Animal’s Daily News

Out on a limb.
Out on a limb.

Here’s a little tidbit that hits home for me, the peripatetic contract jobber:  In Defense of Freelancing.  Excerpt:

Here in Pittsburgh, Uber is destroying the local Yellow Cab monopoly, one of the worst taxi companies in the country. It’s getting drunk drivers off the roads in unknown numbers. It’s energizing the city’s nightlife. It has clearly been a boon for the city’s young women, allowing them to move around safely, reliably, and affordably at night, alone or in packs of three and four. It has also created hundreds of part- or full-time jobs for Pittsburghers.

Steven Hill hates it.

Hill, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, is the author of Raw Deal, a grueling sermon accusing Uber—and similar “peer-to-peer” businesses, such as Airbnb and TaskRabbit—of exploiting part-time workers and eroding the wealth and security of the American workforce. These so-called “sharing economy” companies connect the buyers and sellers of goods, services, and labor online. For Hill, the people who run them and the venture capitalists who fund them “have conceived of nothing less than a wholesale redesign of the U.S. workforce, the quality of employment and the ways we live and work.” This powerful, diabolical, apparently conspiratorial new species of techno-entrepreneurs has planned “a dead end for U.S. workers, as well as the national economy” by creating what Hill dubs “the freelance society.”

BearLaughing1To put it bluntly, Steven Hill is full of  more shit than a Christmas goose.

You know what companies like Uber do, besides offering fast, convenient rides on demand, with clean, modern cars and friendly, courteous drivers?  Uber removes all the bullshit from grabbing a ride in a new town – or maybe even in your own town on a night when you’ve had one too many.  The endless union negotiations and graft associated with cab companies are kaputt.  The Uber workers work when and where they feel like it, and make pretty decent money doing so.  And no, nobody is “exploited.”  Only government can force people to do or not do something; every single driver for Uber is doing so voluntarily.  Just as I work in my industry as a freelance, freewheeling consultant (I’ve often thought of putting a black chess knight on my business cards with the slogan “Have Laptop, Will Travel”) we do so freely, knowing the risks, and doing so because we choose it.

And in the case of Uber, they are shutting city cab companies down.  Good.  Capitalism has always been a process of creative destruction.  If the cab companies can’t compete, screw ’em.

And while we’re at it, screw Steven Hill, too.