How to tame Uber

Norwegian opinion piece in Klassekampen. Translated using Google Translate.

Erna Solberg told VG January 7 that she saw more opportunities than problems with sharing economy, as taxi service Uber and hotel service Airbnb. She further said that prohibition is not the solution. This was good news. The question now is where the limit should be set on this scale from the current fair game ban.

Regulator set traditionally in contrast to innovation. Innovation moves fast and is disruptive; it disturbs and challenges existing markets. Little regulation provides thus more innovation and drives society forward.

But it is not said that regulation is the opposite of innovation, and therefore only an evil. Regulation is society’s recognition that innovation is a good idea, and that it must now be adjusted to fit into our society. Just as the expected maturity of we are the youth of swift change until we step into the adult ranks, is regulating society’s way of accepting innovation into society ranks.

So I am, in spite of being technology optimist positive to regulate the sharing economy. Now comes the time to reduce the sharing economy’s weaknesses and to help its forces through regulation.

I think it is therefore now important not to use the old mindset, but creating new rules, adapted to the weaknesses and strengths of the sharing economy.

New York State was facing the same regulation problem with digital currency Bitcoin and adopted in autumn their “BitLicense.” In assessing how the regulation has worked, it is generally agreed that they took too well and regulated too hard. Instead of a nature reserve, it was created a zoological garden with chains and concrete.

Today Bitcoin-startups in New York gone bankrupt or moved to another state. Without license is Bitcoins illegal to use for residents and businesses in New York, which means that the greatest innovation in finance at many hundreds of years, and Wall Street, the financial industry’s stronghold, is torn apart, which in turn stagnates development.

The key is to agree on what’s innovation strengths, and how we can facilitate the further development of it. Put another way – to what extent sharing economy should be regulated. We must not be tempted to recycle old father famous clothes and pull them over this innovation.

Currently we have just witnessed the sharing economy’s first phase. It is important to let it grow freely, at least partially, and not fall for the temptation to regulate the murder for the benefit of the familiar and safe. I rather think we are served by stepping up regulation as we see how innovation evolves, and think it is unfortunate if we now say that “Uber’s taxi and Airbnb’s hotel. All the rules are the same, and there are no exceptions. ”

Are we holding steady hand, may sharing economy flourish and live side by side with the markets we know today.


Anxiety about the future

Norwegian opinion piece in Klassekampen. Translated using Google Translate.

It is short between debates about sharing economy currently. The discussion is important, but it is spread much confusion. A good example is Svein Moss remark to me in class struggle yesterday, where he claimed that sharing economy “is a way to put the underground economy […] in the system.”

Hans Christian Holte, Director of Tax Administration, said on NRK debate Thursday following about this statement: “The answer is very simple: This site does not differ from the other parts of the economy.” Holte stated that since all payments done digitally, it’s easy to gain insight into your earnings.

Rather than speculate on whether the driver taxes, I hope we can use the time to discuss the more interesting aspect of the question: what does it take society forward? Where would we, and how can we regulate the sharing economy to get there?

Mossige alleges that Uber phenomenon is not innovative in itself. Said the same technology pessimists in his time about the introduction of e-mail. They could not at that time understand how it could be possible to deliver mail for $ 0, – or why it would be necessary at all. Today we know that the international productivity gains over the last 30 years would have been impossible without the Internet.

Private Cars standstill 95 percent of the time, and here we are offered a new phenomenon that gives the dead time value – that simply creates value outbred nothing. This in turn makes it possible to produce fewer cars. Sharing economy is about creating value, where it previously was not any. It is thus possible to increase the nation’s GDP, without new acquisitions. To not recognize solutions such as innovation, such Mossige do, do not change the debate – it limits only the ability to see all the possibilities.

Having said that, I mean not sharing economy first companies are not blameworthy. There are many problems, that US companies can dictate wages and working conditions in Norway. The challenge is to devise regulations that safeguard the rights labor movement has worked out, while simultaneously creating a space where sharing economy can flourish. The country manages to find this balance, will have a springboard into the future.

Perhaps the Norwegian model be the perfect foundation for regulating the sharing economy. Then labor movement stop letting the right side set the agenda and instead join the debate and shape the sharing economy’s life.