University of Central Arkansas economics professor (and GMU Econ alum) Jeremy Horpedahl surveys the blogosphere and discovers that normally vocal left-leaning economists are mostly silent about Uber and Lyft (and, when they do comment upon this remarkable example of creative destruction, they’re not enthusiastic). He reports his findings in the latest issue of Econ Journal Watch. Here’s the abstract:
In recent years several new ‘transportation network companies’ (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, have emerged, competing with traditional taxicabs. In most U.S. cities, taxicab markets operate implicitly or explicitly as a cartel, and new services pose an economic challenge to them. The motivation and moral of the paper is predicated on a belief that is not defended in the paper, namely the belief that such government-created cartels are undesirable. Here I survey the coverage by economics blogs of the TNCs, with specific emphasis on whether bloggers highlight the consumer benefits from the new competition. One of the main results is that very few vocal left-leaning U.S. academic economics bloggers have had anything at all positive to say about Uber and Lyft: most are silent, some are ambivalent, and a few are outright hostile.
And speaking of that great geyser of cronyism, another of its corporate welfare queens, General Electric, has apparently been caught behaving just as you’d expect of people who fancy themselves entitled to siphon off and spend other people’s money.
My colleague Bryan Caplan explains why libertarians insist that people put their money where their mouths are – and why people who refuse to do so are generally unworthy of being taken seriously. A slice:
Or imagine a proponent of the minimum wage conceding, “There’s a 30% chance that the minimum wage actually hurts the poor by increasing unemployment. But there’s a 70% chance that wage gains outweigh the disemployment effects, so we should totally throw the dice.” That’s not how friends of the minimum wage talk. Instead, they’ll declare something like, “Every hard-working Americans deserves to earn a decent wage, and the minimum wage ensure that every hard-working American gets the decent wage he deserves.”
(Which reminds me: No one has yet taken Mike Long up on his generous offer to help launch a business to seize the available profits that are implied by those who claim that monopsony power is such a real and large presence in the market for low-skilled labor that governments are justified in imposing minimum-wage regulations. Mike’s offer remains open, but so far no one whose mouth claims the existence of monopsony power is confident enough in the claim to put his or her own money on it. Such people remain content to gamble only with the well-being of low-skilled workers.)