the incumbent services in a fly bellow the radar illegal operation which actually makes the taxi drivers themselves poorer while diverting most of the extra cash to the ring masters.
In the original barter economies, it was difficult to find someone who had something you want in exchange for something you had, but now there are much more efficient ways to streamline that search process.
As to the potential value, to tsotha's question, this is very philosophical. Some will see it as valuable, others will be terrified. For me personally, I like not being too abstracted away from what I'm producing or consuming.
Gambling uses chips because chips are easier to give away than money. Using that logic, at least for me, giving away money is easier than trading something, especially if that something I have created and poured my energy into. The transaction without money then forces me to think about true utility and value, and would greatly discourage conspicuous and contrived consumption.
That's a good point. The question is how likely it is for new technology to connect you and the painter such that you don't need money.
The question I have is what's the utility of avoiding money beyond tax dodging?
Alongside recipe for strawberry flan and knitting patterns: how to use AirBnB to make supplementary income or find a companion.
I mean, you pay $X for getting that car, and you get $X minus a fee percentage for your own car that gets rented for the same time. And you can get a much different kind (or number) of vehicles than you have at home, which would suit the vacation needs.
That's one of the conclusions I'm reaching about the economic system in general: much of it isn't so much planned as it just happened (though there have most definitely been very long-lived efforts to influence both how people think about the system and how it functions -- going back to Smith and before).
But I also feel that much of what "just happened" is also less than beneficial through both perverse incentives and externalities.
Your "truly picking up people when convenient for their usual routes" existed for a time in the form of hitchhiking, and survives today in limited forms such as casual carpool arrangements.
I've collected some of the videos here: http://www.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/23rbpb/video_ro...
The bit on successor systems is in the 3rd KSR video:
More here: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/04/in-...
With capitalism, we can say that it has very strong residual elements of feudalism. It's as if feudalism liquefied and the basis of power moved from land to money, but with the injustice of the huge hierarchical feudal differences between rich and poor still intact. What is emergent in capitalism is harder to identify, but there may be something to the idea of the global village, also the education of the entire world population, so that everyone knows the world situation and wants justice, that may be leading the way to a more just global society. Seeing and exaggerating these emergent elements is something utopian science fiction tries to do. So the dichotomy is a sort of x/y graph in a thought experiment.
Given all that, some of us do enjoy the hustle. For us, the only true safety is that which we provide for ourselves through the hustle.
The author is pointing out that companies like AirBnB ($776.40 million in funding: http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/airbnb) and Lyft ($332.50 million in funding: http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/lyft) are monetizing this desperation and asking: are we as a society okay with this?
When you take this point of view, you can kind of see why they (the companies and investors) use the warm and fuzzy term ‘the sharing economy’, which puts a nice spin on it. Sharing is good, right?
It’s a slippery slope issue too: what else will get monetized in the name of the sharing economy? People often share prescription drugs with each other now; you could totally see an app that lets you see everyone around you who’s willing to share their Prozac or whatever.
Except, for example, for the several centuries of the feudal system in Europe, in which most of the population existed as agricultural serfs with no hustle involved. Other parts of the world have similar, non-hustling histories.
I suppose what I'm saying is that the statement I quoted simply isn't true.
Back to Lyft: Some of my 'coworkers' can't even do math (I met up with one to try to help him figure out the tax situation, deep down it was painful for me to see the blank stares he gave me when I tried to show him how to convert miles per gallon to dollars per mile). But he's making by, and probably better than he would be without Lyft.
The author writes, "think for just a minute about what this means for the prospect of honest work". I don't know what his definition of honest work is, but to me it's this: Provide a service or good to someone that wants it. Go back and watch "school ties", where the dad tells his son about the scrappers picking valuables out of the dump, that at least that's "honest work". Lyft is "honest work". When I'm out there, I'm giving someone something they want, at a fair price, and having a social byproduct of keeping drunk people off the streets and giving vulnerable people a way to get home without worrying about getting stiffed for money, groped by an unscrupulous driver, or harrassed for being gay.
The kicker? I can't say that anything I did in my last postdoc has any real social or individual value that compares. Yeah, there was a 401k plan and healthcare coverage, and all the trappings of a 'real job' except poor compensation. But it wasn't honest work.
That said, I really don't agree with the sense of entitlement from that post. The real world actually is tough. Just because we managed at times to build a small layer of security on top of it, doesn't mean everybody is entitled to it.
I don't think there is a conspiracy to deprive people of their job security, it is just a developing reality. And quite frankly, I think everybody should take responsibility for their own life. People might actually be better off if they do that.
We've never been more technologically sophisticated. It's never been cheaper to stay alive. It's never been easier to produce cheap, valuable goods to ensure that people can have a good life.
It's not about job security, it's about making sure that everyone can afford a bare minimum of dignity and living standard. If you read between the lines, the author of this story calls for sensible regulation to ensure that this continues to be the case, and that regular people aren't exploited for economic gain. While this might be a controversial topic in some circles, I don't think your average middle-class family would object.
It is obvious that the continued technological developments, including automation, will cause an amount of pain and strife. This is why we should meet these problems head-on. Increased automation should mean more wealth and a better life for everyone. The status quo, at least in the US, has meant a poorer median and vastly increased wealth differences between the top and the median. The latter of these points is not in itself a problem, but the first is. That's where the problem lies.
Do you think there is actually no risk in our modern world? Otherwise, why should some people (company owners) be forced to shoulder the risk for other people?
If there ever was a period where life was easy for everyone, how long did it actually last? WW2 ended 1945. I think it must have been between then and now. In between there was the Vietnam war, cold war, various economic crises, and so on. Maybe that classic "be a factory worker with lots of benefits and pay for your family and home" only ever lasted a couple of years? I guess it is mostly known from movies from the 50ies?
I am not actually as hardcore as it sounds. I think people should look out for each other, and society should strive to make everybody have a good life. I'm just not convinced that employee entitlement is the correct way to go about it.
Note that job security is also something society pays a price for (it's factored into the prices of products - if a company has to stick to brewing horses and musn't switch to car manufacturing, because they employ a lot of horse breeders, society pays by having to do with less efficiency). As a freelancer, I don't understand why I should pay for somebody else's job security?
Staying at the top of Maslow's pyramid of needs is much more fundamental for a productive, healthy society to exist than the purported efficiency you think you would achieve by taking people's job security away.
That we're talking of a 'desperate hustle' to survive is indeed very bad news of our society in this context. If all people can think of is of ways of scraping by to survive, and do that 24/7, they don't have time to create, innovate, research and do actual good, meaningful things. And yet, that's where we're inevitably headed.
In the modern era, workers have been facing a steadily increasing amount of stress and pressure due to the ever-accelerating pace of change in our society. With every passing decade, more and more we've found that we have to be on the edge, or else who knows if our job will be automated away or outsourced to another country to never come back.
This is _why_ the 'desperate hustle' has come about. Today, workers know they can't cut it, they can't keep up, they just take it all in bravely -the pay cuts, the longer work hours, the loss of security and benefits, all hardships which had supposedly been left behind. We have come full circle, and it's not a good place to be.
I think you are wrong when you claim that I don't pay for other people's job security. That job security is costing companies money (for example because they can't fire people they don't need anymore), and that cost is factored into their products.
I didn't mean freelancers specifically pay for that, society in general does. But employees get the job security in return - freelancers don't get anything in return. You make the argument about stability of companies - OK, maybe that is a factor, but I would like to see some research that shows it is significant.
(Forwarded as an interesting set of thoughts, not endorsement.)
You know, so that despite having a job paying $0.50/hr, people can still afford to buy enough food to eat for themselves, and so they can afford to live somewhere heated in the winter?
Or are you fully behind an individual's right to die of starvation and/or hypothermia, because if they really cared about living, they'd... uh... ummm... shit - what is it they'd do again?
Out of curiosity, are you and 99% of the people you know relatively well off, and not in forseeable danger of running out of food or warmth any time in the next decade or so? Do you, as the saying goes, got yours?
I got mine, but I am somewhat concerned about the other people in my community who don't. I don't want to step over their bodies, rather, I'd like to help them get out of the pit they're in - however they got there. Be that being born into poverty, or falling into a career 20 years ago which has since been automated away, or through illness, or just bad bloody luck. So I'll give to charity and food banks, but I'd rather that people could get jobs which pay well enough that they don't need to use 'em.
As for the people that got theirs but are content to say "fuck you Jack" to those that don't, they're not the kind of people I want to share my community, or country, with.
With thanks to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf013ID8lCE
If you're concerned about people in your community who are poor, why do you oppose letting them make employment contracts which will make them better off? The minimum wage makes it illegal for them to contract for jobs that they are actually qualified for, i.e., very low-paying jobs.
Very low-paying jobs are for employment what remedial courses are for college education. Eliminating remedial courses in college which would mean that people with very low levels of education could not get started with college. The minimum wage, by eliminating low-paying jobs, prevents low-skilled people from getting started with employment.
> As for the people that got theirs but are content to say "fuck you Jack" to those that don't, they're not the kind of people I want to share my community, or country, with.
Not only are you against allowing people to contract, you also want to deport people who exercise their right to speak. This is not a cheap shot. When you are willing to violate a basic human right like the freedom to contract, you're likely morally blind enough to be willing to violate other human rights.
The choice of violating the right to contract and trade or letting someone starve is a false one. In fact, a major cause (though not the only cause) of poverty is restrictions on contracts and trade, mostly by governments. There are examples of this everywhere. The article mentioned taxis. Driving a car safely is a basic skill that many otherwise unskilled people can do. Taxis should be very cheap, plentiful, and temporary job for people who need something to do while they work on doing something more useful. Instead, government restricts the supply of taxis making taxis expensive and relatively scarce. This hurts people who need transportation, it hurts people who would like to provide transportation but cannot, and it hurts people who could be doing something more useful for society but don't because they are earning more than they should as taxi drivers.
I would argue that those contracts do not make those people better off. People want to work, want to be productive, want to feel like they're not taking charity to feed themselves. So they'll take 3 jobs and try to survive on 5 hours sleep a night to do that, running their health into the ground, because employers will gladly take advantage of people's need to feel productive, while setting them all against each other to drive wages as low as the most desperate person to work will accept.
"The minimum wage, by eliminating low-paying jobs, prevents low-skilled people from getting started with employment."
Huh? First, minimum-wage jobs generally are "low-paying, low-skilled" jobs. Are you saying that restaurants would prefer to employ a new dish-washer at $7.25/hr if they'd previously been... catching rats bare-handed for $2/hr? Also, how do you account for the fact that low-skilled people manage to find low-paying jobs in countries that have better minimum wages than the US?
"Not only are you against allowing people to contract, you also want to deport people who exercise their right to speak. This is not a cheap shot."
Um, yes, it is.
"When you are willing to violate a basic human right like the freedom to contract, you're likely morally blind enough to be willing to violate other human rights."
Such as, the freedom to contract yourself into slavery? Or the freedom to contact buying food and/or medicine from a supplier who has not been subjected to any FDA checks because they assure you that you can trust them that they don't need any of that gub'mint interferin'?
The US already puts limits on the kinds of contacts that people can enter into, especially with large corporations, because they realise that there is a great imbalance at work. Corporations have a lot of incentive to fuck people over if they can get away with it, and a highly concentrated amount of expertise, time, and effort to put into doing their best to make that happen. While individuals are often inexpert in many fields, and do not have the time - even if they have relevant expertise - to push back against every corporation they deal with day-to-day, and the effort they expend doing so is disproportionate to the amount of benefit they personally will receive. Individuals' efforts are diffuse compared to those of a company, even more so when compared to the efforts of many companies trying to accomplish a goal together, like drive wages down.
The US also even has limits on speech, where speech can cause an immediate and direct threat to the safety of others.
I would argue that it is not moral blindness to limit the rights of some, where the exercise of those rights affects the wellbeing of others. Yes, limiting rights is dangerous, but I would argue that that simply means that it needs to be done carefully, in persuit of a specific goal, and only as much as appears to be necessary to achieve that goal - with the acknowledgement that it not be done at all if the goal appears unattainable; not that is must not be done ever.
No-one's rights are absolute, they always start get fuzzy when the exercise thereof starts to interfere with the wellbeing of others. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.
"Instead, government restricts the supply of taxis making taxis expensive and relatively scarce."
Yeah, I'm totally with you on the taxis thing.
By this logic, all wages should be at the minimum wage, because without government setting a lower bound, employers would just keep setting employees against each other and thus drive wages lower. Why then do some people earn more than the minimum wage? Do they work for companies that do not try select the most profitable workers?
Don't employers also have to compete with each other for the best workers?
Don't workers too have the opportunity to choose among competing employers?
> Such as, the freedom to contract yourself into slavery?
People choose to enslave themselves all the time, just not to employers. The most common slave-masters today are alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other vices.
I wanted to ask "where does it all end?" but then I realised from the rest of your comment, you actually seem okay with slavery. Which is odd really, because you argue about human rights, but the right to freedom of movement is actually a far more fundamental and clear cut human right than the right to form contracts and do trade. In fact, if your ideals about the right to form contracts result in other people losing their right to freedom of movement, then that's a clear sign that you have lost your way.
The "gap" between the rich and poor is a function of possible productivity. As it becomes possible for people to do more, there will be more of a spread between people who do nothing and people who max out their potential. When all farmers worked farmed by hand, the "gap" between the lazy and the industrious was a few bushels of food. But now that there are tractors and financing available, the top farmers produce maybe thousands of times more than the little farmers.
The situation is similar in every field, especially those involving mass distributions. An interesting youtube video can get millions of times more views than an ordinary video. Is this a problem? Should we force people to watch uninteresting videos, or cap the interesting videos to reduce the viewing gap?
I don't see why increased productivity should be a concern, especially since being productive today generally means imparting benefits to large numbers of people. Larry Page is very rich, but he got that way by helping everybody with an internet connection to find useful information.
> . . . the middle class is eroding away, yet all the while production has been increasing. Wages are being driven down artificially low.
I don't understand what you mean by "artificially low" wages. Wages are generally set by supply and demand. As long as people are free to choose alternatives, they are not working for artificially low wages. An example of people with artificially low wages are prisoners who must take the work offered to them by prison officials. But the majority of people are not in prison.
> you actually seem okay with slavery
I'm all for stamping out slavery where it is committed by one person against another. No one should take away another's right to contract. But where a person voluntarily degrades himself, I see that as his choice, not mine.
> the right to freedom of movement is actually a far more fundamental and clear cut human right than the right to form contracts and do trade.
I agree that freedom of movement is a fundamental right. I'm not sure if it's more important that the right to contract or trade. I think it's less fundamental because there are a few situations where you could legitimately not have freedom of movement (while traveling in an airplane or trespassing), but I can think of very few situations where you wouldn't have the right to contract. (You might have contracted away your right to make future contracts for a limited time and subject-matter.)
No, just the wages for "low-skilled" jobs. As strange as it may seem, people with a valuable skill are in a much better position to get companies to compete with each other for the best workers.
"The most common slave-masters today are alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and other vices."
Yes, and most countries realise that addiction to such things is a terrible public health issue, and in most cases try really hard to support people in breaking free of those chains.
Note that we've tried making such things illegal to protect people from themselves (Prohibition in the US, global War on Drugs.) but in that case it demonstrably hasn't worked, and has done more harm than good. The same cannot be said for minimum wages, which have been instituted by many countries around the world, and has failed to measurably harm the economies of any of them.
Most people want there to be regulation of business, even if some of it is corrupt and inefficient. Most people want governments to collect taxes and control shared resources, even if this is inefficient and wasteful. These things are seen as a necessary evil. If it's what the public want, then it's not immoral, because the entire notion of property (and by extension trade) only exists as a social contract.
To go into detail for your taxi example, the roads were built as part of a social contract where people pay taxes under the expectation that the government will execute some form of transport policy. Tax payers would have anticipated some form of taxi regulation to occur over future roads. For most people this is desirable because they want to be protected as consumers. If you take away taxi regulation, then you are not honouring the implicit contract that allowed for the creation of the roads.
You may personally disagree with this widespread desire for regulation. It is also reasonable to say that corrupt and inefficient regulation is immoral. However I think it is quite dangerous to argue that regulation itself is fundamentally immoral. The history of the industrial revolution shows what kinds of contracts ordinary people will willingly subject themselves to if they feel they have to.
Here's a counter-example: the difference between a freeman farmer and a slave farmer is not that they don't have freedome of movement, but that the freeman has the right to sell the harvest to whom he wants while the slave does not.
It sounds like the definition of slavery as lack of freedom of movement was dreamed up by some law professor in order to avoid having to characterize the income tax as a form of slavery.
Any time you try to create a minimal taxonomy you get into games like this. No malicious intent by theoretical law professors need be imagined.
A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more, otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation.
Oh, I'm sorry, I got that totally wrong. Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations.
What wrong people? As the economy is globalized people who get paid yet don't make a contribution to the economy will be dug out - whats wrong with that? The only people who should be afraid are the ones who make money by not contributing. If you're observant enough to provide something useful that people want there will always be a place for you. If you want to coast and get paid for it then, yeah, this is gonna hurt.
Should be? sure. Are? No, those people are mostly at the top of the economy.
Over the years, I have come to understand that some people just want to punch a clock. They don't want to challenge themselves during their work hours, they don't want to think too much or take too much risk. They just want to punch a clock and get a paycheck.
I am not like this, but people tell me there are many that are. I am a risk-taking person looking to challenge myself to create systems that help people.
Most of the folks who think like me fail. That's fine. That's part of our lifestyle. The smart ones have a side job and manage to continue failing until something works out.
I am beginning to feel really sorry for the other folks. The world has always been the way it is now. It's just that before you guys were helping some of the rest of us out. Now we don't need as many of you as we did before. So there are a lot of little opportunities making less money instead of just one large opportunity where you didn't have to think about it any more.
If I understand the irrationality of the human species, the next step will be to call for a minimum hour law, or some such construction. We seem to be really good at spotting problems and not so good at understanding how the problems came about in the first place. (or even whether they are problems or not. Most of the time, what passes for problem-spotting is just emoting)
I believe you've contributed to more bitter privileged snarkiness posing as commentary.
Job creators like yourself don't need as many workers to do the same jobs as before but true innovators realize many people do want a challenge and to think. You failed to incentivize your employees. Those who utilize capital, technology, AND labor in this post industrial age will win.
Australia is partially along the same path, though our strong anti-tipping culture (we have a reputation as poor tippers overseas) helps resist it.
Still, living in Norway was a great alternative perspective - where everyone in a regular job was paid a living wage, and the hustle was really only on the very outskirts of society rather than sewn right through it.
By sharing your bike or any other thing you make the cost of making use of a bike lower. A more appropriate example would be for a family to own a second or a third car. If you own a second car, you have one more item that you own but don't absolutely need, therefore an item that provides financial security and independence because you can sell it when in need of money (even if at a lower value, it's still a way to get instant cash for an emergency). This is the kind of financial security that will allow you to show your boss the middle finger or ask for a bigger wage, because you know that that if you get fired you can still get by until you find another job, or you have enough stuff to sell and move to another place even if you bank accounts get frozen etc.
This is good because:
1. it make people less likely to accept a lower wage, driving wages up
2. it makes people with very risky but innovative ideas willing to start a business from their garage, because they know they still have enough savings to not end up homeless if everything goes south (note: I'm referring to the kind of ideas no sane VC would throw a penny at, but might very well change the world)
3. it makes people give more to charity, in two ways: (a) most people donate at some time the things that they buy but not use and (b) the fact that you "own stuff" gives you a sense of security that makes you worry less about your future and care more about the needs of others (dunno how healthy this way of thinking is, but this is how our minds work)
I know it's not a fashionable mindset, but I think that owning more, sharing less and giving (away) more (or reselling at way-below-market prices, which is close enough to it and doesn't hurt anyone's pride :)... ) is a much healthier, financially secure and more freedom promoting way of living than what we seem to encourage today! (because when you "share" you must create restrictions and limit people's freedoms, whereas when you give away something you also give away the freedom to use however they see it fit, and when you own something you don't have to limit freedom by imposing "fair use" policies because you are the single user)
I guess there are probably some differences in the way people approach payments that they have to make and payments to their own savings accounts. But still, I'm pretty sure that saving more and consuming less is a more effective strategy for financial security than buying things you don't need.
Where is this true? I haven't seen this even in SV, much less on The Outside.
Seeing how I'm commenting at 11 PM on a Sunday on this I guess I'm among those that do spend every waking moment on this stuff, but a lot of developers don't because its just a job.
Being up to date is one thing, doing it on your off time is another.
(My read on the "just a job" in the linked article is that it was referring to people not wanting to freelance, rather than people who wanted to work-for-the-weekend.)
Maybe businesses like Lyft, Uber and AirBnB facilitate people working in legal grey areas, but they also facilitate direct individual-customer relationships. These open up markets, and are therefore bad for incumbents (e.g. people already in the taxi industry) but good for people who for whatever weren't able to work in that industry before.
And what's with referring to people as "kids"? Is this how you assert your status as alpha male?
>Today there are people all over Baltimore subleasing places they don’t own, peddling without a license, hacking. This is a criminal offense. The law does not recognize the right of the people to earn enough to eat.
>All these entrepreneurs, most of them running little scams to get by, all of them held in contempt by the law and by most of society. Lyft and Uber and Air BnB face legal sanction too—but it’s just a civil matter.
The author clearly conflates the two issues of (A) not working for an employer or company, and (B) transactions that are illegal.
I already said how these may be linked in some cases. But it is unreasonable to imply that any work that is not done for an employer (preferable while working full time) must be some kind of scam.
EDIT: I'm not sure I like the new HN where I can't say something that is manifestly true (as proven by my quotes) without getting massively downvoted.
What he's saying is that the basic transaction that Uber or Lyrt facilitate is not novel, that people have been using single family residences as informal transient hotels and have been engaging in street corner unlicensed taxi type transportation for decades.
Except when they do it, it's often a criminal offense. The drivers are ticketed or even arrested, the people who rent out rooms on a nightly basis are evicted or charged with municipal violations.
They are primarily poorer and blacker. Then well financed tech companies come along and do the exact same thing -- literally -- and instead of being seen as a civic nuisance at worst or a sign of a severely crippled local economy at best, it's called "sharing" and "fun" and hailed as the next big thing.
Either own the code and machines that these services run on, or prepare for either A) Basic income, leading towards crime and social isolation and the end of civilization for your class, or B) Slavery (WPA style), in order to prevent A. If you use your power of selective history the right way, you'll get B and enjoy it.
I, as someone of non-genius IQ, will use my still-existent income to enjoy the metaverse and avoid major cities.
There's another piece on the front page here too - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7651968
I'm struggling to figure out what the big problem is with more people becoming entrepreneurs?
This may be a perfectly good short-term way to earn some cash, but the article is about the bigger picture for our economy. Don't pretend to not understand when you're really just tuning it out.
That's true of entrepreneurs in general. I think most of the people doing that would rather have "poor job security" than "no job security" (or the alternative of simply no job) - which is the case for almost all workers without specific special skills.
> Is this a fundamentally better model for the middle class than being an Avon salesperson?
Comparing it to MLM who's business model is dependent on replicating itself is a completely different use case than what this is.
Of course, but these people have the insecurity of small businesses without the potential upside of having an ownership stake in a business.
Nothing, I guess.
Same with AirBnb.
If they're not making money - why would they be doing it?
Theres a reason most of these industries have existed unregulated through out history, exploitation occurs, become regulated, and are now reappearing with a new tact and hitting up existing laws... and hence all the court cases where they are desperately trying to claim the services aren't illegal.
Theres a lot of consumer safety to be considered you rarely hear of, let alone what is technically stealing by reselling things you don't own. Theres a reason regulation happens, and its usually because exploitation occurs.
And the pimp as the 'enabler',
(although ostensibly benign)
This seems a tad overly dramatic
But it works for an essay / thought piece.
Pimping definitely scales better, for example.
(Scale also diversifies revenue streams)
Whereas 'whoring' does not scale well;
its not long-term a viable profession.
(exploits the young/etc)