Reading Ed’s rant about Uber (UberX more aligns with what he’s discussing, as well as Lyft) and AirBnB, I can’t help but think that there are two sides to the coin, as one-sided as this article is. There is something to be said about allowing utilization of an otherwise squandered resource (a car that isn’t used more than half the time, a guest room), but Ed has a very serious point…the reason things like Lyft and AirBnB became popular was not because of the sudden demand to sleep in someone’s guest room, but rather the more serious need to squeeze more money out of your possessions, because you can’t work enough to get by.
And there’s the other issue…Lyft and AirBnB encourage higher utilization of otherwise squandered resources…when are we as a nation going to pull our heads out of our collective asses and buy fewer cars (because among the urban many don’t need them) and smaller houses (because who really needs a fucking guest room anyway)? It isn’t a good thing that median pay has barely kept up with inflation…but it’s an even worse thing that our consumption has outpaced it. And in the end, these internet services are way less economically efficient than spending money on only the house/car you actually need.
I will agree on Ed’s assessment of the Wired article, though. Once again Silicon Valley has descended into self-congratulatory masturbation over what is little more than enabling people to squeeze precious currency out of consumption culture bullshit they can’t afford. Just because it does serve an economic purpose doesn’t mean any of these people should harbor illusions that they’re making the economy better for anyone other than the already moneyed (and I say this as someone who is ostensibly one of them).