Public discussion about the dramatic rise of UBER is often themed as a titanic struggle between old-fashioned expensive taxi companies and a new digital upstart. UBER usually comes out on top because it's new, cool and part of the ‘sharing economy’.
But legal academic Frank Pasquale offers a very different perspective. Companies like UBER, he says, represent a threat to competitive capitalism. Their modus operandi is to use populist discourse - and vast financial backing from venture capitalists - to ignore laws, overwhelm markets and establish monopolies.
Professor Pasquale talks of the ‘Silicon Valley oligarchs’ - and he warns they represent as a big a threat to capitalism as they do to the rights of workers.