Free Market: It’s Like Uber, but for Everything

By Published on September 30, 2015

If it sometimes seems like it’s impossible to restore the free market, as if every new wave of government regulation is irreversible, then consider that one form of regulation, which is common in the most dogmatically big-government enclaves in the country, is being pretty much completely dismantled before our eyes. And it’s the hippest thing ever.

I was reminded of this by a recent report about yet another attempt to help traditional taxis compete with “ride-sharing” services like Uber and Lyft: a new app called Arro, which allows you to both hail a traditional taxi and pay for it from your phone. So Arro takes a twentieth-century business and finally drags into the twenty-first century. This certainly might help improve the taxi experience relative to how things were done before. But it won’t fend off Uber and Lyft, because it doesn’t change the central issues, which are political rather than technological.

The big mistake people make about these new ride-sharing services is to think of them as technology companies, because the technological interface is what you see and use. That’s why Arro thinks it can compete simply by duplicating the interface. But Uber and Lyft are really in the business of busting the taxi monopoly—through a series of complex and ongoing legal battles—and creating businesses that operate according to the laws of free-market economics rather than the dictates of government.

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Absolute Surrender
Michelle Cushatt
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