Friday, August 4, 2017

OMG! This is so Uberish.

As I read the article (see link below,) I could not help but recall the targeting, and eventual closure of Jaspal Gill's taxi fleet back in the fall of 2015, and the suspension of his taxi driver's license, on the grounds that his operation was not in compliance with City of Hamilton bylaws.

The message sent to Jaspal Gill was unambiguous. If you disregard the City of Hamilton's taxi regulations, you will be dealt with with the full force of the law. When it comes to taxicab regulation, the position of the City of Hamilton is zero tolerance for non-compliance.

Unless you are Uber.

The decision echoed the result of the attempts by Bruce Bergez to Uberize the optometry business.

Justice Watt, writing for the Court of Appeal, succinctly stated, "We cannot suffer the sacrifice of the rule of law to the lure of lucre."

Yep. That good ol' Rule of Law.

At around the same time as Mr. Gill's business was being decimated by the sincere devotees of the rule of law doctrine espoused by Justice Watt, the U.S. based taxi company, Uber, announced its intention to start operating a taxi service in Hamilton in total defiance of the existing laws.

The main difference between Mr. Bergez and Uber, it turned out, was the amount of lucre the respective parties were able to assemble in order to challenge the rule of law. Uber had billions of dollars behind it. The rule of law folded like a defective lawn chair. The lure of lucre prevailed. In Canada, the law could be purchased. Justice Watt's declaration ended up being exposed as pure wind.

Unlike Mr. Gill, who was severely dealt with by Hamilton's heroic politicians, Uber was not only given a pass on its 100% defiance of the taxi bylaws, the politicians scurried to invent a whole "new licensing category" that would give Uber's blatant disregard of the law an air of legitimacy. The effect of this "new licensing category" was not unlike a corporation initiating a stock split, only instead of issuing an equal number of certificates to the stock owners, the new certificates were given away to Uber for free. The market value of taxi owners licenses (stock certificates), predictably, tumbled from about $200 k, to an estimated $50 k, or less. Some stock split.

Most of the victims of this financial crime are too unsophisticated to understand what happened to their life-time investments. Some even believe the collapse was due to "market forces." Or, "disruptive technology." Anyone who even remotely grasps political economy knows this to be pure nonsense. The collapse in license values was 100% due to "political forces." The market had fuck all to do with it.

The rule of law, it turns out, has no more value than the word of a politician.

What Justice Watt should have said was,

Justice Watt, writing for the Court of Appeal, succinctly stated, "We cannot suffer the sacrifice of the rule of law to the lure of insufficient lucre."

The final outcome?

Uber Inc. will continue to harvest about 25% of the taxi market for deposit in its tax friendly Dutch banks.

The politicians will continue to collect their salaries, and probably get re-elected since the small minority of individuals they have sacrificed have no political power, nor public sympathy.

And the flood of new drivers into the taxi market will, predictably, drive incomes down to third world levels.

We now find ourselves in a situation where the City of Hamilton is flooded with taxi drivers, each vying for a piece of the passenger pie.

With statutory minimum wages set to rise in Ontario, this price barrier to employment will lead to even more thirsty camels being driven to the taxi driver watering hole in search of survival. Taxi driver wages will decline even further.

Finally, we have this report out of Singapore that makes Jaspal Gill's "crimes" of malfunctioning security cameras, and shifter cables secured with shoelaces, look like schoolyard pranks compared to Uber's clear preference for lucre over safety:

Smoke, Then Fire: Uber Knowingly Leased Unsafe Cars to Drivers


On another issue when it comes to the rule of law. What, exactly, is legal these days?

As the Uber phenomenon aptly demonstrates, the law has become oozingly fluid. Hillary continues to get away with a string of egregious crimes while the establishment swamp, more like cesspool, continues to dig for some pretense to remove the duly elected president of the United States.

Will the newly announced grand jury find something in Trump's history that was illegal? It's a mathematical certainty.

"In his new book, the Boston-based civil liberties advocate and occasional Reason contributor Harvey Silverglate estimates that in 2009, the average American commits about three federal felonies per day. And yet, we aren’t a nation of degenerates. On the contrary, most social indicators have been moving in a positive direction for a generation. Silverglate argues we're committing these crimes unwittingly. The federal criminal code has become so vast and open to interpretation, Silverglate argues, that a U.S. Attorney can find a way to charge just about anyone with violating federal law. In fact, it's nearly impossible for some business owners to comply with one federal regulation without violating another one. We're no longer governed by laws, we're governed by the whims of lawyers."

-- source


Myth-Busters: Reality Hits Minimum Wage Boosters

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