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Comment Re:Basic income (Score 1) 674

But, when there's absolutely no restrictions on who gets to take my money, and people say 'fuck it' and just give my money free to everyone else, it seems bizarre.

You may be familiar with this principle in its most common applications, the armed forces and the Police.

In a couple of generations, when probably upwards of 50% of the population is literally unable to work because there's nothing they can do a robot or AI can't do better/faster/cheaper, we will need the sort of societal rethink that starts with a universal basic income.

Comment Re:We'll see what Microsoft has planned (Score 1) 94

It's so strange because it's backwards compared to personal accounting. People usually want to pay off their cars or houses and live in them without a mortgage or car loan, for example. Businesses seem to want to go to software companies and say, "Please, let me pay you forever to use your software."

(In the general case...)

As an individual, you have to consider the last 10-20 years of your life where you will need to survive without an income.

As a business, you do not.

Specific to hosted vs local systems, generally speaking keeping people on staff to manage systems is expensive, with nearly no benefit vs paying for a functionally equivalent hosted system. This is simply a product of technological advancement that has made hardware incredibly cheap, internet connections cheap, fast and reliable, and people expensive.

Comment Re:So you remove their only way to make a living? (Score 1) 166

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it. The bar is not whether you're feeding many people or many many people, the bar is whether you're feeding many people. Try opening a soup kitchen and giving away food and see if you get inspected for health reasons. But nobody is going to inspect your kitchen at home unless you plan to feed the masses from it.

You don't need a commercial kitchen certification to have a party.

You do need one if your business is providing food as a service to others, even if it only serves a handful of people a day.

They key point - the "bar" - here is a business providing a service for others, not the number of attendees. To take an extreme example, a restaurant that only served one meal a day would still need appropriate commercial kitchen certification, but you could have fifty friends over for a barbecue without needing one.

Making a vehicle commercial does not increase its passenger capacity.

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it.

A commercial vehicle for hire carries a far higher number of passengers, over a far higher number of kilometres, and a far greater area. It is driving around 24/7. To argue it presents the same risk profile as a personal vehicle carrying a handful of different people a relatively short distance, driving maybe 5 hours a day at most, over a limited area, is ridiculous on its face.

Driving a taxi is more dangerous for the driver than for the passengers, statistically; they are way more likely to have a crime committed against them by you (or another passenger) than you are by them.

Indeed. I drove taxis for years, remember ?

Doesn’t change the fact that drivers can also be dangerous to passengers.

Do you propose that we pre-screen all taxi passengers for the safety of taxi drivers?

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it.

Again, the same rules should apply to all drivers whether commercial or not.

Right. So is your position is that someone with a criminal history in, say, violent theft, shouldn’t be allowed to have a driver’s license at all, or that someone with a criminal history in violent theft shouldn’t have any problems getting a job as a taxi or limo driver ?

But in this case, the taxi driver is at more risk of being killed or otherwise harmed by a passenger than the passenger is at risk of the opposite, so it's still a shitty argument here.

That's a stupid thing to say, and you're a stupid person for saying it.

Your core argument is that there is no difference - legally, ethically, or otherwise - between someone doing something (driving, cooking, watching children, whatever) in a social context, and someone doing the same thing as a business, providing a service to all and sundry. This is stupid. They haven't been considered equivalent since we lived in tribes of a few hundred people. Trying to abuse the word "sharing" to change this, does not.

Comment Re:So you remove their only way to make a living? (Score 1) 166

What? Why?

Uh, because they've now got an implied responsibility to their customers ?

Wrong. Restaurants need to meet standards that your home kitchen does not because so many people eat there.

So a small corner cafe has lower hygiene requirements than a Sizzler ?

But whether you use your car for commercial purposes or not doesn't really change how many people you can kill with it.

Yes, it does.

We make drivers of heavy vehicles or people who want to tow heavy loads get fancier driver's licenses because they can kill more people.

No, we do it because it needs a more advanced skill set.

A taxi is just a regular automobile, so it doesn't require a special driver's license. It requires a taxi license because protectionism.

It requires a taxi license (by which I'm assuming you mean driver certification) because a taxi driver has additional standards around things like background checks and (depending on jurisdiction) driving offences. Because they're providing a paid service to others who may be impacted by those things.

You see a similar condition around people who need to work with children vs people who don't. For the same kinds of reasons.

Comment Re:So you remove their only way to make a living? (Score 1) 166

They shouldn't be.

Why ? Equipment standards for selling services to others vs personal use differ in lots of places.

If vehicles are a danger to others because they are being operated more, then vehicles should be inspected when they are operated more whether they are used for commercial purposes or not. It's wrong to place that burden on someone simply because they're engaging in economic activity.

Someone providing a commercial service has a greater responsibility than someone engaging in personal use. That's why restaurants need to meet standards that your kitchen at home does not.

Comment Re:So you remove their only way to make a living? (Score 1) 166

Sure, but that's a separate problem from Uber, and one for which they should not be held responsible.

It's not a separate problem if vehicles for hire are subject to different standards, and Uber - more accurately, people driving for Uber - are providing a vehicle-for-hire service.

The separate problem is whether or not all vehicles should be subject to regular mechanical checks, not whether Uber vehicles should be - the law is already clear on vehicle-for-hire standards.

Comment Re:So you remove their only way to make a living? (Score 2) 166

I think that the cellphone could provide for the camera requirements, and the normal regulatory process ought to handle the rest without any special investigation. Vehicles ought to be safety inspected based on miles traveled, Uber provides insurance while carrying a fare, and drivers are already carrying insurance adequate for the time when they're not doing that.

A mobile phone camera isn't adequate in terms of coverage. Small cameras are dirt cheap, so requiring a few inside a vehicle isn't even close to burdensome.

Many states in Australia (and the US, and presumably every country) have little to no ongoing vehicle safety inspections.

Uber has no legal obligation or requirement to provide insurance. That's not good enough.

Comment Re:How dare they! (Score 2) 166

You say this like it is a bad thing.

That's because companies being able to sue Governments (ie: the People) for preventing them from doing whatever they want in the name of making money is indeed A Very Bad Thing.

Most taxi regulation is about keeping out competition.

No, very little taxi regulation is about keeping out competition - basically the artificial limits on how many plates are issued and requirement to use a specific dispatch service. Most of it is about protecting passengers, drivers and the public.

That the service is so popular shows The People like it.

It's nowhere near as popular as taxis.

Comment Re:So you remove their only way to make a living? (Score 2) 166

I'm more concerned about whether people are making their living ethically. I'm still undecided as to which thing Uber represents. I'm fairly certain that the company itself is sleazy, but I still think the concept itself is sound and I hope they "win", where "win" == achieve substantial shift in the legal landscape that makes actual ride-sharing with cost-sharing feasible.

Uber is run by Libertarian psychopaths (but I repeat myself), so "sleazy" would be a ringing endorsement. Their business model is build around facilitating and encouraging individuals to break the law while hiving themselves off from any risk or legal responsibility for the consequences thereof.

That being said, the taxi industry in Australia, as in most countries, is a hive of lazy rent-seekers who need a rocket up their arses. I should be clear, here. I'm talking about taxi plate ("medallion") holders - particular the ones that have had them for decades - than drivers, who are by and large just trying to make a crust in a shitty job with long hours and crap wages.

Hire car regulations serve a useful purpose: driver qualifications and background checks, minimum vehicle standards, mandatory audio and video recording equipment for passenger *and driver* safety and accountability, ensuring appropriate insurance coverage, etc.

However, it's hard to see why this needs to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop to monitor and enforce, and impossible to see any reason why anyone prepared to meet the standards should not be issued a hire car plate on application.

Fix the real problems - arbitrary supply constraints and outrageous costs of taxi plates.

(Disclosure: I drove taxis in Brisbane for four years about twenty years ago while I was studying.)

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes