[...] But beyond being pro-technology the government has also uncritically accepted much of Silicon Valley's rhetoric of disruptive innovation. It is remarkable that the Bay Area technology industry can continue to see itself as a collection of scrappy non-conformist outsiders while accumulating the greatest collection of private fortunes in the world. [...]
the way the industry sees itself - useful to draw out for Tribune piece
An investigation by Vanessa Houlder of the Financial Times showed that up to a third of the price gap between hotels and Airbnb rentals is due to tax differences, with hotels being subject to business taxes and value-added taxes that almost all Airbnb hosts avoid, while many Airbnb hosts benefit from the Sharing Economy allowance mentioned above. Airbnb also avoids costs such as commercial-level fire and safety protection and accessibility features, which its competitors must pay to install. [...]
also think about the labour implications ... more flexible, less "downtime" ie squeezing out more work per dollar
The Sharing Economy is a movement: it is a movement for deregulation. Major financial institutions and influential venture capital funds are seizing an opportunity to challenge rules made by democratic city governments around the world, and to reshape cities in their own interests. It’s not about building an alternative to a corporate-driven market economy, it’s about extending the deregulated free market into new areas of our lives. An enthusiasm for “the end of ownership,” the title of one Andreessen Horowitz blog post on the Sharing Economy, is difficult to take seriously when it comes from those who actually own the companies involved. [...]
For many economists the story was simple and the villain was clear: “regulatory capture” by those taxi medallion owners who suck all the money out of the taxi system without delivering value. Take them out of the picture, improve efficiency by better matching drivers with customers to cut down on the dead time between rides, and we have a new age for urban transit.
Before this most recent trial, Uber CFO Brent Callinicos mentioned in a meeting with potential investors that Uber could easily raise rates to between 25% and 30%. Venture capitalist Mike Novogratz asked him a question: “You’ve got happy employees, you’ve got happy customers, you’ve got happy shareholders. The holy triumvirate are all really excited about your company. Why are you going to risk that and push the employees’ salary down 5%?” Callinicos responded “because we can."
it's about powerrrr. even the execs openly admit it
Uber has taken advantage of its drivers’ vulnerability by imposing more and more strenuous rules. Drivers must accept 90% of ride requests or they get a notification to “Please improve your acceptance rate if you want to continue to use the Uber platform.” Drivers claim to have been deactivated for being critical of the company on Twitter.
can set arbitrary metrics and drivers basically have to acquiesce. no regulators stepping in here and, as of yet, no established union structures to advocate on their behalf
also remember they must keep their rating really high (no appeal process, since there isnt a work contract)
Sharing Economy reputation systems have become fronts for hierarchical and centralized disciplinary systems, which have nothing to do with notions of “peer-to-peer” reputation, “algorithmic regulation” or regulation with a “lighter touch” through ratings. We trust strangers on Sharing Economy platforms for the same reason we trust hotel employees and restaurant waiters: because they are in precarious jobs where customer complaints can lead to disciplinary action. [...]
this is good
Linux is no longer the product of “part-time hacking.” Most of the programmers who work on the project earn a good living for doing so, just as do those who work on proprietary software. The companies that sponsor and contribute to Linux do not do so out of the generosity of their hearts, they do so for solid commercial reasons.
Linux is no longer subversive. It has moved steadily away from being an outsider to taking its place as a comfortable part of the existing commercial world. In a way, if there was a revolution, Linux has won, but it’s an Animal Farm victory. In winning, Linux has become like those it displaced: more professional, more structured, more carefully governed. Linux has not undermined powerful institutions and companies (although it has made some operating systems obsolete); instead, those institutions have learned to live happily with Linux, and even profit from it.
oh man this is so eerily similar to my open source piece for logic!
for diss: cite how open source on its own is not subversive, easily co-opted by capital, co-exist
The Web 2.0 platforms in the cultural industry have taken advantage of the winner-take-all tendencies of digital markets to take money from each and every transaction (by advertising or by direct sales) and have used their position, standing between the consumer and the service provider, to build enormous market power over service providers. The dispute is often presented as one between scrappy startups and big corporate incumbents (Airbnb versus chain hotels in particular) and yet history suggests that these big players will find a way to coexist. Instead, those who are more likely to be hit are the smaller bed and breakfasts and independent hotels. And the new entrants, those who have the promise of easy access to consumers dangled in front of them, may find that the platform they depend on takes the lion’s share of the money.
i like the implication that the mainstream old vs new narrative is a distraction from what's actually happening
As an openness movement grows, the smart money learns how to work with it. Sometimes that smart money comes from those who seemed to be threatened: IBM was an establishment software company with its own operating system, which learned to love Linux, and the music industry learns to put ads on (and in) YouTube music videos. So businesses grow around the open commons.
Big companies are often better placed to influence the development of the movement than the amateurs who appear in the stories. Alliances with such companies (“Blockbuster strategies,” in Anita Elberse’s phrase) can be tempting for openness initiatives, and are often accompanied by a change in language. Visions of community are replaced by arguments that openness provides a better experience for consumers or is a more efficient production method. In the Open Data world, arguments for citizen engagement get put to one side in favor of arguments about new consumer services (Google Maps, real-estate listings); Linux’s goal of providing users with more control over their computing environment takes second place to powering Wall Street and the US security state.
oooh i like this