Joel Edwin Segall, Economist and President of Baruch College, Dies at 80
Posted at 0:01h, 17 Jun 2014 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning,

All, Or so contended economist Dr. Joel Segall. We understand. Uber recently raised $1.2B, which put the company value at $18.2B – making it worth more than Hertz and Avis, combined. Uber is an app. The company owns no cars. Their ‘drivers’ get no employee benefits, since they are not employees, nor does Uber cover their insurance, liability or otherwise.  Taxi drivers all over the world have been protesting the arrival of ride sharing services like Uber.

Uber isn’t truly creating massive numbers of jobs- but it is creating income for people who need it. And jeopardizing the livelihoods of many others. On the other hand, there are a finite amount of cabs on the street in NYC, and they all change shifts at the same time – right around rush hour, for the record. A license costs about $250k, and then there’s the cab itself, which costs $800k+. What’s wrong with this picture?

Sharing is a sign of weakness: that there’s a flaw in the system.  It’s not at all easy to disrupt NYC’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, but a light needs to be shined on the flaws/abuses of these systems. (For the record, the system in London makes becoming a cab driver equally prohibitive, what to speak of having to pass the Knowledge).

People don’t rent out their apartment on Airbnb for just the thrill of it: do you know how high rents are in NY and SF? New York landlords are in on the game now, too, warehousing apartments, cheaply furnishing them and offering them out on Airbnb. Where they make a lot more money than they do by offering leases – making even fewer apartments available to locals.

Do their individual drivers benefit in any way from Uber’s recent largesse?

Sharing is a lovely term and a wonderful sentiment. But let’s not forget that, at the end of the day and all things considered, it’s the investors who will do well. Besides that, it’s pretty much a one-way street. May be time to focus on where the real weaknesses lie.

Onward and forward.