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Uber
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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 (utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics) 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.
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Write: You have four tasks for your initial post. In order to present an organized post, address each one of these tasks in a separate paragraph and in the following order. Your first task is to articulate the economic system (or combination of characteristics of both socialism and capitalism) that such laws depict. Your second task is to examine the laws that either support or limit the operations by Uber. Your third task is to analyze how your findings from your first and second tasks affect Uber. And your fourth task is to present your moral position with regard to Uber. For this latter task, you will need to identify one of the three ethical theories covered in the Week One (utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics) as support for the moral position that you are taking. For example, you may hold the moral position that Uber is morally justifiable because it provides a good for consumers that fills in a gap that had not been met by the taxi industry. Or you may take the position that Uber’s positioning in the market is morally wrong.
our initial post should be at least 400 words in length and have citations and references in APA notation. It should address the prompt in its entirety. This means that you should not split your response to the prompt in multiple posts. Your examination should be both thorough and succinct. This is a combination that demands time and thought, so give yourself sufficient time to draft and revise.
RESOURCES
Text
Fieser, J. (2015). Introduction to business ethics [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
Chapter 2: Capitalism
Chapter 3: Corporations
Articles
Friedman, M. (1970, September 13). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from https://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0073524697/910345/Appendices.pdf
Friedman presents a two-part clarification of what we may understand as social responsibility. The first part states that the responsibility of business is to its shareholders by using its resources to increase profits. Most stop here and assume that Friedman is advocating an ethics of egoism. But the important second part is that Friedman argues that business must be bound by the law and rules of honesty and decency toward others.
Smith, J. W. (2015). The Uber-all economy. Market News, 49(6), 26. Retrieved from https://www.ama.org/
The full-text version of this article can be accessed through the EBSCOhost database in the Ashford University Library. This article outlines the characteristics of the Uber business model.
Steinmetz, K. (2015, June 17). Why the California ruling on Uber should frighten the sharing economy. Time. Retrieved from https://time.com/3924941/uber-california-labor-commission-ruling/
This article examines the effects of the ruling on the growing independent contractor sector.
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Multimedia
IJ Sales. (2014, February 4). What is Uber? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/pZBMo59iwPo
An operations manager from Uber presents how the Uber service works. Transcript
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Learn Liberty. (2011, August 22). Top three common myths of capitalism | Learn Liberty [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGPa5Ob-5Ps
Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economist, clarifies that being a capitalist is not the same as being pro-business, explains why capitalism does not create an unfair distribution of resources, and shows why the view that capitalism was responsible for the recent financial crisis and recession is not justified. Transcript
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LibertyPen. (2009, November 13). Milton Friedman–Lesson of the pencil [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/4ERbC7JyCfU
Economist Milton Friedman describes the machinery of the price system by illustrating how a pencil is made. Transcript
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Macat Education. (2015, August 10). An introduction to Friedrich Hayek’s The road to serfdom–A Macat economics analysis [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ONATaFzi82I?list=PLRXstY5OaIwfFdYTwRlwB-gnNCg8oH9sw
This is an overview of economist Friedrich Hayek’s most influential book that concerns the interplay of business and government in the economic and political settings in which they operate. Transcript
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Mashable. (2014, October 9). What is Uber? | Mashable explains [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/tQlgavP5cmo
This video presents a casual overview of Uber and its comparison to the taxi industry. Transcript
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PragerU. (2015, April 6). Profits are progressive [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/tdHwewUuXBg?list=PLIBtb_NuIJ1w_5qAEs5cSUJ5Bk0R8QLaY
Economist Walter Williams examines the role of profit in entrepreneurship. Transcript
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TechCrunch. (2015, June 17). Uber driver ruled employee, not contractor, in CA | Crunch report [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/n3QJWPg5TLA
This is a report of the California Court finding that a particular Uber driver in California should have some costs reimbursed as she was deemed to be an employee instead of an independent contractor. Transcript
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