REFLECT (use this info to complete the assignment below): Keep in mind that Uber has presented itself into the market not as a transportation service but as a service that pairs consumers with ride sharing services by means of a unique phone app. But some sourcesincluding the taxi industry and one California court finding (details in the required material), as well as the characterization of Uber presented in Section 2.5 of the textbookseem to challenge this branding. According to these sources, Uber is avoiding laws that apply to the transportation industry and, thereby, usurping a rightful place that the taxi industry has carved for itself. Consumers, on the other hand, have shown their preference for Uber by a high demand for its services in the USA and abroad, including those countries in which Uber has been banned. Compared to taxis, Uber offers consumers an efficient system for procuring a ride even in remote areas where taxis do not frequent, a convenient payment method (no need for cash, and fares can be split among different users on the same ride), and significantly cheaper fares compared to taxis. In many instances, Uber cars come equipped with water, candy, and magazines, all for free. Uber drivers are also better off because they keep the majority of the fares for the rides that they service, which is exactly the opposite case of taxi drivers, and they can choose when they want to work. Clearly, this is a controversial case and thus very apt for the examination for this discussion.
Keep in mind that a nations economic system is shaped by the laws that are in place. Accordingly, laws (including state regulations and local ordinances) will give you a clue for the kind of economic system that exists. Keep in mind also that most nations have mixed economies and there is probably no economic system that purely represents socialism or capitalism. So you will find a different combination of both socialism and capitalism in any nation that you are examining.
ASSIGNMENT: You have four tasks for your initial post. In order to present an organized post, address each one of these tasks in a separate paragraph and in the following order. Your first task is to articulate the economic system (or combination of characteristics of both socialism and capitalism) that such laws depict. Your second task is to examine the laws that either support or limit the operations by Uber. Your third task is to analyze how your findings from your first and second tasks affect Uber. And your fourth task is to present your moral position with regard to Uber. For this latter task, you will need to identify one of the three ethical theories covered in the Week 1 (utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics) as support for the moral position that you are taking. For example, you may hold the moral position that Uber is morally justifiable because it provides a good for consumers that fills in a gap that had not been met by the taxi industry. Or you may take the position that Ubers positioning in the market is morally wrong.
Friedman, M. (1970, September 13). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits (Links to an external site.). New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://umich.edu/~thecore/doc/Friedman.pdf
Friedman presents a two-part clarification of what we may understand as social responsibility. The first part states that the responsibility of business is to its shareholders by using its resources to increase profits. Most stop here and assume that Friedman is advocating an ethics of egoism. But the important second part is that Friedman argues that business must be bound by the law and rules of honesty and decency toward others.
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Smith, J. W. (2015). The Uber-all economy (Links to an external site.). Market News, 49(6), 26. Retrieved from http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_20_03_10_smith.pdf
This article outlines the characteristics of the Uber business model.
Steinmetz, K. (2015, June 17). Why the California ruling on Uber should frighten the sharing economy (Links to an external site.). Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/3924941/uber-california-labor-commission-ruling/
This article examines the effects of the ruling on the growing independent contractor sector.
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