Whut?

Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts. We do not owe these people our money or our admiration.

It remains to be seen whether Uber will be damaged by the activist call for riders to please, for goodness sake, stop using this service. A great many people feel they have no option but to be complicit. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs. Your gut might make you answer for your midnight takeout, but it won’t kill you.

Using a service like Uber, however, is slow social poison. We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. How much complicity can we tolerate before we get off this dodgy ride?

It’s a taxi service Laurie….

54 comments on “Whut?

  1. It seems someone rejects Adam Smith’s view – “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner….”

    It shows the totalitarian temptation of the Left. Uber is evil because of the private life and political views of the owner. This ultimately leads to very bad places. Why should we bully everyone else just because their values are not our values? Or more accurately, given the Left is a minority, do they really want to go down that path?

  2. I usually don’t consider it necessary to venerate people who want to sell me stuff I need (or just want.) I don’t even venerate the systems that allow me to purchase stuff from people I don’t or barely know.

    I have a friendly chat relationship with some of the members of staff at some of the shops I use regularly, although only one of all of those people is close to even being a “Facebook friend”.

  3. Taxis are part of social infrastructure. Therefore they are a public good. Therefore they should be nationalised. At that point all problems will disappear under the aegis of the noble state and its cheerful selfless employees.

    GOD, Tim, you’re so thick, how can you not see the crystalline perfection of her logic?

  4. Never should a bandwagon not be jumped on and never should it not be tortured to fit the narrative.

  5. As Sean Gabb pointed out a while ago one of the reasons that Taxis were put under the control of local council scum was to ensure that any taxi driver who expressed robust non-PC/CM opinions could be grassed up by a leftist fare and punished for said opinions.

    Prior to that anybody with a car could hire the radio from the taxi company and work as a cabbie. So a handful of sex assaults by cabbies –out of tens of millions of trips -was transformed into “your cabbie could be a rapist”–and the council pricks are suddenly calling the shots.

    Thus do the various branches of CM work together to gain control.

    Penny Dreadful is whinging that Uber is enabling people to get round that kind of control. She or one of her chums must have had the horrid experience of a ride with a non-bubble driver.

    How terrible.

  6. Mr Ecks: “So a handful of sex assaults by cabbies –out of tens of millions of trips -was transformed into “your cabbie could be a rapist”…”

    Which, let’s not forget, was almost a foregone conclusion in places like Rotherham.

  7. That is a circumstance that need never have been Julia. And if there are provisions for “Special Victims” (as in that CM crap US TV series) I can see no reason why their should not be provisions for special perpetrators.

  8. “…the freewheeling post-Randian slimeball whose insecure sense of entitlement is the foundation of his business model. That entitlement is key.”

    Oh, the exquisite irony of Laurie Penny accusing someone of having a sense of entitlement!

    Ecksy: cab regulation by local authorities preceded PC/CM by several centuries, being introduced in London in 1632, iirc.

  9. The Guardian’s hatred of Uber is bizarre. It’s not as if they dislike taxis per se, as they vigorously defended London black cabs against competition from Uber, despite spending the previous thirty years despising black cab drivers as fat cockney racists.

    This Uber thing is following the classic Lefty pattern of increasing hysteria. It won’t be long before they start calling them Nazis and burning down offices.

    All over a fucking taxi service?

  10. Existing cabbies could have got together through their unions or trade associations and developed an app to make it more convenient an cheaper for the public to use taxis. That they didn’t tells us all we need to know about heavily licensed and regulated markets.

  11. Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts.

    It’s awful, but where is the truth? What is this “social infrastructure” Uber is reorganising?

  12. “…whose insecure sense of entitlement is the foundation of his business model.”

    Really. That’s the foundation of a business model that has been taken around the world is it?

    Do you ever stop to read it back before you send it to the editor?

  13. Licensing of black cabs helped two of the three sides (authorities, cab drivers, customers). Authorities made money and cab drivers restricted entry and competition. Of course, customers paid more, but they don’t count.

    I think the Guardian has put aside their repugnance at fat white racists and recognised a fellow cushy number being threatened by an upstart organisation. Where would it end?

  14. Right, so now we judge the entire value of an organisation/idea by the actions of any of the individuals involved in it, regardless of how small a part they are of the whole.

    Ok, no problem. Bang goes socialism and Islam right away.

  15. Theophrastus said:
    “cab regulation by local authorities preceded PC/CM by several centuries, being introduced in London in 1632, iirc.”

    Outside London it was the Town Police Clauses Act of 1847 that gave local councils the power to licence taxis and restrict numbers.

    Mr Ecks may be referring to minicab drivers (have to be pre-booked rather than picked up in the street), which were only regulated more recently. But I would be surprised if that was done to stop their non-PC opinions, as I thought they tended to be Asian and so let off by the PC crowd.

  16. Nope. Don’t believe you Laurie.

    No it’s not that i don’t believe that this is social poison, though i certainly don’t, it’s that i don’t believe you believe this.

    A cab driver has the CEO of the app he uses to get custom in the back of his cab. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a cab driver, no matter what resources he may posses must be in want of a moan.
    But you don’t acknowledge it do you? You don’t acknowledge that cab drivers and a fare’s interests are different things. You don’t acknowledge that the same person might want to get more income at exactly the same time that they wish that things would not cost so much.

  17. Jim, nice one.

    It amazes me that Penny seems to think that only ‘evil’ companies like Uber employ the occasional arsehole. Comes from spending too much time in self-selecting trust and dole funded communes, I suppose.

  18. Ironman
    Do you ever stop to read it back before you send it to the editor?

    Surely this stuff can’t be edited. If it is, imagine what it was like beforehand.

  19. Right, so now we judge the entire value of an organisation/idea by the actions of any of the individuals involved in it, regardless of how small a part they are of the whole.

    There goes the NHS. Everything, in fact.

  20. Imagine what it would be like if Uber drivers were a reflection of the society they lived in.

  21. London-based journos are blinked by the fact that London private hire has only been regulated since about 1999, in the real world they’ve been regulated since the 1970s. Because of that they don’t undertand or comprehend the existance and regulation of private hire and their difference from hackneys, and don’t actually realise private hire *is* regulated, the cultural group-think never moved on.

    Out here in the real world taxi radio control centres (as I continue to insist that Uber is) have had internet booking for more than a decade. It’s just today’s version of the telephone or the messenger boy. Example: Sheffield City Cabs have had e-booking since when I was on Taxi Licensing in 2005-ish.

  22. >We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners.

    The Gibberish matures with age.

  23. what jgh says.

    Even without Uber, black cabs are in trouble. I can’t recall the last time I used one. I can call a minicab firm from the train 10 minutes from the station and they’ll be there waiting for me.

    The Knowledge is going to be about as useful as archery in a few years.

  24. “‘We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners.’

    The Gibberish matures with age.”

    Actually, on reflection, this may be a stopped-clock moment in the piece. It’s just that dear Penny doesn’t realise she and her mates are the judgment-impaired, well-off and privileged studenty type in the back, and everyone else identifies with the chap behind the wheel, just trying to earn a living.

  25. Er, cabbies are known for their PC CM opinions?

    Are you living in a parallel universe, Ecks? Or is it simply that you are even more insanely right wing than the typical cabbie, thus they are by definition cultural Marxists?

  26. @jgh,

    I think the point with Uber is that they don’t (at least not everywhere) even submit to the private hire regulations.

    This is one of the reasons they got chased out of Germany. There is private hire here, but a private hire tends to be a Mercedes S class or BMW 5, and costs betwee a bit and a lot more than a normal taxi, rather than something even smellier (and cheaper) than a normal taxi.

  27. BiG,

    You’re an idiot. Uber got chased out of Germany, like it is in France, because of entrenched interests, nothing else. The black cabs in London are trying to do the same to minicabs and uber through their political friends. Nothing new here either.

    You would still able and free to choose any service you want apart from uber, but no, you want to force others to conform to your retarded view of the world.

    As it is, it has cost me many times in the past to spend about £60 to go home from central London in a black cab, when you could find one who could be bothered. Last time, £20 with uber shared pool which meant I had to sit next to a young pretty spanish girl in a nice car.

  28. If you refuse to submit to the rule of law, the rule of law has an answer for you.

    If you don’t like the law I fully support people’s right to civil disobedience as a tool to change the law, but the important point is that civil disobedience is putting *your* *own* liberty on the line to make a political point. I have no truck with people who seek to put *other* *people’s* lives or liberty on the line by their protests.

    Similarly, I have no truck with the type of person who says “how dare! you arrest me for protesting!”. The whole point of protesting is, as I stated above, putting your liberty on the line to make a point. If your liberty is not at risk, it’s not a protest.

  29. I do think, though, that this is pushing us faster towards the point where the distinction between ply-for-hire and private hire will be forced to collapse. I lived in Hong Kong for a while where there is just one class of private-reward passenger vehicle. Any taxi can ply, any taxi can pre-book, as long as the vehicle complies with the standards any vehicle can be a taxi.

  30. Something I don’t understand about the concept of Uber.

    What’s to stop Uber2 simply being a software app and absolutely nothing more than that.

    Uber2 Finances Ltd could be a visa account simply “somewhere else” if that part of the equation was necessary (client pays U2F, U2F pays taxi 90% and U2 10%?).

    Ie U2 has no responsibility whatsoever in the jurisdiction?

    Reputation scores (or different) could influence whether both parties finally click “yes”?

    Too much to outline here, in terms of how the model might work, including insurance, but why does U2 have to “register” anywhere (never mind be a so called employer).

    It would not be pretending to be anything more than quite literally a piece of code running on a server in the Cayman Islands?

  31. Bloke in Germany,

    Germany has higher licensing than the required public protection of: a) does driver have a clean driving licence b) does driver have a criminal record c) is the car roadworthy. So, I welcome Uber and their lawbreaking in Germany, and everywhere that does any more licensing than the above regulation, most of which is nothing more than protectionism for existing players.

  32. It’s rare to find an article that makes Richard Murphy appear like a model of restraint so kudos to Tim for linking to this. 50 shades of crazy- needs to be sectioned for her own welfare as well as that of society. Alternatively airfreighted to Raqqa -post haste…..

  33. Of course it’s protectionism!

    Unfortunately part of life is complying with laws you don’t like. I’m totally with Uber in lobbying for more liberal cab licensing, I’m not in favour of them securing themselves a competitive advantage by disregarding the law.

    @PF – because they are supplying a service in the jurisdiction, even if that service is only agency. Even, candidly [sic], on the most trivial level, the fact of the supply being VAT-liable means that you have to be registered in the jurisdiction.

    Or are you in favour of tax evasion?

  34. “We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. ”

    Who is this ‘we’? I have nothing in common with this dumb bitch.

    ‘We are living in a socioeconomic reality’. Is it possible to live in a socioeconomic unreality?

    ‘whose driving philosophy’. What, reality has a driving philosophy?

    ‘can be accurately described’. Well let us know when you inaccurately describe something? Who gets to decide on this accuracy?

    ‘by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi’. Is this meant to be an insult? It’s just meaningless drivel in a paragraph of meaningless drivel.

    ‘and we continue to venerate its winners’. This fucking ‘we’ again. I have never used this service and saw the video on the internet. Someone had a row with a taxi driver. Big fucking deal. Who gives a shit.

  35. The Uber business model* is dead in the water, a simple taxi comparison app will kill them (Uber drivers are private drivers too)

    Autonomous Vehicles will kill all forms of public transport except specialist hire and Hertz/Avis will mop that market up.

    *they missed an absolutely massive opportunity (which is still there), blinkered vision.

  36. Andy,

    ‘Someone had a row with a taxi driver. Big fucking deal. Who gives a shit.’

    That lowly employee spoke truth to power and got downrated for it.

    From now on, every burger Travis Kalanick buys and every bowl of soup Travis Kalanick eats will be spat upon and pissed in, and what is worse, he knows it.

  37. Kill it, not good to eat. Kill it, good to eat.
    I do not need a good lawyer, I need a good judge.
    So I can kill, and eat.

  38. “a sauced-up frat-boy”

    It’s interesting that, like many affluent and largely anti-American British lefties, she speaks fluent US English.

    I bets she “protests” things she disapproves of rather than “protests against”.

    If she were slightly older I’d expect her to own the entire Bruce Springsteen catalogue.

  39. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab

    These same areas had jitneys in the long ago. All Uber has done is to give an existing system a single contact point for customers and moved the drivers out of the black market. A better ethical equivalent is trading the greasy kebab for McDonald’s.

  40. BiG

    @PF – because they are supplying a service in the jurisdiction, even if that service is only agency. Even, candidly [sic], on the most trivial level, the fact of the supply being VAT-liable means that you have to be registered in the jurisdiction.

    Or are you in favour of tax evasion?

    Which is interesting, because all I thought I had was a “server” in my mum’s basement down on Grand Cayman which seemed to be gaining ever inceasing levels of hits?

    Another company, based in Panama, pays a cent for every hit (which very kindly helps to pay for the server / mum’s leccy etc)?

    I’m not disagreeing with you, simply trying to understand it?

  41. “Unfortunately part of life is complying with laws you don’t like. I’m totally with Uber in lobbying for more liberal cab licensing, I’m not in favour of them securing themselves a competitive advantage by disregarding the law.”

    The alternative is breaking the law and accepting the risks. That’s sometimes how bad laws get changed.

  42. Autonomous Vehicles will kill all forms of public transport except specialist hire and Hertz/Avis will mop that market up.

    VR will kill the need to travel before we have autonomous vehicles capable of driving anywhere we want to go through the six inches of snow we had today.

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