"And when you walk thru Uber’s HQ in San Francisco, the place is pulsating with young, brilliant and dedicated employees who believe they are part of doing something historic and meaningful and won’t take no for an answer. It’s a feeling I’ve been fortunate to experience previously and feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by that talent and energy one more time." David Plouffe quoted in Andrew Leonard's "How Uber Will Conquer America".
Exploiting the idealism and adventurousness of the young--it's an old game played by old men to get kids to fight in wars that should not have been declared or to support demagogues who should never be given power. It's now a game being played to hoodwink kids into supporting a economic model that is leading us into neofeudal peonage.
It's cool--it's disruptive, no stodgy rules, no boring safety net. But those kids working for Uber are no different than the associates who work for Wal-Mart--except in their having been sold a bill of goods that they are going to change the world. For better or worse? Who cares? It's not boring. A lot of German kids reasoned that way in the early 30s. As did a lot of kids worldwide in 1914. Off to war. What a lark! What excitement! What a delusion.
My son just turned 18 in time for the election in 2008. He was a senior in high school, and with a handful of his friends who were voting age decided to ritualize the moment by wearing a suit and tie to school on election day and to drive together to the polls to cast their votes for Obama. I was touched by that, that they would even care enough, but Obama did that for kids then. It was one of the last years that such a ritual was even possible, at least here in Washington State, because now here it's mail-in only voting. It's more consumer friendly, no hassle of having to actually go out to the local school, wait in line with neighbors for a few minutes, go to a booth, and actually cast your vote. Voting is so much easier to do in the privacy of your own home.
Well, we all now know how disappointing for young people the election of 2008 turned out, and now politics are no longer inspiring for them--disruptive business models are the next new thing. The 'consumer' has now completely displaced the 'citizen'. There is no stronger indicator that we have given up on the belief that we have the capability to govern ourselves; we all have abdicated responsibility to the mystical powers of the Invisible Hand to make all things right.