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Belmont Club

If You’re Leaving San Francisco

July 31st, 2013 - 2:57 pm

If you’re leaving San Francisco.
Take extra care
Not to use rideshare.
If you’re leaving San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some union people there.

“MILLBRAE (CBS SF) — In the past month, San Francisco International Airport officials have been citing and arresting drivers from mobile-app enabled rideshare companies that pick up and drop off passengers, an airport spokesman said. Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said there have been seven citizen arrests issued to ‘various offenders’ since July 10. The airport had issued cease and desist letters to several rideshare companies, including Lyft, Sidecar and Uber, in April.”

These are not professional drivers who are being arrested. These are drivers participating in a mobile app arrangement typified by Sidecar. How it works:

1. Download the app.
2. Indicate where you want to go. “A request will go out to drivers nearby.”
3. The app matches you with a driver.
4. “You’ll see a photo of your driver and their car as they head towards you.” A tracking map will appear.
5. “Arrive at your drop off point and pay what you think is fair.”
6. Get arrested by the union.

“The taxi group, comprised of members from the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association and the United Taxicab Workers of San Francisco, are demanding that city officials and regulatory agencies consider rideshare companies as illegal taxi services.”

Car pooling was part of what used to be called the “share economy”. Salon says capitalism is corrupting an otherwise noble idea. Them capitalists just don’t give up. They insist on bringing filthy lucre into things. (See previous post on excessively cheap hamburgers as a threat to fairness.)

There are aspects of the sharing economy that are cool and exciting. But the speakers devoted nearly all of their prepared statements to the benefits the sharing economy delivered to the consumers and producers linked together by these services, and very little attention to the services themselves — the venture-capital-funded platforms that are looking to reap significant financial rewards from all this “sharing.” (A more accurate description, suggested by former Wired technology writer Ryan Singel, might be “subletting.” Money, after all, does exchange hands when you share your car or guest bedroom. But the “subletting economy” doesn’t sound anywhere near as sexy.)

But it sure as hell pays the bills.   The information revolution has made a lot of things cheaper, which is not always good. Many people now have to demand less for services they used to charge more for because  advances in connectivity have made these a commodity.  This can only be offset if it applies throughout, so that people who earn less can also live for less because the new economy lets them do things for a fraction of their former cost.

But the idea of leaving money out of transactions is unconsciously predicated on the idea that the sharers have “jobs” which provide dinero. Hence the “sharing” can take place in a civic and non-economic context. However when people no longer have jobs in the old sense, they must find a way to put their ordinary activity to remunerative use. In the part-time economy you are always looking for a gig or alternatively, to save a buck. There is no clear delineation between being ‘at work’ and ‘off’.

The people at Salon probably know better than most how tough it is to make a living today as a writer. But then they don’t have a union and monopoly control over certain services. The taxi drivers do.

Maybe that’s how the Obama economy will finish up. Some people will get paid at outsourced rates.  Others will get monopoly rents. President Obama’s new “grand bargain” tax proposal has been denounced as doing exactly that. The Washington Post writes: “A number of small business groups quickly criticized a new “grand bargain” proposal outlined by President Obama on Tuesday, which would authorize new economic stimulus spending in exchange for lower tax rates for corporations.”

Danner said that the vast majority of all small businesses are structured as pass-through entities, so their owners pay taxes at the individual rates. Consequently, those firms would not stand to gain from the president’s concession to lower the corporate rate from 35 percent to 28 percent.

Instead, by lowering the corporate rate and leaving the individual rate untouched, it would put small firms at an even greater disadvantage to large corporations, Danner said.

Paul Ryan says its all part of the last stand of crony capitalism, sometimes known as socialism. “He wants to funnel money to his green-energy cronies. But he refuses to let us develop our energy resources and create good-paying jobs. He wants to give big banks a backstop — and a leg up on community banks.” This is the biggest challenge of the Blue Model today. How can one keep the monopoly rents in the face of decentralizing trends?

All across the nation,
such a strange vibration
There’s a whole generation
with a new explanation
People in motion, people in motion!
For those who leave San Francisco.
Be sure to know bail bondsmen living there.
In the streets of San Francisco.
You’re going to meet some union people there.

Who knows how it will finish up. One thing’s for sure. The times, they are a-changin’.


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Top Rated Comments   
But they didn't succeed and the reason for that is you guys. This site has a sizeable audience and therefore cannot lightly be consigned to the memory hole.

The important thing to recognize is that "online reputation" does not inhere in me. It inheres in the readership. It's just a metric that reflects a kind of vote or recognition that groups of people confer. As such all valid online reputations are approximations of true satisfaction.

You can rig it, but only for a while. By contrast the Narrative is synthetic. It is conferred --- sometimes by themselves -- upon themselves. A fixed online reputation will be swept away, if only by change, since such reputations are like froth. They have to keep renewing themselves, or they will lapse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A real "share economy" may lead to differential pricing. For example, a person with an electronic reputation (a long history of using share services who has always paid and never assaulted the provider) may be able to ride for less than a guy with a long history of crime.

The share economy will be one in which marginal costs and benefits are paid instead of an average cost. This will economically disadvantage high risk individuals, but on the other hand, it will provide an incentive to become functional and stay clean because otherwise the market will punish you severely.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Reminds me of the time I was a new arrival in Almaty, Kazakhstan -- standing in a snowberm outside a bar, waiting for my ride to pick me up. A pretty young lady (a species which is abundant in Almaty) walked out of the bar, dressed rather skimpily for the temperature, and immediately flagged down a passing car. She cexchanged a few words with the driver, climbed in, and the car sped off into the dark. Hmmm, so that's how it's done in Almaty, I thought.

Later I found that the procedure was known as "calling a taxi". Basically, anyone on the sidewalk could stand facing traffic and point at the road. The first driver who wanted to make a few tenge would stop, and business would be transacted. Given gas prices in Kazakhstan, the arrangement made sense for both drivers & riders.

The basis was a society with effective policing and no legal mercy for miscreants. If a driver had laid a hand on his slightly-tipsy scantily-clad young female passenger, he would have been toast. No Clinton/Weiner-type forgiveness. And also a post-communist society with very low tolerance for regulatory commissions.

By the way, "crony capitalism" is not socialism. It is fascism -- private ownership allowed, under central political control. And it is now clear that from EUtopia to Russia to China to the US, fascism defeated socialism, communism, capitalism, and democracy in the 20th Century.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
W: “Maybe that’s how the Obama economy will finish up.”

WHY do you think we've seen all the disgusting behaviors and performance from the so-called media? They tried and tried to curry the ‘favored, if not most favored’ status from the likes of Jarret/Axelrod/Messina/et al.

Even writing stuff that is patently wrong and nauseating, will leave a permanent bad mark in the human history book. Don't matter to them, they don't want to be left out.

As for GOP, God help us.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At the core of the Blue State model is the collusion between large corporations with their cultures and large government with its culture.

In each case the culture represents staid inertia. Small businesses do not possess this and represent a constant threat to the income stream of both large corporations and large government. Both large entities are populated with people driven primarily by the impulse to get to a place where anxiety about income stream is eliminated from their lives by whatever means are necessary. As such both are constantly throwing up financial barricades and legal and regulatory in an attempt to harrass and destroy small business.


It has been said that mainline Republicans hate small business and Democrats hate all business. It is becoming increasingly clear that ruling class politicians of both parties are fighting a reactionary rear guard action to preserve the Blue State model and see small business as an impediment to that effort. Fascism indeed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was kind of surprised when I sen this article. Did you see the other articles online about legitimizing ride shares in California? It appears as though ride shares may be around for a little while. The ride shares are a much more safe rife than San Francisco Taxis and the only area of threat for arrest is at the airport which I am sure will change with the new state regulations coming to play on ride shares. The arrest is only for the driver and not the passengers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Didn't I read something lately, that China, in an attempt to get things moving again economically, is officially exempting small businesses and employers from all taxes (in certain hard hit areas)? How come the wicked Red Chinese get it and Congress and the WH don't?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Capt. Kirk is still looking for you Harvey Mudd!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Drat! Busted.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
James Kirk is not reported as having attended the Harvey Mudd engineering school at Claremont. He did however have invigorating encounters with Harcourt Fenton Mudd.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"the only thing that can handle the new economy is a simple tax rate and minimal regulation." wretchard

Connect the above with Bitcoin. "Bitcoin (sign: BitcoinSign.svg; code: BTC) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority. Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution."

"Bitcoins are sent easily through the Internet, without needing to trust any third party.
Transactions:
Are irreversible by design
Are fast. Funds received are available for spending within minutes.
Cost very little, especially compared to other payment networks.
The supply of bitcoins is regulated by software and the agreement of users of the system and cannot be manipulated by any government, bank, organization or individual. The limited inflation of the Bitcoin system's money supply is distributed evenly (by CPU power) to miners who help secure the network."

Anything on Amazon can now be bought with bitcoins thru a middle step of buying electronic gift cards from gyft.com. Same with CVS, Kmart, and a growing list of other retailers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Back when I walked to the Metro and rode it to the Pentagon, I noted that the cost of riding the mass transit essentially equaled the cost of driving, including the cost of parking, and it increased accordingly. Thermodynamics may not be nice but it is inevitable.

In the DC area they have a phenomenon called “the slug line.” People wanting to go to the more popular areas – and the Pentagon is one, being a major transportation hub – stand in lines in the outer suburbs and people will pick them up and take them there at no charge, just to be able to fill up the car enough to use the High Occupancy Lanes and thus save some time. It’s kind of amazing that it works as well as it does, and it’s surprising that the government has not tried to control it, but it does depend on the government enforcing access to the roads.

The have modified the HOV lane policy in recent years. Hybrid cars get to use them with only one occupant.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
W: "The share economy ... will provide an incentive to become functional and stay clean because otherwise the market will punish you severely."

That would be positive. On the other hand .. didn't some pimply-faced European teenager try to use his position in Wikipedia to exile the Belmont Club to the unrecorded outer darkness of the internet?

When on-line "reputations" become important, they will be tampered with. It is a safe prediction that members of the nomenklatura will have sterling on-line reputations, slways & regardless. And Tea-Partiers will end up having to walk.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But they didn't succeed and the reason for that is you guys. This site has a sizeable audience and therefore cannot lightly be consigned to the memory hole.

The important thing to recognize is that "online reputation" does not inhere in me. It inheres in the readership. It's just a metric that reflects a kind of vote or recognition that groups of people confer. As such all valid online reputations are approximations of true satisfaction.

You can rig it, but only for a while. By contrast the Narrative is synthetic. It is conferred --- sometimes by themselves -- upon themselves. A fixed online reputation will be swept away, if only by change, since such reputations are like froth. They have to keep renewing themselves, or they will lapse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These new apps entirely re-create the jitney -- as it exploded across the LA scene circa 1916.

Wiki has the matter entirely fouled up -- wrong.

The original jitney was so coined because the typical 'split' was for each rider of a Model T to kick in five cents.

The idea that jitneys pre-dated the Model T is totally absurd.

It was very, very, hard to crack down on the originals... because they had running boards. The target market would simply sprint over, jump on, and 'negotiate' while on the move. This tactic designed to entirely frustrate any 'legal complications.' Riders would pack light.

During that war era, officialdom was compelled to look the other way, entirely. So jitneys ran absolutely wild all over the LA scene. By doing so, they revealed that one COULD commute by car across LA -- and without the outlays for rail cars and such.

The rest is LA history.

JItneys never exploded up in SF precisely because that area already had torpid transit.

Real players will start to land in Oakland -- and BART on in. So much for the Carriage Trade.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Five cents = half a gallon of gasoline = six to eight road miles = commuting distance ( LA 1916 was not LA 1942 )

Engine performance was lousy vs 2013.

The Model T was not a speed queen -- heavy on the drag, too.

L o n g trips were not the name of the jitney game.

Jitneys got started as a ride-share -- and then morphed and morphed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This "sharing" enterprise is a beautiful thing. It's an end run around all of the California regulatory and tax policy. Do you know how much the cab companies pay to the Airport Authority for the "right" to operate there? There's tax upon tax upon tax upon regulation in California, and this "sharing" idea by passes all of them by essentially going back to a "barter" system between individuals.

It's ironic that this service should develop and flourish in progressive San Francisco. Ironic, and perhaps inevitable too. Apparently, even the progressives feel the need to reach outside of the political oppression and corruption of the California Bay Area. They probably don't even realize why they are evading the system they helped create.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is inevitable that the ironically-named Progressives of SF will inevitably stomp the private initiatives that threaten to undercut the credentialed taxis that bribed the government for a monopoly. Eventually they will have to outlaw private vehicles entirely. This will be justified as a preventative of terrorists using private vehicles for their terror weapons that go bang.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These Progressives will not change their political incline one iota.

But, a heavy BUT they will justify their evasive behavior with some beautified 'helping mother gaia' nonsense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In San Diego for years the trolley ran past the airport without stopping. The taxi drivers had paid off some Council Members. After all, who wants to piss off Travis Bickle?

The wonder is that with all those votes from Chicago at stake we did not have a government mandate crushing air travel to keep the Pullman rail cars viable.

How many of those cab drivers are native born Americans? I read that in Minneapolis the cab drivers were refusing to take any passenger holding alcohol or dressed 'immodestly' or accompanied by a Service Animal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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