Uber Cheaper, Faster Than Taxis in Low-Income Neighborhoods – Davey Alba


Among the many heated debates around on-demand ride-hailing services like Uber is whether they act as an antidote to the longstanding patterns of red-lining in the traditional taxi industry.

According to one Uber-funded study released today, they do.

Research group Botec Analysis found that summoning an UberX, the company’s budget tier, took less than half as long as calling for a taxi in several low-income neighborhoods in Los Angeles. What’s more, the trips themselves cost less than half as much. Calling for an UberX was more reliable and wait times were shorter, according to the study.

“The answer was clear-cut, and consistent across neighborhoods and days,” writes study co-author Mark Kleiman.

To gather data, pairs of riders called for a taxi and an Uber along pre-planned routes. The riders recorded the time between picking up the phone or opening an app and getting in a car. They also tracked how much each ride cost, then switched off. After each ride, whoever took a taxi last time took an Uber next time.

Read the rest via Uber Cheaper, Faster Than Taxis in Low-Income Neighborhoods | WIRED.

Senators Tell DEA to Stop Messing With State Hemp Crops – Elizabeth Nolan Brown

American-grown hemp may get another boost from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Last Friday, the Kentucky Republican added a provision to the agriculture appropriations bill to help hemp farmers transport crops across state lines sans federal interference. “Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot programs continue to prosper,” said McConnell, “and I want to make sure our legal hemp producers can safely transport their crops between states, including to states that maintain processing facilities, so they can fully capitalize on the commercial potential for this commodity.”

English: Spreading harvested hemp in Kentucky, USA

Kentucky has been running an industrial hemp pilot program since last year, when the 2014 Farm Bill gave universities and state agricultural commissioners authority to grow hemp for the first time in more than half a century. Cultivating the plant on American soil was banned in 1937—owing to nothing more than hemp being in the same plant family as marijuana—and hemp’s growth is still only permitted by these limited actors.

This is a shame, since hemp has all sorts of interesting potential as a building material, textile, food, cooking oil, cosmetic ingredient, and fuel source. The market for hemp seed and fiber—all imported right now—is already $600 million a year in America. Unlike marijuana, hemp does not have psychoactive properties.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota recently identified a single gene responsible for the differences between the Cannabis cousins. Plant biologist and study author George Weiblen hopes the discovery of may help hemp producers’ in their quest to define the two as legally distinct. As it stands, it’s even hard for researchers to study hemp because of its classification as a Schedule One controlled substance—Weiblen’s lab is one of the few in the country with a federal clearance to study Cannabis of any sort, including hemp.

Read the rest via Senators Tell DEA to Stop Messing With State Hemp Crops – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

Monopoly and Aggression – Sheldon Richman

The concepts monopoly and aggression are intimately related, like lock and key, or mother and child. You cannot fully understand the first without understanding the second.

Most of us are taught to think of a monopoly as simply any lone seller of a good or service, but that definition is fraught with problems, as Murray Rothbard, Austrian economists generally, and others have long pointed out. It overlooks, for example, the factor of potential competition. If a lone seller knows that someone could challenge his “monopoly” by entering the market, that will tend to influence the seller’s pricing and service policies. Is he then really a monopolist even if, for the time being, he’s alone in the market?

In deciding who is a monopolist, we also face the problem of defining the relevant market. The Federal Trade Commission once charged the top few ready-to-eat breakfast cereal companies with monopolizing “the market.” But what market? The FTC meant the market for ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. But that’s not all that people eat or can eat for breakfast. If you define the relevant market to include bacon and eggs; oatmeal; yogurt; grapefruit; English muffins and butter; bagels, lox, and cream cheese; breakfast burritos; and anything else people may find appealing in the morning, a “monopoly” in ready-to-eat cereals looks rather different. Even a single cereal seller (assuming no government privilege) could not price his product without taking into account what his rivals in other foods, and consumers, were doing. He could not even be sure who his rivals were until they arose in response to his consumer-alienating actions.

The conventional notion of monopoly has also been subjected to the reductio ad absurdum. In deciding who is a monopolist, where do we stop? Only one shop can occupy the northeast corner of Elm and Main in Anytown. A particular consumer could decide it’s too costly in time or effort to cross the street and buy at the rival shop on the northwest corner. Does that make the first shop a monopoly?

Read the rest via Monopoly and Aggression – The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Listen to “Meowrly”, the first song from Run the Jewels’ Meow the Jewels album

Kittie, Kittie, KITTIE!

Consequence of Sound

The sophomore episode of Run the JewelsBeats 1 radio show included a catastic surprise. El-P and Killer Mike offered fans the first listen of Meow the Jewels with “Meowrly”. Listen below.

The fan-funded remix album of 2014’s RTJ2 is made entirely of cat sounds, with contributions from Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, The Alchemist, Boots, Dan the Automator, Just Blaze, Baauer, and Prince Paul, among others

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America’s First Feminist Was a Radical Libertarian – Lawrence Reed

Opinions of Anne Hutchinson have, shall we say, covered the waterfront.

Statue of Anne Hutchinson

In his masterful tome, Conceived in Liberty, 20th-century economist and libertarian historian Murray Rothbard cast her as a staunch individualist and the greatest threat to the “despotic Puritanical theocracy of Massachusetts Bay.”

John Winthrop, the 2nd, 6th, 9th, and 12th governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, thought she was a “hell-spawned agent of destructive anarchy” and “a woman of haughty and fierce carriage, a nimble wit and active spirit, a very voluble tongue, more bold than a man.”

The state of Massachusetts apparently agrees with Rothbard. A monument in the State House in Boston today calls her a “courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration.” She was, in fact, the preeminent female crusader for a free society in 18th-century New England, for which she paid first with banishment and ultimately with her life.

The story is bound intimately to the “antinomian” or “free grace” controversy involving both religion and gender. It raged in Massachusetts for the better part of two years, from 1636 to 1638. Hutchinson was an unconventional, charismatic woman who dared to challenge church doctrine as well as the role of women in even discussing such things in a male-dominated society. In Saints and Sectaries: Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomian Controversy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, historian Emery Battis wrote,

Gifted with a magnetism which is imparted to few, she had, until the hour of her fall, warm adherents far outnumbering her enemies, and it was only by dint of skillful maneuvering that the authorities were able to loosen her hold on the community.

Antinomianism literally means “against the law” and was a term of derision applied against Hutchinson and her “free grace” followers. While the Puritan establishment in Massachusetts argued, as good “Reformers” of the day did, that Christian understanding derived from scripture alone (“Sola Scriptura”), the antinomians placed additional emphasis on an “inner light” by which the Holy Spirit imparted wisdom and guidance to believing individuals, one at a time.

“As I do understand it,” Hutchinson herself explained, “laws, commands, rules and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway. He who has God’s grace in his heart cannot go astray.”

Read the rest via America’s First Feminist Was a Radical Libertarian : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education.