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Excellent, Deep Series on Uber's Ponzi-Scheme Economics

Linked by Paul Ciano on December 17, 2016

Yves Smith:

To simplify just a bit, the Uber strategy was to (1) jumpstart rapid growth with driver pay premiums that would get lots of drivers to switch from traditional operators; these premiums were real but not as large as they seemed because drivers hadn’t figured out how to properly deduct vehicle costs to determine true take home pay, and by willful falsehoods (our drivers make $90,000) (2) gradually cut back driver pay once Uber was clearly a large established play by eliminating incentive programs and increasing the percentage of fares Uber retained; but drivers can’t do anything about pay cuts because they’ve locked themselves into car payments (3) At some point—and according to the study quoted in the second article in the series, it may have already happened—true Uber take home pay (after vehicle costs) is no better or slightly worse than what Yellow Cab paid before (4) Uber achieves industry dominance, drivers have no alternatives, and take home pay falls to (or even below) minimum wage level.

Paul Ciano

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