One way for Massachusetts to catch up with Silicon Valley…

Biotech remains strong in Massachusetts, but we’ve faded into obscurity when it comes to software. The City of Cambridge, however, has come up with one way to level the playing field: make it illegal to be a customer of a Silicon Valley success story. Here’s a posting from Uber about how the Cambridge city government is proposing effectively to shut Uber down within Cambridge. (There is a public hearing tonight.)

California may be ahead of us in grape production, but they are sour grapes and we do not want them.

[Separately, this relates to the Piketty postings. By definition taxi medallions tend to be owned by millionaires (since one medallion costs close to $1 million and in fact most medallions are owned by people who own multiple medallions). Uber drivers are trying to catch up to these rich folks, but government regulation can prevent them from earning any kind of living in this industry (other than, perhaps, the minimum wage job of working for a taxi medallion owner).]

3 Comments

  1. Joshua Levinson

    June 17, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

    1

    According to their Twitter (https://twitter.com/CambLicense/status/478961740554596352),
    “Great mtg w/ @Uber_Bos today! The 1st of many we hope. Tonight is about a discussion not a shutdown. #cambridgeneedsuber”

    Not that it is worth much. I wonder if these innovative transportation companies could go with something similar to the route that the FAA does with Experimental aircraft. The FAA requires any non-certified aircraft to have a passenger-visible placard:
    “PASSENGER NOTICE – THIS AIRCRAFT IS AMATEUR-BUILT AND DOES NOT COMPLY WITH FEDERAL SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR STANDARD AIRCRAFT.”

    I wonder if the Uber app should just display a message like that when you book it. Most of us would be very happy to see a message that you’re not dealing with one of Boston or Cambridge’s notoriously horrible taxis.

  2. SuperMike

    June 18, 2014 @ 6:21 pm

    2

    Here’s the conundrum for Uber and income inequality/political acceptablility. Will the east coast end up trading:
    1000 multi-millionaires (mainly locals)
    10000 minimum-wage dudes (that likely get a fair amount of government subsidies to live in coastal urban areas)
    for
    5 billionaires (4 of which are in California)
    20-100 multi-Millionaires (option holders, etc. all of which are in California, except for the lawyers and lobbyists required to convince the east-coast governments to tolerate this)
    and
    10000 lower-middle class owner-drivers (~60-80k/yr minus expenses)?

    Right now, the top (existing) scenario might appear to result in more odious distribution of wealth to those that (notice) and hate billionaires. Also, the geographic aspect means fewer local and state taxes paid. (and probably campaign contributions as well)

  3. Brian

    June 24, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

    3

    The Medalion and Uber taxi systems both leave drivers as paupers.
    http://terrychay.com/article/the-uber-truth-about-the-slavery-economy.shtml

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