As Europeans protest in the streets, and as blue state and city regulators in America try to crack down in the interests of protecting taxi monopolies and the well-connected crony capitalists who profit off restricted markets, it’s worth remembering that new tech-enabled companies like Uber are likely to have a significant positive impact on the environment—reducing the need for car ownership and, as a recent article in the New York Times points out, by strengthening rather than weakening mass transit:
…if Uber and its ride-sharing competitors succeed, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see many small and midsize cities become transportation nirvanas on the order of Manhattan — places where forgoing car ownership isn’t just an outré lifestyle choice, but the preferred way to live.
“In many cities and even suburbs, it’s becoming much easier to organize your life car-free or car-lite,” said David A. King, an assistant professor of urban planning at Columbia University who studies technology and transportation. By car-lite, Dr. King means that instead of having one car for every driver, households can increasingly get by with owning just a single vehicle, thanks in part to tech-enabled services like Uber.
Cheaper, better, faster, greener: building the information economy of the 21st century is the best way to fight poverty and clean up the planet. There are a lot of vested interests who want to fight the change, but the sooner the luddites can be defeated, the sooner we can build a greener, more prosperous and more humane civilization.