Think the Sharing Economy Needs More Regulation? SXSW Panel of Women with Prison Records Shows the Down Side.

One panel promotes fear-based control over who drives Uber cars. A second panel illustrates what ultimately happens.


Scott Shackford

Pivoting off the success of Orange Is the New Black, a South by Southwest panel Saturday brought in four women who have served time in prison to discuss reforming—even eliminating—America's massive incarceration system.

The four women advertised themselves as having served 200 months of prison time between the four of them, all for non-violent, money-focused crimes like laundering or wire fraud.

One of the women, Teresa Hodge, has started an organization called Mission: Launch, Inc., to help people who have been convicted of crimes and released get back on their feet with technological training and entrepreneurship. The panelists took sharp note of the fact that having a criminal record as a felon will shut them out of many jobs, even if their crimes bore no relationship with the work that they did. Panelist Pamela Keye, for example, said she cannot restore certification to work in education, though her conviction was for money laundering. "I served my time, and yet the civic death caused by my incarceration makes me feel like I'm eternally serving a life sentence," she said.

Panelist Andrea James noted that the conviction also makes it a challenge for women released out of prison to find new affordable housing and regain custody of their children. She knew of women who were still living in shelters two years after release because they couldn't secure housing or jobs. Evie Litwok, who went to prison for tax evasion at the age of 60, said she hasn't been able to secure any work post-release despite her decades of skills developed prior to incarceration. They also levied a healthy amount of criticism of the drug war as a primary cause of female incarceration, James going so far as to call for the legalization of all drugs, period.

It was interesting to see them keep hammering on the issues that so heavily intersect with government regulations overseeing who may be licensed to work in various occupations, because it is a jarring counterpoint to a government panel earlier in the day, "When the Sharing Economy Is Taken Away." That panel focused on government control and regulation over the sharing economy as a way of making sure the rules reflect the values of the communities they're serving. It focused on Austin here, which implemented a fingerprinting ordinance for ride-share drivers that prompted Lyft and Uber to exit the market.

This was apparently seen as a good thing as a way to prevent massive corporations like Uber from cutting corners or operating on the cheap to maximize profits. But absolutely nobody expressed any concerns that this regulatory demand, based as much on fear as actual risk, could further make it harder for the likes of the released prisoners the "United State of Incarcerated Women" were focused on to get back on their feet and become self-sufficient again.

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  1. …four women who have served time in prison to discuss reforming?even eliminating?America’s massive incarceration system.

    And who is going to pay for this? Eliminating the prison-industrial complex means eliminating jobs. Lots of them.

    Speaking of jobs, if it’s employers who are refusing to hire those convicted of crimes – victimless or otherwise – then that’s their prerogative. But if it’s government licensing standing in the way, then that’s something libertarians can debate. While there is room for the notion that certain crimes in a person’s past should prevent them from performing certain jobs, it’s informed, individual consumers who should make that determination for themselves.

    1. Eliminating jobs that are being broken-windowed out of the economy in the first place.

    2. No, the entire system is open to debate by libertarians because it is comprised of government-mandated blacklisting. The depths to which government requires that you advertise your previous conviction (e.g. for sex offenders), that your conviction is made public domain knowledge, that you follow a very rigid set of restrictions that effectively prevents you from getting work (e.g. travel restrictions), and that you become ineligible for federal student aid for certain crimes (while college tuition prices remain at federal aid-levels) — these factors are only a tip of the iceberg. The fact that you were incarcerated in the first place encourages discrimination that naturally arises from wearing a scarlet letter. Yes, employers have the right to hire and fire based on the letter on your chest, but the organization that forces one to wear that letter shares culpability.

      And this all glosses over the fact that the majority of the prison population are not even guilty of what they are accused of, whether due to plea bargaining, poor (public) representation, or good ol’ fashioned being railroaded.

      I think it’s very libertarian to debate and discuss the entire process and its long-reaching ramifications.

  2. Austin demonstrates how the sudden loss of an unregulated would-be monopoly (or an Uber, Lyft duopoly) can create an opportunity for people to re-imagine how these services can be better designed and governed to serve the public. It’s also a case study in how cities can encourage city-scale enterprises to be democratically owned and operated by locals, for locals, ensuring that the public interest comes before shareholders’ interests.

    How the hell do you keep yourself from choking the shit out of these people, preferably by cramming a copy of Wealth of Nations down their gullets? Entrepreneurs put a product out there in front of the public and the public feedback determines what constitutes “better designed” you shitheads. And have you seriously never heard the bit about how it’s not to the benevolence of the brewer and butcher and baker that we owe our dinner, but their self-interest? Giving the public what they want at a price they’re willing to pay is the public’s interest, you sanctimonious meddling pricks.

    1. That panel focused on government control and regulation over the sharing economy as a way of making sure the rules reflect the values of the communities they’re serving.

      Isn’t it amazing how these folks think something like Uber and Lyft can be so popular without “reflecting the values of the community?”

      Besides the fact that there isn’t any part of the Uber ridesharing model that can’t be duplicated by someone who wants to break the “monopoly.”

      1. They think people as individual consumers don’t do well by themselves collectively, that’s all. They think the idea that they do reflect the values of the community as a fallacy of composition.

        They’re thinking of situations like that where a community consists of thieves, who by pursuing their own interests successfully harm them all collectively. What people who think this way don’t realize is that while some restraints are desirable (e.g. by having property & making theft illegal), restraints on individual behavior are not generally desirable.

  3. I remember back in the salad days of the tech bubble reading an article in the paper about how the job market was so tight that business owners and management types (this was in the business section so from their POV) were lamenting that they were down to hiring people with prison and arrest records. LAMENTING. “We’re so desperate, we have to give second chances to people we would normally pretend don’t exist”, oh the horror.

    Also demonstrated that the best thing for helping the poor and convicted is an overheated economy.

    1. The very best thing for them would be for us to get so rich (in automation) that scarcity would vanish, & nobody would have to work.

      But in the meantime, by “overheated economy”, do you mean one in which investors are misled into employing factors of prod’n to a degree unjustified if not for distortion of market signals? You may be right in the short run. But investors today are better than they used to be at filtering out the noise created by inflation etc., so it’s more expensive to do that now than ever. It might be cheaper to provide plenty of pasture to put the poor & convicted out to.

      1. by “overheated economy”, do you mean one in which

        I intentionally left that vague; I’m not enough of an expert, so I left it to the readers’ imaginations whether full employment is possible without conditions that lead to a crash.

  4. I doubt the current strain of scribbling Libertarian Socialists some of whom are found grinding their brain teeth between these pages will grasp the jarring intellectual decomposition of the European-slanted statist team they’ve hopelessly hung their dingleberries on.

    The regard Altruism Kings and Queens hold for deviating humanity is just as pithy and empty as the jaded contempt of their gods and prophets-centered counterparts who scream woes and horrors from the edges of ghettos and gambling yards.

    The wagging finger of ‘no’ clucked from the disapproving sweaty fat chins of thick legs rotting with gout is the major cause of incarceration swarms.

    Make prison only the abode of those who engage in the macabre, deadly, and beastly and the rest of law can be chucked to pave the way for lessening and loosening- a state which leaves the wilted mouths of those governing asps addicted to chaining their brethren and sisterhoods broken and wanting on the floors of shock.

    Prison is the clamoring basement hidden under the delicate deceit of showy moralizing men.

      1. Hey, DanO? Fuck yourself.

      2. AG gets a least a B for prose alone.

      3. AC is the best.

        You on the other hand….

        1. BTW, by now, it’s obvious the person posting as DanO. is a sock for someone who is a regular here and hopes the to hide the former handle.
          There are few reasons for this,. Most often because the former handle has been recognized as an asshole and the asshole now hopes to post for some period of time before again being recognized as an asshole, only to repeat the sock process once again.
          Right, asshole?

    1. Agile: Awesome.

    2. I respectfully disagree.

  5. “…That panel focused on government control and regulation over the sharing economy as a way of making sure the rules reflect the values of the communities they’re serving.
    This was apparently seen as a good thing as a way to prevent massive corporations like Uber from cutting corners or operating on the cheap to maximize profits.”

    As mentioned regarding the concern over gov’t snooping in the earlier article, we are now seeing the revealed preferences.
    EVERY business ‘cuts corners’ to ‘maximize profits’, and third party twits can suck canal water if that bothers them.

    1. I missed the last couple of fake news reports – wasn’t the sharing economy based on contract workers? So where do the “massive corporations” (??!) like Uber/Lyft find corners to cut? Either they operate in a way that is acceptable to enough drivers to stay in business, or they go away. All the supposed government helping of the poor misguided consumers just adds cost, and convinces the contracts to go somewhere else. Which is how it is supposed to work.
      Travel with me through a portal (never mind) – just suppose a state like California passed a bunch of messed up laws mandating all kinds of unnecessary automotive equipment, and instead of whining, complaining, and capitulating, the car companies simply left California. I miss the sixties.

  6. If people are using a service, doesn’t that imply it reflects the communities’ values?

    1. The “French” claim to hate Mikey D’s, the “French” make them very profitable.
      The “French” preference is revealed; the stated preference it bullshit.

  7. MSM reporter in trouble:

    “Milpitas man arrested in White House security breach”
    “In the letter found on Tran, he mentioned “Russian hackers” and said he had information of relevance, according to the criminal complaint. He alleged that he had been followed, that his phone and email communications had been read by third parties, and that he has been called schizophrenic.”…..995308.php

    Schizo may be a bit of hyperbole, but not far off; the press is definitely whacko.

    1. Sevo is one thousand feet tall and his wings are covered in violet wind storms
      and his bullets have gods in them and his bombs are sun frowns.
      Sevo is one thousand feet tall and his arms are made from mountains that visit clouds
      and his ships were made in the belly of ancient atomic furnaces.

  8. A brother was cut from granite under an orange misty sun
    and he fell into the dust of the day and his maker dusted
    off leather apron and left him lie in the waning moments
    of a day that was to be proceeded by many more.

    The granite brother on the following day was purchased
    by a mother interested in having far too many children
    with unresolved orgasm issues and he was placed on a
    shelf next to inexpensive figurines in the dining room where
    he could watch, with his granite eyes, her pull out large smooth
    tits and feed the hungry mouths of her children for
    such a long number of days that even confuses granite objects like the brother.

    And she would look into his granite eyes and the brother felt
    his granite cock grow rock hard every day while the mother
    nursed her babies with satin smooth geographies, nipples firm
    and perfect. Delightfully parting the lips of babies the mother’s
    supple heavenly breasts spurted the liquid of mastery produced by
    gods and evolution, both or neither he cared not a fucking whit.

    The granite brother fell in love with the mother of the babies. And he fell
    in love with the babies. He watched the mother on late lonely nights pull her
    satin robe aside with rain billowing through the window and while the wine
    flowed she would part her gentle pink parts and with forefinger play sweet
    tunes followed with moan and sigh. The next morning the babies would break
    his friends on the shelf and also the limbs of cats and dogs.

    1. Over time the granite brother saw the mother grow old and the babies
      would become large noisy creatures uninterested in flowers, life, or their mother
      and they, thankfully to the granite brother, would leave one after another to who
      the fuck knows what

      One day after all the babies left and the mother thought she was too old
      for anything young and handsome she remembered the granite brother
      and gently lifted him off the shelf that had held so many memories and she
      remembered the many nights and boobs he had witnessed and under
      a moment thick with expression she wept and her tears washed the granite
      brother from his stalwart position and he broke free from a tomb imposed on
      him by an uninterested maker and the granite brother took the old mother
      in his arms and….

      when you walk a stone path, or an old mountain road, or a lost rock face and
      two lovers of stone catch your attention… remember the granite brother and the mother,
      my loves.

  9. Underneath us all
    lie shit, dungeons, and mire
    Above us all
    rise angels, suns, and excuses

  10. Humans are the degraded state
    only because those flights of beauty
    with wisdom transfiguring society into
    transcendental states of mind and intellect
    are forced into servitude to the whims of the
    killers, planners, and designers.
    Humans are the degraded state.
    Humans are the degraded state.
    There is no Make Humans Great.
    Humans are the degraded state.
    Until humans understand that the state
    is their enemy they will firmly remain
    degraded, raped, and fucked.
    Humans are the degraded state.
    Humans are the fodder of the religions and
    Humans are the blood tickets of societal
    architects and political archetypes.
    The Humans are the fucking bloody stools
    of thick bloodless rotgut scholastic.

  11. We are the pillaging of dreamers and the intellectually vapid.
    We are the experiment of those who run for office on vapid bullshit and who think nothing
    about practicing political witchcraft on the whims of the living.
    my keys just got oiled with old spirits.
    We are the lost ruptured toads on the high school bench of politicians practicing nation-creation.
    Fuck being the We. FUCK being this shit.

  12. You media,
    you lost soul beast
    You would sell your only child to the FUCKING CIA for a goddamn
    worthless story while pawning it off as a eyeball LSD
    you disgusting font whores.
    The entire business is a sordid windsurf on the waves of fucking pea spinners

  13. A very long sword cut through the stars
    and left a billion planets swerving and skreeting
    A very long dream sliced through the heart of
    humanity and left billions demanding peace and loving

  14. The thick shield of our dreams is our forgetfulness….
    your failing, bro or sis… that thing that makes you pause in
    front of reflective glass and then you question, ponder, compare, and then
    allow to weaken the thing of yourself- that fire, that fucking steam engine aside
    from this fucking shitty world…
    The thick shield of our dreams is our forgetfulness…
    you fucking fall under the spell of that which weakens you which was spawned
    in the hellfire of your own self-destruction.
    The thick shield of our dreams is our forgetfulness…
    you fucking step up and realize the universe that made a billion suns
    and a trillion stars- all that is you. All the stars and suns spill their jizz
    into YOUR atoms.
    Proven by science… yet undermined by human evolution because
    humans refuse to love the universe they are borne within…
    We MUST love ourselves and EMBRACE our amazing wings
    because LIFE is galactic survival! LIFE is beauty and owning
    our transcendental eruption is the tang on the tongue of the
    expression of fucking visual Kung FU flowers and lions!

  15. One time I had numb fingers and tried to fire a frozen gun
    and the bullets came out and hit invisible creatures and when
    they shattered my arms started bleeding and my head bent
    into an exquisite soft room where old memories of ancient
    fantasies merged and a lilting soft smoke filtered into
    bedrooms with confused attractions and tight jeans
    where she could not pull her zipper down or mine
    but I think this was because of all the drugs and so we
    did turn into eels and invited more eels with neon earrings
    and then finally when the record stopped spinning
    we decided it was time to become solid blocks of
    mandelbrots and someone put on some Citizen Cope
    and all the mandelbrots got all fractal and nasty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Scott, were you the only one who saw this connection or were they seen as completely separate concepts, with members of the previous panel nodding vigorously over the injustices of the second panel?

    1. Diane Reynolds of Paul dot,
      an exquisite thread heroine
      a stalwart sword clad maestro of
      voice and keyboard and burgeon
      Diane Reynolds the power vise
      the language the Reason threads
      Diane Reynolds the shining winging
      Queen of brilliance lofting the threads
      of men crushing the weakness of fools
      and ignorants
      the Warrior of Logic and Objective Presence
      she enters discussions burning with diamonds
      and golden spires and hallowed angels
      bowing and arising at her Entrance-
      Diane Reynolds a living empress of thought amidst
      the golden seas of gentle powers that should never
      fucking ever be underestimated…

  17. (CNN)Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad scoffed and questioned US actions in Syria, calling American troops deploying to the country “invaders” because he hadn’t given permission for them to enter the country and saying there’s been no “concrete action” from the Trump administration toward ISIS.

    “Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one,” Assad said.
    “And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.”


    1. I would like to subscribe to his newsletter.

  18. Top Women.

  19. Wow. A weekend thread that has been up for almost a whole day only has like three dozen posts.

    If that doesn’t tell you the extent to which Welch’s PFLs have driven people away from here, I don’t know what the heck does.

    1. PFL?

      1. Professional Fake Libertarians.

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