Posts by BenWilson

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  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    think the government must be wondering why they let Uber break all the rules in the first place.

    I'm surprised that they're not worried it will blow up in their faces. They're already extremely vulnerable in being seen to tolerate corporate malfeasance, and encouraging back room deals. This organization is openly crooked. Avowedly, even. It has to be incredibly embarrassing to admit to having been in constant dialog with them.

    At this point, they could act decisively to reign Uber in, directly. Very directly, the way the NZ government can. To not be doing that is extremely weak. Indeed, considering that Uber's law violation is also anticompetitive to NZ based alternatives, several of which already exist, and several more are on the verge of launching. It's not even the vaunted Free Market Saves All in place here. It's corporate favouritism, and open tolerance of large scale law breaking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    That million is profit, btw, not turnover, which is much, much higher. At an average of $500/week per driver, and around 2000 drivers, gives weekly turnover of a million. This organization could be churning 50 million in NZ annually, and paid around $10,000 in income tax and the drivers get far less than the minimum wage, and the organization encourages all of them to blatantly break the law. Not one law. More like 5 at a time, every trip.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    I wonder how they're going to compete with a company that pays only 1% tax?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to Alfie,

    They’re more likely follow ideology and hold some sort of psuedo-review which recommends removing all restrictions on taxis.

    They already are doing a review. This is being done BY the National Government. Uber's submission is particularly interesting. It is brief, and it proposes a trial in Christchurch.

    The summary paper has a useful index at the bottom to see what is recommended by the reviewers after this lengthy consultation with stakeholders and due process being followed. My summary is that very little changes regarding Uber drivers. They lose the annoying PSL requirement, and that's about it. They'll still need P Endorsement, COF, log books. As Uber required when I signed up (less the PSL).

    So Uber decided that they'd just do the trial that they proposed. And in April they declared it a success and rolled it out for the whole nation.

    In essence, they ignored the review's recommendations, initiated by National, run by National. They also are ignoring the fact that the review is still ongoing, and that the law has not yet changed. They're following their own laws, which don't even resemble what they laws will change to. And this is happening right under the nose of National, right in their face. On a massive scale, right now. In the three biggest cities, with thousands of drivers and millions of rides, and millions of dollars changing hands, flowing to people without the right to work in many cases, and the profits are all flowing out of the country.

    It's possibly the biggest pisstake of National I've ever experienced. As I said before it's "National, come here! Sit! Stay! Good dog!"

    ETA: I don't know if the dog is getting a tasty snack for being so good. I suspect that it's such a well trained dog that it doesn't even need that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    Also, goforit, I'm extremely personally resistant to the climate of fear that is encouraged by a corporation like Uber. The early formation of our association disgusted me even more than the changes did. We literally huddled like frightened children in the dark (I have photos), searching for spies and traitors, blocking people and turning on one another. We've managed to get past that. It's a long process, but I think in many ways, the slow build is the sustainable build. I doubt espionage/treachery is a serious threat for us, because open societies just don't give it anywhere to sink its teeth. Information is the enemy of all of that - such is my belief anyway, and more people are buying it every day.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    I have to admit I am surprised you have not been deactivated by Uber, most of us earlier drivers got deactivated just telling them The Transport Act needed to be followed.

    I'm very highly rated, and have had exactly one complaint, which was just about navigation (the rider put in the wrong destination, but did verbally tell me to go to Mt Eden station. No one, not even Google, knows where Mt Eden station is :-)). They would have no excuse to deactivate me other than a deliberate assault on my freedom of speech. I think they're too smart for that, that they know that it would actually free me up to work on the association even more, and give me a martyr like hubris. Best to just ignore me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The war is still with us,

    I first heard about Hard News because of the impending war. I asked a friend who was more net-savvy (read: had a lot more spare time on his hands) than I, if there was anyone writing anything that made sense about this debacle in this country, so pathetic was the mainstream media reporting. Hard News was high on his list of go-tos for sensible journalistic opinion on it. I think I pretty much gave up on MSM opinion pieces on that day. MSM is now something that I read/watch/listen to only for strictly factual detail – anything that is not a statement of something that actually happened is something I don’t even read/watch/listen to. It’s been extraordinary to find myself in MSM recently, since I barely partake of it myself. I find out about it from other people, and don’t feel that enthusiastic when I do. I still rate ten times higher than a media interview a simple engagement from a committed good faith commentator. In that discourse comes the soul of rational thought. In clips and soundbites comes the destruction of it.

    So this site, with it’s long and consistent deconstruction of the predictable and disgusting intervention in the Middle East, has been a great thing, a rare thing, an important thing. In my opinion. From that backbone comes the many other cool things that it has built, the other interesting authors, a community with a soul.

    I was there protesting when 15 million people protested against the US invasion of Iraq in a single coordinated demonstration of rejection. I felt how powerless we’d become in that way, and it was a very alarming feeling indeed. Organizing truly effective protest takes a lot more than that. I don’t know what the future of progressive movements is. The only hope I really have is that another thing that happened in the 10 years since, the move from fringe to outright dominance of Linux and Wikipedia in their respective spaces, has the seeds of the future of human organization and work in it.

    If we must work for free, at least we could work on what is righteous. The vast bulk of people can’t afford to, but those who can, should. To that end, I applaud you, Russell, for working on at least keeping some of the record straight on Iraq. It's a huge job, your contributions a tiny piece of the global picture. But it still helps, it was still worthwhile, however little you got paid for any of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…, in reply to goforit,

    Ben you have only been in the industry for about 4 months give a thought to the men and women who have keep the industry going for most of there working lives and there been some really hard times to cope with.

    It's quite a battle in the association I'm helping to build to convince members that the taxi industry is not our enemy, but in fact our friend, compatriots. It's hard because Uber have so effectively framed what is going on as an outright war against taxis. I don't see it as helpful to buy into this mentality. It is an old tool in the capitalist playbook to keep workers at odds with each other. I'm certain that the price drop was timed to coincide with the compliance drop for this exact reason. It was to tear worker cohesion apart. It has worked, to some degree. But with monolithic efforts by a small but growing group, there is at least some sense of common purpose being formed. It's extremely unfamiliar territory for me, but no one else was putting up their hand, and I became basically ashamed of my country, and decided that it had to be done, and despite it costing me dearly, it was a cost I was prepared to wear, at least for some time.

    So have no doubt that I spare a thought for the taxi industry. I'm being assisted by it on a daily basis. Your contributions here are also coming from there and I'm hearing them. A very large body of the driver base are also taxi drivers. In the end, there is a common purpose.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    I guess we have to have these battles over and over. The giant experiment that was already conducted by people perverting Nietzsche godwins any debate, and Godwin has thus perhaps unwittingly released the cat among the pigeons (for so the Ubermensch see the Untermensch).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    If this is what they think, then their organization could be viewed as a vast experiment in this philosophy, and the outcomes of it can be viewed directly in the disgusting lack of an "affinity of friendship" that they have ever displayed to their "driver partners", and the way in which they have made work for them much more onerous, and how "transvaluation" here is synonymous with "devaluation".

    But lets not get philosophical here. If any director wants to wax philosophical with me they might find they've picked a farting match with a skunk.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9922 posts Report Reply

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