Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.



December 2014

Critics, Not Uber, Should Apologize

Written by , Posted in Economics & the Economy

I recently sent the following letter to the Washington Post:

To the Editor:

Many reacted with disgust to the story about Uber’s use of surge-pricing during the recent hostage taking in Sydney [“Uber backtracks after jacking up prices during Sydney hostage crisis”]. Yet if actions are to be judged by outcomes rather than intentions, it is these critics and not Uber who should be forced to apologize.

When catastrophic events happen and people desperately require food, water, batteries, or transportation, higher prices encourage more suppliers to put themselves into danger and meet critical needs. Uber’s surge-pricing, in other words, encouraged drivers to help people escape the danger area by providing the extra incentive necessary to justify putting themselves in jeopardy.

Moral preening that results in rules to cap prices in times of emergency deny those most in need of a good or service precisely that which could save their life. Uber may be guilty of a callous disregard for the delicate sensibilities of those never quite comfortable with the functioning of a free market, but at least they don’t put the preservation of an emotionally-driven moral comfort zone above the welfare of their fellows.

Brian Garst
Director of Government Affairs
Center for Freedom & Prosperity