Slate's Yglesias Gets It Right on Uber, E-Hailing Regulation

I’ve jabbed at Slate‘s Matthew Yglesias in the past
over things like his uncomprehending and unreasoned
hostility toward gold-as-money
, but when he’s right, he’s
getting exactly to the point
on the supposed desperate need to
regulate such smartphone-app hired ride hailing services as

The regulatory issue around Uber is whether the rules
governing rides-for-hire need to be drastically different than the
rules governing driving-yourself-around.

….my answer is always the same: Of
 there are significant public safety concerns
about people driving vans. But the concerns are essentially the
same whether it’s a delivery van or a dollar van. You need rules
about what’s an acceptable vehicle, who’s an acceptable driver, and
what’s an acceptable way to pilot the vehicle.

But you don’t need rules that specifically discriminate against
rides for hire. The right way to think about this panoply of rules
is that it’s all part of a regulatory structure designed to make
single passenger automobile traffic and one-car-per-adult the
normative American lifestyles. Anything you want to do around
driving yourself is presumptively legal, and anything you want to
do around hiring someone else to drive you is presumptively
illegal. That’s a worldview that’s bad for the environment, bad for
cities, bad for the poor, bad for many classes of physically
impaired people, and all-in-all bad for America. But by all means,
regulate cars-for-hire. Just regulate them the same way you
regulate the other cars.

This is not necessarily endorsing his particular vision of what
regulations are appropriate for private drivers, which he goes on
about in his article, just the point that drivers for hire don’t
need any more regulation than drivers not for hire.

Not that Yglesias would be the one to notice this, but Ayn Rand
was on to something in noting there is a psychological block and
objection to anything people perceive as done to earn
that haunts and warps too many Americans’ ability to
make intelligent judgements involving what behaviors do or
don’t need to be “regulated.”

As cartoonist Chester Brown argued in his
graphic memoir Paying For It,
if people can wrap their
heads around the fact that you should be able to choose who to have
sex with for free, why shouldn’t you be able to choose who
you have sex with for money?

I wrote here on California’s
regulatory regime on the likes of Uber and Lyft
back in

from Hit & Run

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