You Know Who Else Would Have Crushed Uber?

Salon praises the Germans' salutary fealty to rules, since it helped get rid of Uber.


Sometimes I wonder about the core commitments of America's progressive left. I really do.

Today in Salon (who are absurdly consistent attackers of libertarianism) appears an article filled with delight over the fact that Uber has been driven out of some cities in Germany.

That is, they are delighted that the German people will not have the opportunity to make money as hired drivers more easily, or be able to hire a ride more easily and often more cheaply.

They don't bother to argue why that's a good thing, or why anyone either American or German, should think that's a great outcome. They are merely delighted it happened, and a bit disappointed that we in America haven't succeeded in killing Uber as well.

What wonderful quality of the Germans is it that allowed them to happily succeed, where Americans have sadly failed?

Elias Isquith, the author, quotes Germans from walks of life beyond just taxi drivers or regulators pleased at clipping Uber's wings, and notes " a basic error the folks running Uber keep making. Namely, they think other Western democracies will be just as willing to sacrifice its values and bend to the market."

Then he pinpoints the salutary quality that American progressives must laud that Germans possess and we sadly lack (he's quoting something he learned from a New York Times story):

The Times found one financial analyst who liked the service because he appreciated the ability to pay for rides with his smartphone. But when he saw reports of Uber ignoring not only social norms between businesses, but orders from German courts, he decided he'd had enough. "That might work in the U.S.," he said, "but that's not how things are done here in Germany. Everyone must respect the rules."

…what Uber's experience in Germany (and elsewhere in Europe) reveals is a truth that tends to be either rejected or ignored by most elites in America. Which, simply put, is this: While market forces do have a logic and power of their own, they are neither irrefutable nor divine. 

If only everyone respected "the rules," things would be all right, in America as it is in Germany, is Salon's stance.

The "logic" of market forces Isquith hates is, roughly, that people should be able to buy and sell services to better their lives that they choose as long as not directly damaging someone else's legitimate property or person. The logic of Germany that he lauds is "respect[ing] the rules."

Reason on Uber.