14 Comments
Dec 4, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Recently I had a conference and took an Uber from the Las Vegas airport to my hotel. The cost of this fairly short ride was around $62 without tip. I asked the driver how much he was making, and he said more than normal, which was under $10. I just about fell out. I did what I could giving him a 30% tip on my company’s dime but WTF? So, thank you for delineating this because I understand better now

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

The ILO formally opposes debt peonage as a form of slavery, and it kinda seems like algorithmic wage discrimination is the same thing. When an employer capriciously changes the value it assigns to a worker’s labor, it is irrelevant whether that value is “paid” as a credit against a debt or as a fluctuating and unpredictable “wage.” The value transfer is the same in both cases and, more importantly, uncorrelated to the cost of the work, in terms of an individual’s time, physical effort, creativity, education/skill, risk to health and well-being, etc. And, in both cases, the accumulated power of the employer has become so large that it eats the worker’s freedom. Which is basically slavery. Surely the based Veena Dubal would agree.

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Great illustration of a very broad problem. “Injustice by algorithm” is endemic now. Data thieves have been permitted to appropriate public and private information to build “proprietary” systems of economic exploitation in nearly every walk of life. A functioning government might protect its citizens from this kind of privatized totalitarianism, but Congress lacks enough competent and conscientious people to deal with these new realities. A well-funded program of disinformation has enabled that. Voters could overcome all this, but they would have to show up and actually vote.

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founding
Dec 4, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

I was using Alto for the rare occasions I needed a ride but they stopped servicing SF! I think they just couldn't complete price wise.

I don't ever want to get in a Lyft/Uber again. They ruined the driving experience here in the Bay Area. Pre-pandemic a driver told me there were ~30,000 of them every morning bringing people into SF. Feeding off the infrastructure as well as the people and contributing nothing.

The defeat of Prop 22 was such a blow. I hope we can get another ballot proposal to curb them because our legislature is definitely not interested.

And now we have Wyamo cars who are immune from traffic tickets!

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Thanks Hamilton. Keep on fighting mate.

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I tried to enter the Goodreads giveaway, but Canada isn't one of the countries allowed to participate. Which is too bad, because I have a feeling I would love your book.

For the record, I can't stand Uber or Air BNBs when there's a housing crisis, but I didn't know about the black box determinator of Uber wages and charges. Just sickening! Thanks for a great post.

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I live in New York, perhaps you do too, so the other ethical issue is whether to use Ubers or taxis.

You raise interesting points and questions. Thanks for making me think!

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Does Lyft doc this too? Should I use them instead of Uber?

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Are there really still folks in Labor prepared to accommodate the gig companies? I am not seeing it.

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If the drivers know what they will be paid if they accept the ride, I don't see the ethical problem.

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