Cheap cab ride? You must have missed Uber’s true cost | Evgeny Morozov "When tech giants such as Google and Uber hide their wealth from taxation, they make it harder for us to use technology to improve services"
"Uber’s game plan is simple: it wants to drive the rates so low as to increase demand – by luring some of the customers who would otherwise have used their own car or public transport. And to do that, it is willing to burn a lot of cash, while rapidly expanding into adjacent industries, from food to package delivery. An obvious but rarely asked question is: whose cash is Uber burning? With investors like Google, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs behind it, Uber is a perfect example of a company whose global expansion has been facilitated by the inability of governments to tax profits made by hi-tech and financial giants. To put it bluntly: the reason why Uber has so much cash is because, well, governments no longer do. Instead, this money is parked in the offshore accounts of Silicon Valley and Wall Street firms. Look at Apple, which has recently announced that it sits on $200bn of potentially taxable overseas cash, or Facebook, which has just posted record profits of $3.69bn for 2015." ‎· Eivind
"Let us not be naive: Wall Street and Silicon Valley won’t subsidise transport for ever. While the prospect of using advertising to underwrite the costs of an Uber trip is still very remote, the only way for these firms to recoup their investments is by squeezing even more cash or productivity out of Uber drivers or by eventually – once all their competitors are out – raising the costs of the trip." ‎· Eivind
"The broader lesson here is that a country’s technology policy is directly dependent on its economic policy; one cannot flourish without the active support of the other. Decades of a rather lax attitude on taxation combined with strict adherence to the austerity agenda have eaten up the public resources available for experimenting with different modes of providing services like transport. This has left tax-shrinking companies and venture capitalists – who view everyday life as an ideal playing ground for predatory entrepreneurship – as the only viable sources of support for such projects. Not surprisingly, so many of them start like Kutsuplus only to end up like Uber: such are the structural constraints of working with investors who expect exorbitant returns on their investments." ‎· Eivind
^ excuse me, but this is unintelligible. ‎· kmbnrn
If the government does not solve your problems, you're not using it enough? Oh, yeah, heard this many times. ‎· 9000
Anything I can help you with, @kmbnrn? ‎· Eivind
I still don't thin that Uber as it exists now is unsustainable and will either go bust or reinvent itself. It will have changed the landscape, though. ‎· 9000
Did you hear that while reading the article, @9000? ‎· Eivind
I am sure there are places it will continue to thrive, @9000. ‎· Eivind
I m in france now and on my way to and from univeristy i came across the demonstrations of frrnch taxi drivers. I hate taxis while i think that uber in the us is a wonderful service. But it is quite clear to me that uber is not fully legal in france and italy ‎· mentegatto
I understand that it is attractive from a customer point of view in many countries. Cheaper and/or more convenient than the traditional alternatives. There are a lot of backward taxi services around Europe, at least, and in the US I've been stuck without being able to get one for hours. ‎· Eivind
It's not about being legal or not. Uber financial reports are clearly stating huge losses, so with current prices it's unsustainable. Uber survives on investors money, it doesnt generate any profit, so it's a bubble. I'm still using it, anyway ‎· ЛЕВАЦКАЯ МРАЗЬ
Tax evasion (legal or otherwise) is only one facet of the situation. The other huge part is getting away with paying less than minimum wage to workers via legal loopholes. ‎· Kickdrum
I think "the sharing economy" is a great idea, but the only way I see it being sustainable *and* ethical is with localized cooperatives. ‎· Kickdrum
There are things I believe are good things labeled "sharing economy," focusing on resource utilization and conservation, but then there are other things that has very little to do with sharing and a lot to do with atomization of labor that are also labeled "sharing economy." Apps are novel, but day labor has been around for a long time. ‎· Eivind
Apps are novel, but day labor has been around for a long time. ‎- Eivind +1 ‎· Kickdrum