Prepare: Your initial post in this discussion must be informed by the required material for this discussion. The required material for this discussion will introduce you to what is new about Uber as a business model, the profit incentive in business, and how laws can make or break innovation in business. Your preparation should focus on the characteristics of capitalism and socialism, as well as other business concepts presented in the required material. Since your initial post in this discussion will examine the relation between running a business such as Uber and the laws and economic system of the nation(s) in which it operates, make sure to comb the material on Uber for laws, regulations, and the economic setting that affect its operations. You are encouraged to research relevant laws and regulations to make sure that you have current information. You will also need to review the material on the three ethical theories employed in the Week One Discussion as you will draw from that material for this week’s discussion too.
Reflect: Keep in mind that Uber has presented itself into the market not as a transportation service but as a service that pairs consumers with ride sharing services by means of a unique phone app. But some sources—including the taxi industry and one California court finding (details in the required material), as well as the characterization of Uber presented in Section 3.4 of the textbook—seem to challenge this branding. According to these sources, Uber is avoiding laws that apply to the transportation industry and, thereby, usurping a rightful place that the taxi industry has carved for itself. Consumers, on the other hand, have shown their preference for Uber by a high demand for its services in the USA and abroad, including those countries in which Uber has been banned. Compared to taxis, Uber offers consumers an efficient system for procuring a ride even in remote areas where taxis do not frequent, a convenient payment method (no need for cash, and fares can be split among different users on the same ride), and significantly cheaper fares compared to taxis. In many instances, Uber cars come equipped with water, candy, and magazines, all for free. Uber drivers are also better off because they keep the majority of the fares for the rides that they service, which is exactly the opposite case of taxi drivers, and they can choose when they want to work. Clearly, this is a controversial case and thus very apt for the examination for this discussion.
Keep in mind that a nation’s economic system is shaped by the laws that are in place. Accordingly, laws (including state regulations and local ordinances) will give you a clue for the kind of economic system that exists. Keep in mind also that most nations have mixed economies and there is probably no economic system that purely represents socialism or capitalism. So you will find a different combination of both socialism and capitalism in any nation that you are examining.