Lyfting Herself Up From Her Bootstraps

15 thoughts on “Lyfting Herself Up From Her Bootstraps”

    1. Great link to MMM. Yes, Lyft and Uber’s corporate profitability are based on the human tendency to value small short term gains over huge long term liabilities. No surprise there.

      I then went down a rabbit hole with his take on oil companies going the way of Kodak. I’m not convinced, but it was an interesting thought experiment.

  1. I’ve talked with a number of Lyft drivers over the years. A lot of them are immigrants, but one was an MBA between jobs who was curious about the economics of driving for Lyft and Uber. She was wondering how much driving it would take to make one’s car payments, at least until her real job started in a few weeks. Another was an army veteran who worked in construction, lived about an hour out in the suburbs and gamed Lyft and Uber like a boss, as they say. Apparently, there are incentives for taking riders on long commutes and options to bid only for them. That meant he usually had fares each way. When his day job knocked off, he spent a couple of hours a day doing in town driving. Like many drivers, he had both Lyft and Uber running on his phone. He was saving up and buying real estate.

  2. Just read this article on what you had called the precariat.

    https://www.barrons.com/articles/a-recession-could-be-big-trouble-for-the-gig-economy-51545927389?mod=mktw

    Just like sweatshop workers back in the day. This article says temps are a rising share of the workforce even in manufacturing.

    https://www.marketplace.org/2018/11/13/business/divided-decade/how-great-recession-helped-normalize-use-temp-workers?mod=article_inline

    And yet, these workers are also the consumers that will have to buy all the stuff required to keep profits and thus executive pay high. I wonder how high total U.S. debts are going, post Trump tax cuts.

  3. Interesting. I remember a discussion on a forum about how Uber and how it really screws over the people who work as drivers (mainly in the cost of car maintenance). But I think that, if folks are happy to work that way, then it’s not a bad deal for them. There’s so much more to life than cost as your last example illustrates. I’d take West Virginia over Colorado any day, even if no one asks about happiness. “Happiness” is one of those vacuous terms that our current society idolizes (as in “makes an idol of”) far too much. It’s not unimportant, but I think the last couple of generations have made it far more important than it warrants.

    1. I think everyone should be responsible for their own happiness. I decide every morning to have a great day. Not everything goes well but I don’t let one bad event ruin the rest of the day’s events. Now if you let advertising determine your happiness then I think you are doomed. 🙂

      1. Double squeeze. Falling incomes. And relentless propaganda that says you have to spend more to have a decent life.

        Accommodated by more family members (women) in the labor force, multiple job holdings, the elimination of retirement savings, rising mortgage and credit card debt, and then soaring public debt.

        Until the screwed generations born after 1957 or so are forced to retire into poverty and see the standard of living that had been the whole project of their lives collapse.

        1. Yes, as is sometimes pointed out on this site, it’s just a matter of when things collapse (and force some form of restructuring), not whether they collapse or not.

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