Luddite Violence

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the Paris riots against Uber are worker versus capitalist, the attacks are rentiers versus capitalists and worker versus worker.

UberParis

More pictures here.

Comments

Protests against Uber tend to be (1) those who have to follow regulations claimed to be for public safety against those who don't have to follow those regulations or (2) entrenched license holders against unlicensed competition (analogous to, e.g., doctors against nurse practitioners)

those who have to follow regulations claimed to be for public safety

Didn't save the late Prof. and Mrs. John Nash.

(1) those who have to follow regulations claimed to be for public safety against those who don’t have to follow those regulations

In America -- please tell me if France is different -- there are two distinct markets that get mushed together in people's heads.

The first is the one where you pick up people off the street who raise their hand to hail a cab.

The second is the one where someone calls a car service to come pick them up and drive them somewhere.

The first probably needs a good amount of regulation, since the consumer doesn't have much market power. (And sometimes at airports, I've had a cop directly order me to get into the next cab in line, so I really was lacking the most common market power to just say no.)

The second needs much less regulation. The consumer has contacted the car service at a fixed address, the consumer can get a price quote then and there, the consumer can hang up the phone and call the next one in the Yellow Pages.

Car services (the second market) have existed with this lower level of regulation for decades and no real problem. Uber has come into this market like a juggernaut, and with technology made it very easy for consumers who might be stuck in market 1 to choose market 2 instead.

It's not that "Uber isn't following taxi regulations." It's that the taxi industry is purposefully conflating the two markets. Uber should absolutely not be picking up fares who stick their hands up to hail a cab, and AFAIK they haven't (although you can probably find a few drivers who have tried to play taxicab).

Again, if the French car service market is significantly different, and/or Uber isn't following the car service regulations, kindly let me know.

Why the taxi drivers are upset is that Uber is making it a lot easier to get a non-taxi car, making the convenience of being hailable less relevant. Good for everyone else, but bad for taxi rents.

I'm under the impression that Paris does not have that second market.

Hah! In that case Uber has created it.

Though I expect that market did already exist.

It certainly did exist. I have friends living in Paris who routinely took car services to the airport and so on. It was just smaller, more expensive, and less convenient than Uber has made it.

This is a "market scope" question, and I doubt the two markets really are that separate. I would argue (as, I imagine, would the cab drivers) that there is one market of "people who need rides," and that the UberPOP service is a close substitute for a street-hailed taxi. There may be small exceptions of people who are limited to one of those services (e.g., people without smartphones, or people who can't get to a street where they can hail a taxi), but the overwhelming majority can choose whichever they find offers the best price/service. Thus, there is competition for this large pool of riders between taxis and Uber.

There are some instances where defining the scope of a market is tricky (e.g, if a cigarette-manufacturer can't get cellophane to wrap their cigarette boxes in, is Saran Wrap an acceptable substitute?), but this case seems a pretty cut-and-dry example of a single market.

No the French market is no different

No, they need the same amount of regulation. You are confusing how you acquire the service with the service itself.

LOL

(1) is a smoke screen tat only the most foolish of liberals buys. Maybe I should say all liberals buy.
(2) this is, of course, what is going on.

You forgot the links. And you forgot to reformat the photo size.

He also forgot to point out that Uber's service is pretty much illegal in France -

'France's highest administrative court on Friday approved two out of three main restrictions on private chauffeured vehicle services such as Uber that were introduced last year after complaints from traditional cab drivers of unfair competition.

Uber, an online service that links its drivers with passengers through a smartphone app, claimed a victory in its challenge to the regulations because the court decided to allow it to charge by the kilometer (mile) instead of giving a price at the moment of booking.

But the French taxi drivers' organization UNT said the court had "confirmed the illegality of Uber's practices" and called on the government to shut down Internet applications that do not conform to the rules.

France's constitutional council said drivers of private chauffeured vehicles must return to their bases after dropping off a customer, or await new fares from a parking lot, upholding a ban on them driving around looking for new clients.

It also backed the restrictions on apps like Uber's that indicate to potential clients on their smartphones both the location of nearby drivers and their availability.' http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/22/us-france-taxis-idUSKBN0O70TV20150522

And do note that even what Uber claims as a victory means that Uber's version of demand pricing is not legal in France.

The even more amusing thing is that how Uber continues to blatantly ignore the law in a number of European countries, and yet Prof. Tabarrok is seemingly surprised when rampant criminality and self-serving justification on the part of Uber leads to vigilante actions. For example, after a German court banned UberPOP, 'Uber said it regretted the Frankfurt District Court's decision, saying it represented a "fundamental infringement of our ability under European law to establish and provide a service" - http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31942997

In other words, if Uber doesn't get its way, then the problem is with the people blocking Uber from getting its way. Unsurprisingly, that includes locals who are blatantly fed up with a foreign company ignoring their nation's legal system.

> rampant criminality and self-serving justification on the part of Uber leads to vigilante actions

Vigilantism is illegal. We may give it a pass when police is unresponsive to serious crimes. But it's hardly reasonable or defensible to have vigilante taxi drivers attacking unlicensed taxis.

'Vigilantism is illegal.'

As is what Uber insists is its right to do in a number of European countries, not only France or Germany.

'But it’s hardly reasonable or defensible to have vigilante taxi drivers attacking unlicensed taxis.'

Yet oddly, when a court in France or Germany declares unlicensed taxis illegal, Uber maintains it has the right to break the law. Somehow, it seems as if it is often forgotten, at least in American narratives, who is blatantly breaking the law first. The vigilantes would not exist if Uber simply complied with numerous court judgments - but then, Uber has no interest in following any legal judgment which stands in the way of its profits.

It seems you are completely missing the point or do not understand what vigilantism is? Basically you are saying you support vigilantism and it's fine for citizens to illegally attack other people who are doing illegal things, even if the illegal thing is only violating a regulation. By the way it is not clear at all that Uber is not legally allowed to operate.

Well, what I actually said is that if some foreign entity blatantly ignores legal decisions, it should not be surprised at the whatever reaction local entities respond with. In Germany, that has been an extremely strict banning of UberPOP (much stricter than if Uber had merely accepted the first court decision - and if Uber is really stupid enough to continue to challenge the German legal system through illegal actions, they might just discover what a nation that believes in its legal system does to those who don't respect its decisions).

In France, a place famous for having citizens who consider French interests to be much higher than any interest of anyone not French, the idea of street protests, up to property destruction, is not exactly a surprise. And if Uber had merely followed French law, eminently preventable.

So, entrepreneur does new thing X.
Establishment doesn't like how new thing X undercuts them.
Establishment requests X be made illegal.
Government bans X.
Entrepreneur now says, WTH? This was legal yesterday.
Establishment goes on rampage.
Establishment blames entrepreneur post hoc for establishment's actions.

You know, blaming someone else for your actions is what abusers do, every day.

what I actually said is that if some foreign entity blatantly ignores legal decisions, it should not be surprised at the whatever reaction local entities respond with

Who is actually ignoring those legal decisions? OTHER GERMANS.
It's actual Germans who are signing up as drivers and hailing said drivers. All Uber is doing is providing a communication medmium that allows customers to communicate with said drivers easily.

Clearly, if UberPop continues to operate illegally, it is only because actual German people support it's doing so.

Rioting by the French over increased market competition is as French as a baguette. If Valls has the balls, there will be more riots.

Haha only a liberal would attempt to make an equivalence between a free exchange between two parties and assault.

Please, continue talking liberal.

I beg your pardon. The French LOVE Uber, new competition and lower prices.
Making baguette doesn't make us any different than Brittons or Texans.
The French establishment, on the other hand...

Making baguette doesn’t make us any different than Brittons or Texans.

Except you get more action in spite of your hygiene issues. I've never figured that one out.

Germany is good, America is evil. Therefore German vigilantism good, American vigilantism bad, except for Nazi's who were probably American or at least Republicans.

Americans are bad when they fire you for cause 25 years ago.

Have you ever agreed with anything written in this blog? Are you capable of agreeing with anything?

Sure, I agree with you. And as for agreeing with anything at this web site - hell, I basically didn't agree with anything I was paid to write at the GMU PR dept., at least when it came to things like IHS or S. Fred Singer, or radon testing (oops - that last one has nothing to do with the econ dept.). It isn't as if somehow the GMU econ dept. or the law and economics faculty have changed their beliefs in the last couple of decades - making them as worthy of mockery now as they were then, when we only did it among ourselves in the Fenwick Library offices.

And living in Germany makes it easy to provide real world counterexamples to the narratives so often presented here, while having the luxury of not actually caring about what happens where I used to live - a real advantage of being able to shift countries, as I'm sure both Profs. Cowen and Tabarrok would agree.

The last time Europeans smashed in windows to uphold the rights of locals over "money-grubbing outsiders", it was in your country, Germany.

Might be a slight exaggeration to compare this to Kristallnacht but I understand the sentiment.

Except those Nazi window smashers claimed they were attacking an entrenched rentier class who were preventing progress and preventing normal citizens from competing fairly. Sound familiar?

"Unsurprisingly, that includes locals who are blatantly fed up with a foreign company ignoring their nation’s legal system."

Unsurprisingly, that includes privileged locals who are angry at a company allowing non-privileged customers to avoid paying ransom to the privileged group.

Just wondering if the assumption that the legal system is always right is right. I have lived in a communist country; I personally prefer to establish that the law is just before judging the people who ignore it.

'Unsurprisingly, that includes privileged locals who are angry at a company allowing non-privileged customers to avoid paying ransom to the privileged group.'

So, let's go into a bit more detail into that German Uber banning decision -

'A German court has slapped Uber with a nationwide ban on its ride-sharing app Uberpop – again.

The ruling means the app is no longer allowed, as it enables users to be ferried around by drivers who do not hold the requisite professional licences – a requirement under German law.

The company's other services are still permitted.

The ban follows a temporary injunction against the firm in September, in a case brought by German taxi operator Taxi Deutschland.

Last year, the court said drivers breaking the ban could face fines of up to €250,000 per trip.' http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/19/german_court_slaps_down_uber_licence_app/

Do note that Uber ignored the first decision, which is why the court decided to impose a fine of a quarter euros per trip if Uber continued to ignore a German court's ruling concerning whether it could legally provides services through its app.

'quarter million euros,' of course.

If we see you speed should slash your tires when you stop?

Uber's strategy has been to ignore initial bans as far as possible. The idea is that that if they manage to operate long enough for users to enjoy their service then the politicians may be afraid to take away the new service that is almost universally better, cheaper, and more convenient than what aws provided by the entrenched, regulated taxi systems. This seems to have been effective in many places (including the city where I live).

'The idea is that that if they manage to operate long enough for users to enjoy their service then the politicians may be afraid to take away the new service that is almost universally better, cheaper, and more convenient than what aws provided by the entrenched, regulated taxi systems.'

Oddly enough, in both France and Germany, it seems to be a way to get into ever more trouble, both legal and exta-legal. Maybe politicians in France and Germany are less easily bought by people operating illegal operations?

"Maybe politicians in France and Germany are less easily bought by people operating illegal operations?"

I think you've got that backwards -- maybe politicians in France and Germany are more completely bought and paid for by the incumbent transport unions?

Uber and Lyft here (in Ann Arbor) didn't beat the regulators because they contributed money to anybody (they didn't), but because once college students in town found they could reliably get Uber/Lyft rides home from the bars at 2AM (instead of interminable waits for taxis), they would have raised holy hell if the city council and taxi commission had continued going after the ride-sharing services. The politicians in the pocket of the taxi cartel really wanted to shut down Uber and Lyft, but they no longer dared to do so for fear of public backlash.

'maybe politicians in France and Germany are more completely bought and paid for by the incumbent transport unions'

There is no taxi union in Germany, though unsurprisingly, there is a business group that represents its own interests (a business group, not a union). And strangely enough, German politicians seem to consider the interests of Germans to be more imporant than those of some foreign entity that cannot even bother to follow German law.

As for French politicans - well, they could care less about anyone who isn't French.

"...the interests of Germans to be more imporant than those of some foreign entity that cannot even bother to follow German law."

I know it's difficult for you, but try looking at it from the point of view of the interests of *consumers* if only for a minute.

So far, the closest I've come to dying in my life was in a cab with a sleepy driver who nearly drove right into a stopped car in the breakdown lane on an expressway. If we hadn't screamed at him from the back seat, we'd all be dead. Uber and Lyft provide a fundamentally better service -- not just cheaper and more convenient -- but bad drivers get poor ratings and are drummed out of the system, and when you use the app, you know who you are getting and how they're rated.

The interest of those few Germans in the the taxi industry rather than those Germans that use taxis or other Germans that would also like to be in the car service industry.

"I know it’s difficult for you, but try looking at it from the point of view of the interests of *consumers* if only for a minute."

I've said this before, I'll say it again.

In America, the customer is always right. In Germany, the expert is always right.

And strangely enough, German politicians seem to consider the interests of Germans to be more imporant than those of some foreign entity

You mean the interests of *some* Germans, over the interest of *other* Germans. Presumably, both the drivers of UberPop and it's customers are both mainly composed of Germans. Uber wouldn't be in the market if it didn't have drivers signing up and customers using it's app.

Germans have always valued obeying the "law" over liberty. Got them into trouble more than once.

57% of Paris taxi cabs belong to one company whose founder - André Rousselet - was one of President Mitterand counsels. The G7 company is completely wired to the French administration and government.
Yes French politicians do not always work to improve the general population's welfare...They do like imcubents with money and powerful network of relationships.

"The ruling means the app is no longer allowed, as it enables users to be ferried around by drivers who do not hold the requisite professional licences – a requirement under German law."

Which is not the case in France. It's not a problem of not having a professional licence - it's a problem of not having a taxi licence.

Which brings us back to... "I personally prefer to establish that the law is just before judging the people who ignore it.". You seem to recite the law, but not establish that the law is just. Is ignoring unjust law really bad?

Ah, so this time the Luddites have the policy makers on their side, which justifies property damage. That's how that works I guess?

Only if they are smashing property and injuring people who do not agree with liberal dogma.

Otherwise they would be racists or the libera slur de jour.

"criminality"

I hope that you never speed or break any other laws. Speed is at least dangerous and so should be against the law, but giving people rides for money? Look with user ranking the laws in question are obsolete. And Uber and like services should over time reducing the non working owner's take and overhead making it a better deal for the drivers.

Unsurprisingly, that includes locals who are blatantly fed up with a foreign company ignoring their nation’s legal system.

Which locals?
It seems to me there are a fair number of other locals who not at all fed up at Uber and are showing it by continuing to use UberPop. That goes for BOTH the drivers (who are presumably "locals"), and their customers. Do you think UberPop survives purely on tourist dollars?

Why should the government favor a certain group of people who benefit from the current regulatory system over both their competition and their customers?
Or does only violence and rioting in the street deserve consideration?

" locals who are fed up"

It's right that they should smash people's windows to uphold The Law.

Vigilante action in the name of The Law has also happened in your country, Germany, in the past.

"Vigilante action"

Often by the authorities themselves!

Isn't it just one set of people who obey the law frustrated by people who are not obeying the law attacking their livelihoods?

Would the consumer benefit from removing the taxi monopoly? Does the law makes sense?

I'm pretty sure if you ask actual French consumers the majority will support banning Uber.

What about a scheme where those who don't support Uber can use taxis, and those who support Uber can use it?

You mean, a system in which people would be allowed to choose what services they purchase and which services they do not purchase?

I don't think that's legal in France.

Nice in theory, but obviously that would never work in practice, because... hmmm...

lol XD i see what you did there

You mean a "free market" where competitors play by different rules? What could go wrong?

Uber is likely following the car service laws.

Uber isn't following the taxi laws about picking up people who raise their hand to grab a cab, but they aren't offering that service so they don't have to follow those laws.

There are two different markets. It's confusing, probably even to the taxi drivers, because taxis have dominated both markets, but they only have regulatory protection for one of them.

Uber propaganda cascading from people's mouths and you never know if it's ignorance or 20% off their next trip..

I've never taken Uber. The one time I tried the app refused to load and I didn't have time for that nonsense so I went out to hail a taxi the old-fashioned way. The first one I hailed drove off, making a rude gesture with his hand, when he heard I wanted to go to LaGuardia.

What laws do you think Uber isn't following that it should follow based on its market? What regulations are there that companies like http://www.autoeurope.com/go/chauffeur-services/france/ follow that Uber isn't following?

The express bus from Jackson Heights is fast and reliable, and would probably get you there as fast as a taxi.

I've never used Uber on principal. Not because of this stuff, but because the founder is an asshole.

An alternative is Curb, an app/service that allows you to order a licensed taxi. I've found it to be very efficient, though I've not had to use it in a congestion situation such as at a stadium after a concert or football game.

Yes. It is just that. Comment section here is typically a neoliberal circlejerk.

When you don't have an argument, just call someone a neoliberal. Works every time.

Gb2 Krugman which is completely so not Democrat echo chamber.

Yet it seems as if it's only the "petit rentiers", the small fry, that are getting their rice bowls smashed. We decry union labor, and taxi drivers, and teachers for having a modicum of job and retirement security, but the calls for increased competition never seem to come for the lawyers and the doctors and the George Mason tenured professors. And god forbid we have a competing financial system that might deprive wall street of its summers in the Hamptons.

I understand where you are coming from, but the comparisons don't strike me as being very accurate. If I fail to get hired by my favorite law firm (or fail to make partner), I can go join a different law firm, or start my own. If I want to be a doctor, I will get a license as long as I prove my chops; there is no limit to the number of licenses that can be handed out as far as I know. If I fail to get tenure in George Mason, I can go try my luck at a different university or college. My alternatives aren't limited by law, and it is very unlikely that I will be physically attacked by a tenured professor should I get hired in a different faculty. When it comes to unionized taxi services, it seems the insiders do want to limit options available to outsiders and protect their turf. If you are concerned about the job and retirement security of the existing taxi drivers, what about the lost opportunities of those would would be private taxi operators but are prevented from doing so?

Hmmmm. Don't know of many western jurisdictions that allow all and sundry to practice at the bar, sign off on audits, give medical advice or write prescriptions.

You are right, but that's not what I was saying. It is perfectly fine for society to set standards its professionals must meet. What is problematic is society (or some subset) limiting the number of people who are allowed to practice a particular profession. If laws are framed mandating taxi drivers to obtain some kind of certification above and beyond their drivers' licenses, that's fine and ought to be imposed on Uber drivers too. If Uber drivers are already obeying the mandatory requirements a taxi driver must fulfill, there are really no grounds to stop them from plying their trade. There are no laws I am aware of that limit the number of doctors or lawyers or professors, just that meeting the required standards is quite hard. as I mentioned above, there is nothing (theoretically) stopping a wannabe lawyer or doctor or professor from setting up their own practices, and such entrepreneurs will not be picketed by those already gainfully employed.

The restrictions on the number of doctors is not the number of licenses. Rather it is the number of spaces in medical school.

Actually, in Germany, it is neither. Basically, it is those who are 'niedergelassen' by the Krankenkassen that are generally able to make a living from practicing medicine. At least according to at least three doctors I know personally, plus a doctor who is employed by a Krankenkasse to accept or refuse various medical treatment decisions - he finds it more profitable to not practice medicine. But then, Germany tends to have a lot of doctors - this town of 6,000 has three, plus two dentists.

German text explaining the arrangement - https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kassenärztliche_Vereinigung

And the number of residency slots. Which means that the supply of MDs in the U.S. really can't be increased by immigrant doctors, since they must repeat residency in the U.S. -- and there aren't even enough residency positions available for new medical school graduates:

http://fortune.com/2013/04/01/medical-students-confront-a-residency-black-hole/

Fuck residencies. Doctors are the only people in the world who can't profitably train new members of the profession even when they are forced to work like slaves for four years? The government has to pay for this? Or is this an excuse for the AMA to maintain its cartel prices?

Agreed. And also stop forcing foreign immigrant docs to go through U.S. residency.

Yeah, public spirited teachers just want a modicum of security, poor dears:

http://www.breitbart.com/california/2015/05/02/nor-cal-classrooms-denied-as-tax-dollars-feed-400-teacher-pensions-over-100000/

What is the maximum appropriate pension for teachers living in the most expensive area of the question?

Good question. What do you think? Social Security tops out at around $30,000 per year at age 65, a bit more than $40,000 if you work to age 70.

That's what 12.4% of pay for a full career buys.

What age are these teachers retiring at?

Remember, these are not greedy money-grubbers like in the private sector. This is the soul of the Democratic Party we are talking about.

It's not like they don't have unheard-of gold-plated medical benefits too.

Short answer: quite a bit less than $100,000.

What do you think the number is?

I spent some time talking to a retired California teacher while vacationing in Utah. He didn't live there, though, or in CA either -- he was a Nevada resident so he could enjoy the lack of state income tax and Harry Reid was his political hero because (according to this guy), Reid was responsible for the federal legislation that made it possible to avoid paying CA income taxes on his pension when he moved out of CA. We got talking about his pension, and I asked him how much he thought it would cost to buy an annuity that paid as much (with COLA increases, survivorship rights, and medical benefits as well). He got a funny smile and said that when he was in college he was the dummy in ed school and his smart friends were engineers, but in retirement he was doing much better than all of them -- so who's the dummy now? He had at least an inkling that his retirement package was worth a couple million bucks or more.

modicum: a small portion.

Whatever the market will bear once there is a free market in education.

Complaints from whom? It's not as if libertarian opinion-mongers and academics have nothing to say about occupational licensure. As for Republican politicians, the faculty Bourbons in Wisconsin are up in arms over proposals to remove the legal architecture of tenure from state statutes (there is still an avenue for retaining tenure as a matter of administrative policy).

"lawyers and the doctors"

Oh come now there is much more complaining about the MD monopoly than any other and lawyers are second.

I decry all of these people for forcibly preventing others from pursuing a career of their choice.

Why are the interests of those excluded from the system never considered? Why are a taxi driver's interests more worthy of consideration than a would-be taxi driver's? Or a practicing lawyer's interests more important than an aspiring lawyer's?

Disclosure: I lover Uber because one app works around the world. I used it a lot in Paris for Ascension day weekend. The language barrier disappears and it's damned cheap, 8 euros for riding a nice MB C220 for short 3-4 kilometer trips.

Well, I need lots of popcorn. Taxi drivers did not count on terrorism acts one days after their happy grève. I'm really curious at how French people will react when they realize that taxi drivers and terrorists are ethnically the same. I'm no idiot, I know they are not the same, but on TV they look similar. One thing is supporting the protests of good old french agricultural workers against McDo and cheap imported peaches from Spain..............while a whole other thing is supporting the protests of tunisian taxi drivers.

Also, anyone knows how taxis work in Paris? Driver-owner system or one guy owns 10-20 taxis and hires drivers?

3-4 for km 8 euros? Why not walk? (unless late at night)

Well, if Axa is American (do note the point about language), the idea of walking is likely to be unattractive.

Your hatred of USAers is showing again.

Thanks for displaying your prejudice.

How much tourism in strange cities have you actually done? Yes, it's nice to explore cities on foot, but after a few days of that, one's feet are generally shot. I spent four days in New York recently, and walked from 52nd to 14th street (have no idea how many km that is), and then a few miles around Brooklyn the next day. Feet were killing me by the end of day 2, and I was wearing running shoes. And I hike a lot. If you're a tourist your walking around 8-10 hours a day, not walking a couple miles to an office and sitting down for 6 hours.

He's right, American's either sit or run. They don't walk.

Yep -- that's why there are so few national and state parks in the U.S. (and such a lack of hiking trails in those measly few parks that do exist).

Seriously, it would probably be more accurate to say that Americans walk and run (and cycle) more for recreation than transportation -- due to geography, climate, and urban/suburban infrastructure.

And those national parks are filled with Europeans hiking up and down the trails, while the Americans are driving through or eating in their cabins.

It depends on your objective. It your goal is taking photos with old buildings in the background, walking is the best alternative. If your goal is attending nice spectacles and eating at good places, why risk walking in a big city with clothes that make you stand out?

I'd like to see p_a walk 4 km in high heels as my wife in the dirty streets of Paris. Not every tourist in Paris wears hideous "comfortable" white sneakers as recommended in tourist guides.

'I’d like to see p_a walk 4 km in high heels as my wife in the dirty streets of Paris. '

I've walked more than 4 km in Paris with my German wife - but then, she wouldn't wear high heels. Jeans, American cowboy boots (bought in Fairfax City), LL Bean coat - but then, she doesn't think she stands out in Paris wearing clothes she bought in the U.S.

There might be other differences, too.

Try walking 4 miles in Paris twice a day for 4 days in a row. In cowboy boots.

For an square guy, it must be shocking that sometimes young women like to wear a shape fitting dress along jewelry and high heels. As the husband I please my wife with a suit and tie. Why don't we walk at night in the streets? Because we're Americans, that's why. English is my second language, French is the third one.

Germans have more experience walking in Paris with boots on than Americans, that is true.

Jeans, American boots, American coat, American husband.

She must be a laughingstock.

Typical dumpy continentals. Can't even be bothered to put on a decent pair of shoes. Probably go on about how out-of-shape Americans are, when their exercise regime is eating croissants, drinking coffee, and chain smoking. Add in a whole bunch, but never fast enough to get a heart rate over 100 bpm. Prior_approval probably has a low BMI, but an obese-level body fat percentage. A man with 13 inch biceps and a protruding gut telling us about how Americans are so fat.

"She must be a laughingstock." Obviously the smart one.

'Try walking 4 miles in Paris twice a day for 4 days in a row. In cowboy boots.'

Well, first it was 4 kilometers, which is more like 2 miles. Second, why wear cowboy boots (or high heels) every day? Third, Paris has this wonderful system called the Metro - walk a kilometer, take the Metro for several kilometers, walk another kilometer, then use another train system called the RER, walk a half kilometer, etc. It is pretty easy, actually - though a bit of familarity in how to use public transit helps. And the late at night part is still relevant - the Metro is not precisely a 24 hour system (about the same as DC's Metro - maybe capital cities are just more boring).

'Why don’t we walk at night in the streets? Because we’re Americans, that’s why.'

So, that whole idea of enjoying somewhere that is not filled with people scared to walk at night goes right by you, hm?

I eagerly anticipate the response of one Ray Lopez to this thread.

Because he chose not to. The end.

Who do you think you are to question others preferences?

It never rains in Paris?

Of course it rains - and it tends to make the Metro more crowded.

I liked this blog.

According to the linked article, it's not so much competition that the Parisian cab drivers object to -- it's the devaluation of their assets (taxi licences cost about $250k, not an insignificant investment). Also, I wouldn't call them "rentiers" as they actually work for a living.

This seems legit. Can't municipalities do some kind of one-time buyback of taxi medallions?

That's a point that many people refuse to acknowledge, I think. Uber is wonderful and a step up from traditional taxis, but boy did some taxi drivers get hosed after paying 250K or more for a medallion. Those enormous fees reflected the assumption that taxi drivers had to be licensed by the state and subjected to regulation. Now it turns out that the state didn't really have a monopoly granting those licenses. Perhaps a little sympathy for the taxi drivers can be expressed in between the shouts of "Luddites!"

Why? The world turns, asset prices change. And it is only just that this one did.

If they lost tens of thousands trying to buy an monopoly, then great. And if there was something good about those regulations apart from conferring monopolies, I am not hearing about it from your side of the debate.

Most medallions aren't directly owned by the taxi drivers. Believe it or not, your typical unskilled worker doesn't have a few hundred thousand in liquid assets to throw around. They're owned by exorbitantly wealthy financiers, who've already made returns far exceeding virtually any major asset class.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_M._Murstein

Why should investors in a government monopoly scheme receive compensation when a new technology disrupts the monopoly? Why wouldn't this apply to people who invested in phone, cable, electricity, etc. firms too?

The french govt should auction of the new licenses. The money generated using the auction should be redistributed to the old license holders. This compensates them for their fall in value.

The stark contrast between freedom of the market...and government regulations.

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