Posts Tagged ‘ride hailing’

Uber’s Employment Model: Sharecropping.

May 15, 2019

Uber's Employment Model: Sharecropping.

After the Civil War, when plantation owners were deprived of a chattel slave workforce, they implemented a form of peonage euphemistically called “sharecropping.” The landowners contracted poor black and white laborers to work their fields as tenants. These independent contractors did the backbreaking work in return for a small share of cotton harvest proceeds, often absorbing the costs of farming and bad harvests. That’s the employment model of rideshare companies like Uber.

Think of Uber’s digital platform as the plantation’s cotton fields. Uber lets the drivers plow use it if they turn over most of their cotton fare money to the plantation platform owner. Drivers absorb the costs of fuel, cellphone, car loans, permits, insurance, and maintenence. And if their mule car dies, the platform owner lets them buy a new one at subprime rates. Healthcare and retirement benefits? Nope.

Drivers are catching on, and so is the public. No wonder rideshare companies are pushing so hard for autonomous vehicles. After all, they automated the cotton fields, didn’t they?

 

More:

“Uber and the labor market,” Lawrence Mishel, The Economic Policy Institute

“Strike All You Want. Uber Won’t Pay a Living Wage.” Sarah Jeong, New York Times

“‘It’s a Laughable Fiction’: How Uber’s $82 Billion Valuation Was Built on a Lie to Its Workers.” Brianna Provenzano. Pacific Standard

“How Corporate Delusions of Automation Fuel the Cruelty of Uber and Lyft,” Brian Merchant, Gizmodo

Related:

“Research: Ride Share Has Increased San Francisco Traffic,” Rachen Swan, SF Chronicle, via Government Technology

“Uber Is a Scam,” Doug Henwood, Jacobin

Updates:

“Uber’s Path of Destruction,” Hubert Horan, American Affairs Journal

“Hundreds of Uber Drivers in Toronto Are Joining a Union,” Bryan Menegus, Gizmodo

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Image derived from “In a Cotton Field” by Horace Bradley, from Harper’s Weekly, August 1887 (Library of Congress).

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Uber Ahoy!

February 25, 2019

Uber Boat has launched in Mumbai. It’s a splashy way to avoid the city’s horrible traffic jams. Uber Boat already operates in Istanbul and Croatia.

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Uber is a Taxi Company

December 22, 2017

Uber is a Taxi Company

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Uber is a taxi company, not a digital information system, as the ride-hailing mobile app giant maintained. Down the road, that may mean drivers, who Uber claims are “contractors,”  will have more rights as employees.

More:

“Uber Is a Taxi Service, the E.C.J. Rules, in Major Setback for Firm,” Liz Alderman, New York Times

“Uber suffers setback as EU rules that it’s a transport service, not a digital company,” Sam Meredith and Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

“Europe’s top court just said Uber isn’t a tech company — it’s a cab company,” Zeeshan Aleem, Vox

“Uber is finally getting called on its biggest bluffs,” Alison Griswold, Quartz

“Could Europe’s Uber ruling affect the future of the gig economy?” Hamza Shaban, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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NASA Prepares for Flying Taxis

December 6, 2017

NASA Prepares for Flying Taxis

Uber is joining NASA in developing software to manage air taxi control software. The ride sharing firm is working to develop a fleet of battery-powered flying cabs and hopes to test them in several cities in the next two years, with full implementation in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

What could possibly go wrong?

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