Public Square

Ashton Kutcher, Uber, and the "Mafioso" Mentality

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Usually, I wouldn’t say you can learn much about economics from celebrities. But last week, Ashton Kutcher was the exception when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

When Kimmel asks Kutcher about his current business investments, like Uber and Airbnb, Kutcher brings up the harmful effect of regulation and cronyism.

Lamenting about the difficulties city regulations presented for startup companies like Uber, he says Uber doesn’t exist in Miami because of “some dumb regulation,” calling the city’s mentality “Mafioso.”

Kutcher says:

You have old-school monopolies and incumbents and old-school governments that get kickbacks from various people that don’t want the new guy to come in and so they try to kick them out of their city.

This crony “Mafioso” mentality is not only unjustly exclusive, but it compromises the dignity of work and suffocates the entrepreneurial spirit.

Is there anything we can do as Christians to defend the vocation of the entrepreneur against cronyism and unfair regulation? Kutcher implies yes. He says,

But the people are going to have what the people want. The people say they want Uber and people say they want Airbnb.

Sometimes, supporting the new guys is the best way to fight against the injustices of regulation and cronyism and to defend those God has called to be entrepreneurs.

Next time I need a ride around D.C., I’m getting an Uber cab.

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