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Vox’s Timothy Lee looks at how Republicans and Democrats view the emerging sharing economy. Republicans — at least nationally — seem almost uniformly positive. They see Uber, for instance, as a feisty, innovative startup vs. regulators and the cronyist taxicab cartel. But Democrats are sort of split. Lee:
Some liberals dislike Uber on ideological grounds, but others — especially in the media, politics, and technology centers of New York, Washington, and San Francisco — are regular Uber customers. On one side of this debate are old-school liberals with strong ties to the labor movement and urban political machines. For them, Uber is a conventional story about worker and consumer rights. Labor unions believe Uber is flouting the law by classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees. And they would love to unionize Uber’s fast-growing workforce.
More broadly, conventional liberals are suspicious of claims that deregulation and innovation will benefit workers and consumers in the long run. They view Uber’s “gig economy” as part of a broader trend toward declining worker power. They blame decades of deregulation — under both Republicans and centrist Democrats like Bill Clinton — for this trend, and believe stricter regulation of Uber could be part of a larger trend toward stricter regulation of labor markets more generally. In his campaign against Uber this week, Bill de Blasio primarily focused on congestion concerns, but he also mentioned workers’ rights as a major concern.