The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

France Arrests Uber Executives

To recap: French Taxi drivers went on strike, beat cars with metal baseball bats, and damn near shut down Paris’s airport.

As a result, France arrested two French Uber executives. It has also been seizing the cars of Uber drivers.

Unions work. Violence, done smart, works.

(French truck drivers, when they want something, will en-masse park their rigs in the middle of the street, shutting down traffic, etc.)

You receive good wages only when there is a tight labor market. That can be generally, or it can be “your profession/group in specific.” (Professional associations are just upscale unions who pretend they aren’t, unions being declasse.)

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As a Subject of Her Majesty, the Queen, Long May She Reign


  1. duclaw

    When you want the intended to understand your message, make sure to speak in their native language. It is that simple.

  2. Sterling

    “You receive good wages only when there is a tight labor market.”

    What are the implications with regards to immigration from the third world into the west?

  3. markfromireland

    Does blocking railway lines – in particular the TGV lines by dumping truckloads of vegetables over them count as “violence, done smart ? 🙂


  4. The French love violence, it is there native language for business.

  5. markfromireland

    @ Stirling Newberry.

    The French love violence, it is there native language for business.

    Whereas you Americans prefer to do it by inter alia destroying such civilian targets as water purification plants and implementing sanctions so savagely that half a million children die as a direct result saying as you do so “we think the price is worth it.”


  6. S Brennan

    “You receive good wages only when there is a tight labor market.”

    “[Another] fast tracked trade deal being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration…”will constrain the future ability of the United States Congress to regulate U.S. immigration policy, deregulating the U.S. work visa system… the explicit purpose of an entire annex (section) in TiSA, entitled “Movement of Natural Persons.” The text was heretofore secret until Wikileaks published it on its website last week.

    Fortunately, it will only effect the following Professions, Trades & unskilled labor:

    Professional services:

    Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services (CPC 862)
    Architectural services (CPC 8671)
    Engineering services (CPC 8672)
    Integrated engineering services (CPC 8673)
    Urban planning and landscape architectural services (CPC 8674)
    Medical & dental services (CPC 9312)
    Veterinary services (CPC 932)
    Services provided by midwives, nurses, physiotherapists and paramedical personnel (CPC 93191)

    Computer and related services:

    Consultancy services related to the installation of computer hardware (CPC 841)
    Software implementation services (CPC 842)
    Data processing services (CPC 843)
    Data base services (CPC 844)
    Other (CPC 845+849)

    Research and Development services:

    R&D services on natural sciences (CPC 851)
    R&D services on social sciences and humanities (CPC 852)
    Interdisciplinary R&D services (CPC 853)

    Other business services

    Advertising services (CPC 871)
    Market research and public opinion polling services (CPC 864)
    Management consulting services (CPC 865)
    Services related to management consulting (CPC 866)
    Technical testing & analysis services (CPC 8676)
    [CH propose: Services incidental to manufacturing]
    Related scientific and technical consulting services (CPC 8675)
    Maintenance and repair of equipment (not including maritime vessels, aircraft or other transport equipment) (CPC 633 + 8861-8866)
    Specialty design services (CPC 87907)

    Construction and related engineering services:

    General construction work for buildings (CPC 512)
    General construction work for civil engineering (CPC 513)
    Installation and assembly work (CPC514+516)
    Building completion and finishing work (CPC 517)
    Other (CPC 511+515+518)

    Environmental services:

    Sewage services (CPC 9401)
    Refuse disposal services (CPC 9402)
    Sanitation and similar services (CPC 9403)

    [CH propose: Financial Services]

    [CH propose: Financial advisors]

    Tourism and travel related services:

    Hotels and Restaurants (CPC Ex. 641)
    Travel Agencies and Tour Operators services (CPC 7471)
    Tourist Guides services (CPC 7472)

    [CH propose: Transport services

    [CH propose: Other services auxiliary to all modes of transport CPC]

    Recreational, cultural and sporting services:

    38. Sporting and other recreational services (CPC 964)

    “To translate, that means that foreign firms would not be required to advertise jobs to U.S. workers, or to hire U.S. workers …visa programs are already under-regulated and abused by employers, but since neither the L-1 nor the B-1 visa program is numerically limited by law, this means that potentially hundreds of thousands of workers could enter the United States every year to work in these 38 sectors… the competitive advantage foreign companies will get is the ability to provide cheaper services by importing much cheaper labor to supplant American workers…the United States would be prohibited from imposing minimum or prevailing wage standards (at present, neither the L-1 or B-1 visa program has a minimum or prevailing wage rule).

  7. V. Arnold

    America, the U.S. version; has thoroughly fucked itself! It boggles the mind to see the complete destruction of a society before ones eyes. But, the plan is on track; a century of infantilizing its children via the forced educational system; what else can one expect?
    Read Gatto, Illich, and Graeber for a pretty good view of the present.
    I particularly recommend Gatto’s 1st chapter of The Underground History of American Education. The audio book is available here;

    The other two mentioned authors are also there for free. Highly recommended…

  8. Dan Lynch

    Agree with Ian’s point about the taxi driver protests.

    FYI I intermittently have difficulty sharing Ian’s blog on FB and this is one of those times. I’ve tried over and over again but Facebook just won’t “take” it. I dunno why, the link works in all other respects.

  9. Dan Lynch

    FYI when I clicked the “subscribe to this comment feed” link it gave me a page that said “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below” followed by a bunch of code.

  10. Peter

    It is probably counterproductive, especially for real working people, to portray these taximen as proletariat working class heroes unless Ian is unconsciously attempting just that. These men are capitalist entrepreneurs who invest capital, about $200,000 to buy into their monopoly guild where they demand fees not draw wages.

    If there is a working class element in this story it’s the poor unemployed individuals that Uber exploits as contractors for minimal fees with no security or benefits. These are the people who were attacked, beaten and had their personal vehicles damaged or destroyed.

    If this organized mob of thugs had attacked Uber’s offices or government agencies for allowing them to operate I could sympathize with them but they attacked people lower on the economic scale who were just trying to make a living.

    Mfi may be correct about France being a lawless Snake Pit and the thugs will walk free while Uber executives are arrested and more importantly Uber drivers will have their vehicles confiscated and be fined under the cover of laws that may violate France’s constitution, which won’t be decided until September by their high court.

  11. Monster from the Id

    “Violence, done smart, works.”

    Sometimes, as long as one manages to avoid receiving counter-violence.

    Also, as long as one of the following is true:

    (1) There is no afterlife, in which one will be called to account for violent deeds.

    (2) There is an afterlife, but the proprietor will excuse one’s violent deeds.

    As always, the highest-stakes gamble is Pascal’s wager…

  12. dude

    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t see “lawyers” among the services leaked by WikiLeaks.

  13. reslez

    “Capitalist entrepreneurs”? Many are very much in debt to pay for their medallions, and struggling to survive while Uber “encourages its “scabs” to undercut them with fares at a loss. Uber is working to create an industry that doesn’t support a living wage. This is in no working person’s interest, it should be fought (whether with violence is something I’m unable to judge, being so ignorant of the specifics of the case).

  14. Pelham

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I for one find these preening Internet-enabled “disruptors” more than a bit boring.

    Since the Internet was developed over decades with taxpayer money and since all these digital behemoths are 99% Internet and 1% actual innovation, I propose we consider disrupting them for a change. It wouldn’t affect Uber much, but how about a public movement to ban all advertising and marketing online outside of self-marketing by businesses on their own websites?

    The Internet belongs to us all, so we have a perfect right to dictate what is and isn’t on it.

  15. S Brennan

    Nor Dude;

    Do you see “media persons” formerly known as reporters.

    It’s pretty clear who the “winners” of Milton Friedman’s idea of “natural” selection are, just look at whose pay scale is about to be destroyed by government policy. Better skills my ass, it’s a social construct that determines the “value” of your skill set.

    In the course of my life, I have been offered jobs in 3 countries…each time the government of the respective country turned down my work permit application on the grounds that a citizen could/should be trained instead. No other industrial [are we still an industrial nation?] treats it’s STEM grads as badly as the USA…and no, Britain is not an industrial nation.

    An FYI, the US system only seems daunting, get an immigration lawyer and for ~1,500.00 USD, you’re in. By comparison, in Canada, with the exception of oil patch people, [who are covered by a separate law], a mandatory “market survey” is going to set you back about 1200.00 USD, If a “market survey” finds an unemployed engineer in the maritime provinces and the job’s in BC, you’re out of luck, whether the Canadian engineer is willing to relocate or not. You may not like the result, but public servants in Canada…serve those who pay the taxes, which is, as it should be.

  16. dfs

    It wouldn’t affect Uber much, but how about a public movement to ban all advertising and marketing online outside of self-marketing by businesses on their own websites?

    Install microBlock (Adblock and Adblock Plus sold out) and get everyone you know to do the same.

    In some key demographics adblocker usage now exceeds 50%.

  17. Happy Canada Day.

  18. Peter

    Rezlez, I don’t think you will find many entrepreneurs who did not have to borrow money to start their businesses and debt and struggle is part of life even in France. I would like to see what these taximen earn, you would probably be surprised, they join this monopoly because they can make more money than other working class jobs offer.

    I agree Uber is exploiting their drivers but calling these workers ‘scabs’ only shows your misunderstanding of union terms and does nothing to further their cause which can be addressed with legislation as has happened in California. has some interesting opinions about this story from a French perspective.

  19. Everythings Jake

    Healthy pension not dependent on success or failure of employer, retirement as early at 62, earlier for certain occuputations, national health care, free or very low cost high quality education, six weeks of paid vacation. Public parks and transportation, arts. Great food (obligatory mention). It’d be enough to make a raging conservative of me. I’d have set the first Uber car I saw on fire.

  20. victor

    Just taking a guess here it looks to me like this has to do less with what the strikers gained for themselves as what is allowed by the French ruling elite.
    I think it is not in the French ruling elites interest to:

    1.have an outside company come in and pay not licensing fees taking away revenue and local power from the French

    2.France and Germany want to develop their own IT , and develop their own driver less cars , something Uber is working on.

    3.French probably don’t want foreign entity tracking all of their citizens movements either.

    In France Cops and elites are with Taxi Drivers.

    In San Francisco Ubers home base cops and ruling elite who make money off of what Uber is and represents these elites support Uber.
    A lot of these things I am writing about are subconscious and subtle representations of things not always conspired of in a conscious way but just a guess on my part.

  21. No, but it is an outline of how you want to screw little people. Ubers do not take money, they steal it.

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