Saturday, 10 May 2014


Jobs are constantly being created and destroyed in a free market. Its a continuous process, human labor being automated with the jobs being redeployed into some other line of work. There's also new business models that are spawn to challenge convention. Decades ago car workers didn't like the sound of automation so mobilised their unions to try and stop the progress of humanity. In countries like the UK they hampered innovation but they could never win. Germany for example embraced robotics during the 70's and 80's and eventually the UK car companies collapsed as they had fallen so far behind. Instead of maybe mild job redeployments it was a complete collapse of the industry. It would take foreign car companies to come into the UK until the jobs reappeared at which point the companies said "This is the way we make cars now".

The taxi business is rife for innovation. Black cabs have had it too easy for too long and entrepreneurial individuals have noticed there is room for competition. Applications such as Lyft and Uber are giving consumers and businesses increased choice of how to travel and generally lower the costs for us all. The concept is to use peoples cars as the taxis and lower the barriers of entry into the sector. Of course black cabs are not best pleased as their relative monopoly is being challenged. Is it the moral role of society to protect these jobs? Of course not, for if it was we would all still be living in caves. People got to where they are as the most dominant and prosperous species on the planet by constantly innovating and finding new way to do things more efficiently. 

During the industrial revolution the Luddites used to smash the factories that were popping up all over the country. Their logic? No one would have any jobs as the mills would do all the tasks many were used to doing manually. Instead what happened was a golden age in human history. Prior to this time, wealth had remained fairly static, then along came the industrial revolution and changed all that.

Those who abandoned the mills suffered. Those who embraced them, prospered. The West got ahead of everyone else because it embraced individualism, the challenge to authority and had the conditions for economic freedom.

In the long run Cabbies should embrace changes. They should adapt to the new methods and techniques to secure their jobs. If they don't then they will have to find new lines of work.

It won't be long until driver less cars will be a common sight and I suspect my daughter may never need to learn to drive if I decide to shell out for one. Taxi drivers won't even be required at this point as the automation continues. Should we be fearful? Would you fear much cheaper fees and a car tracking system all automated so it can efficiently send a car out to pick you up? The Taxi drivers will move into other lines of work; for the job destroyed ten more will be created. We don't need to protect jobs, in a true free market jobs are always abundant and we need to automate as many laborious tasks as we possibly can.

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