“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” –Ronald Reagan
The sad tyranny of data speaks for itself. Über and Amazon, with a combined market capitalization of $353 billion, live and die by data. They look at cold, hard facts, and those facts paint a picture liberals don’t like: African-Americans are just not using those company’s premium services as much as others in inner cities.
Dante Ramos at the Boston Globe laments that the companies need to “grow up.”
Because lots of tech firms develop great products against daunting odds, they get a pass for behavior that would get established companies in trouble with regulators or the public. Eventually, though, a successful firm stops being a scrappy startup that can focus on its own survival alone. At that point, it should step up to a greater level of corporate social responsibility.
What does that mean? It means that Amazon’s new same-day delivery service is available in areas where there are enough Amazon Prime users to justify it.
That crosshatched patch in the middle of Amazon’s same-day service area in Boston tells the story. Roxbury is a heavily black-dominated area comprising three zip codes where the service isn’t available. To liberals, this is racism in action. How dare Amazon use data to make decisions on where to offer service! How dare those–those capitalists!–pursue business in such a color-blind and objective manner.
There’s no evidence that Amazon makes decisions on where to deliver based on race. [Craig Berman, Amazon’s vice president for global communications] [no relation —Ed] says the ethnic composition of neighborhoods isn’t part of the data Amazon examines when drawing up its maps. “When it comes to same-day delivery, our goal is to serve as many people as we can, which we’ve proven in places like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.” Amazon, he says, has a “radical sensitivity” to any suggestion that neighborhoods are being singled out by race. “Demographics play no role in it. Zero.”
Oh but it should play a role, according to liberals. Perhaps Amazon should offer free Prime membership to inner-city blacks. Maybe that would incentivize them to use the service. You can’t force them to use it, because that would be like forcing people to buy insurance and subsidize hospital administrator $500,000 salaries.
And Über, those radicals, refuse to hire drivers like buggy-whip cab companies who
bribe city officials buy limited issue, enormously expensive “medallions” to run a highly regulated hack franchise. They dared to use rider feedback to kick low-rated drivers off their app. Because it’s not fair to use data to determine who keeps their job and who loses it–wait, it’s not a job, it’s called the free market.
They also forgot to tell riders that the tip was included in their Internet-enabled, app-processed payment. So a liberal Massachusetts lawyer hit them with a class-action lawsuit, which the company settled by paying up to $100 million and noting the tip is included in the app. They will also give poorly rated drivers more warning before giving them the boot.
Pauvre petit enfants.
What to do? The liberal solution–if they won’t “grow up” and stop using data to make business decisions, we’ve got to regulate’em. Let’s make Über into just another cab company, and let’s make Amazon into Ma Bell, and force them to offer service to everyone. Then charge a “universal same-day delivery fee” on every Prime user’s account so that Roxbury can have a service most people who live there will probably never use.
[Update: Amazon gave in to the pressure and will deliver to Roxbury. Of course.]
This is why we must keep liberals (of either party) out of the White House and out of Congress.