The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Platform Economy

One of the most damaging aspects of Big Intrusive Government (BIG) is over-regulation of ... everything. In order to maintain their power and control over businesses and individuals, proponents of BIG (that would be the Democratic party) have instituted a massive set of regulations developed by "agencies" that are populated by bureaucrats who sole job it is to perpetuate their employment by developing more regulations.

Sure, we do need some regulations that help to keep us safe, to stop egregious forms of environmental pollution, to control predatory behaviors by large entities (including the feds), and the like. But those represent a relatively small percentage of all regulations. In fact, the majority of regs are developed to control one population at the expense of another.

A perfect example is the Platform Economy. Wikipedia defines it this way:
The platform economy is economic and social activity facilitated by platforms. Such platforms are typically online matchmakers or technology frameworks. By far the most common type are "transaction platforms", also known as "digital matchmakers". Examples of transaction platforms include Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and Baidu. A second type is the "innovation platform", which provides a common technology framework upon which others can build, such as the many independent developers who work on Microsoft's platform.

Forerunners to contemporary digital economic platforms can be found throughout history, especially in the second half of the 20th century. Yet it was only in the year 2000 that the "platform" metaphor started to be widely used to describe digital matchmakers and innovation platforms. Especially after the financial crises of 2008, companies operating with the new "platform business model" have swiftly came to control an increasing share of the world's overall economic activity, sometimes by disrupting traditional business.

Proponents of BIG have a love-hate relationship with the platform economy. Sure, most people love Uber or Lyft, but BIG government types find them difficult to control and that makes them nervous. BIG government types are often beholden to special interests (say, taxi cab companies) who provide large political donations and are threatened by various platform companies. Consider the following:

It is interesting that the politicians who talk so much about their affinity to "working people" are the same politicians who support BIG (and now, "socialism") as some magical cure for all the ills facing "working people." Those politicians are the first to promote the power of the state as the primary driver of regulations as a means of control.

The Platform Economy does exactly the opposite. It puts power in the hands of the worker, who uses the platform to run a business that provides some benefit to other working people. It's simple, it's effective, and it provides benefit to all who use it. It's capitalism at its finest.

The only thing that can kill the platform economy is over-regulation, and BIG wants to do just that. The next time you hear a politician (think: Bernie Sanders) suggest that any major economic sector (think: Healthcare) should be centrally controlled , ask yourself whether innovative 21st century solutions using the platform economy just might be better, more cost effective, and most important of all, provide greater freedom for the worker and the consumer.

Oh wait ... proponents of BIG are bound by tired mid-20th century ideas and have a hard time leaving them behind. Maybe that's the real threat of the platform economy—it demands a 21st century outlook that is beyond the grasp of proponents of BIG.