May 2018Spectacle

Good Reads for May 2018

Ridesharing Versus Public Transit. As ridesharing services offered by Uber, Lyft and other companies seize an increasing share of the transportation market, they not only are taking business from traditional taxi companies but from public transportation as well, as detailed in an article in Spring 2018’s “The American Prospect.” The popularity of Uber, the dominant rideshare provider, is attributable in part to its prices, usually well below taxi prices and sometimes competitive with transit. The reason, writes Steven Hill in the “Prospect,” is that Uber subsidizes half of every fare “to mount a predatory pricing war and drive off the competition.” But Uber’s competitors are not the only victims – the growth of rideshare in general is adding more vehicles to streets in metropolitan areas, contributing to congestion and air pollution. They also are drawing riders and revenue from public transit systems, many of which were already in financial straits. As a remedy, Hill proposes a number of ridesharing reforms, including a limit on the number of rideshare cars, a ban on fare subsidies, and requirements that the companies meet the same requirements as taxi companies.

Trump’s Steel Tariffs. A dialogue in the May issue of “In These Times” offers a range of views from the Left on Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW), argues that the tariffs will protect the jobs of US steelworkers and have a minimal negative impact on the overall economy. Tobita Chow of the People’s Lobby takes exception, fearing that “protectionism can inadvertently lead to xenophobia” and that there must be a “shared interest in creating a new global economic order that works better for all poor and working people.” Katy Fox-Hodess of the University of Sheffield maintains that the support by USW and the AFL-CIO for the tariffs undercuts labor’s historic commitment to international solidarity, citing the views of the United Electrical union that “American workers need . . . a trade and industrial policy that is based on international cooperation, respect for workers’ rights and environmental sustainability—one that raises living standards for workers across industries and across borders.”

Mercantile capitalism vs. imperialism with capitalist characteristics: from The Guardian

Tech workers have lots of labor power, more than most, and should organize – from the New York Times (?!).

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