Really did a deep dive into Noam Scheiber’s April 2017 NY Times article on Uber.
Drivers for Uber are IC’s – – independent contractors.
This means that their client, Uber the Company and its executives, will always make offers. If they’re like most companies, typically offers entail more work at lower fees.
But the IC’s have to determine what is best for their life and needed income. Each party negotiate, and maybe they’ll find a happy compromise.
Versus describing these and other realities and liberties, this article places a negative connotation on the IC working model – versus an unbiased perspective.
The writer makes comments…
- describing how Uber is a “master” over their workers,
- controlling their “mental circuitry”,
- using “psychological tricks”,
- with some evil “kind of manipulation”,
- that takes us “back”-ward in time by decades.
- Even going so far to call it “ethical purgatory”.
The writer fails to admit the reality that these are independent professionals. They are not being controlled. Freedom is not backwards. By no means is it unethical.
What the Uber model teaches us is that there are a certain proportion of people who don’t mind earning very low wages.
Why would people work under such low wages, with no potential of earning more? I actually do not know.
But what I commonly find among my drivers is they feel like they have nothing else to do with their time. It’s likely they feel like they have no other problems to solve in their community than to ‘serve’ their community under the model offered to them by Uber.
Do people who refuse to be vigilant with their financial earnings and refuse to only work in fair compensation models deserve some government protections? I don’t know. Slavery of the colonial days was not a choice. Working for Uber IS a choice.
Should people be protected from making bad choices? Or should people who make bad choices be penalized? Who should implement the penalties? Governments? Or merely endure the natural consequence to poor decisions?
Economics tells us that supply and demand set prices.
When there is a large supply, prices go down, and when demand rises, prices go up.
The psychology of economics tells us that people follow a herd mentality, and when they do, the economics can tilt in your favor if you prepare for the opposite of what the herd is doing.
With Bill Gates, he saw that ‘the herd’ was about to purchase a personal computer in every household, so instead of just being another buyer, he engineered and created a little piece of SW to be used in each of those computers.
Is it possible with Uber, drivers would make MORE money if they did the opposite of what the application is telling it to do… avoid going where the app tells you to go, as a driver. Take fewer pickups, particularly every time that the app says to pick up more.
Rather than the little piece of software being falsely labeled as unethical, it’s more likely Uber drivers may not realize that they are “independent”.
This independence comes with increased benefits and freedoms, but also with more risks.
While risks don’t always correlate with rewards, FREEDOM as an IC is guaranteed.
Uber teaches us that there are many people who will take the risk of being an IC, without ever exploiting their freedom…
Employees do not have the freedom to choose WHEN they work. Uber’s IC’s do.
Employees do not have the freedom to choose WHERE they want to work. Uber’s IC’s can choose where they want to drive.
Employees typically do not have the freedom to earn uncapped income (as there are typically shareholders who require profits). Meanwhile, IC’s should be able to charge any amount they please, as long as the market will pay.
This begs the question – does Uber let IC’s charge any amount they wish? Like Task Rabbit???
Quite possibly, this could be an area for improvement.
Beyond having this ability to set minimum wages, it would benefit Uber drivers to take advantage of their freedoms as independent workers opposed some of them finding opportunities to complain about their status.