File illustration picture showing the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt court earlier this month instituted a temporary injunction against Uber from offering car-sharing services across Germany. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation.    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/Files  (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

Uber, The Old Taxi System, and The New Business World

In recent months there has been an increasing hostility in many cities and countries around the world against Uber, the ridesharing app group, the Silicon Valley offspring that is revolutionizing for-hire private transportation’s way of doing business. The traditional taxi system around the world hasn’t had any significant improvements for decades, since its inception, almost a century ago. This system has essentially been resting in their laurels and hence, ripe for the taking. Present technology lends itself beautifully for ordering a ride by mobile phone, and tracking the type of car, license number, driver’s name, and the waiting time, among other amenities —for instance, to be located … [Read More...]

Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew’s Momentous Life

The recent passing of Lee Kuan Yew (Sep 16, 1923 - March 23, 2015) is a most appropriate occasion for evaluating his legacy. Upon Great Britain’s withdrawal from Singapore in 1959, the People’s Action Party (PAP) won a landslide victory, during the May elections of the same year. Thereby, Singapore became an internally self-governing state within the Commonwealth, with Lee Kuan Yew as the country’s first Prime Minister. The withdrawal of the British from Singapore was nearly catastrophic for the island’s bewildered inhabitants. The main economic engine of the city had been the British naval base. Its loss left a gigantic gap which was very difficult to fill (an impossibility, in the short … [Read More...]

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Russia: from Rags to Riches and Back

It was only three years ago that the prevailing expectations of the Russian economy and where it was headed over the next years was favorable (or even very favorable). The evolution of Russia from the ashes of the USSR to a seemingly fairly solid direction towards a market economy and its increasing role in the international community had only a little over two decades. Granted, nothing is perfect. Nonetheless, that expectation was indeed widespread and had some reasonable foundations behind it. Moreover, Russia was not alone at that. The then popular acronym of BRICs was widely used, to refer to a very evident accelerated development of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The expectation was … [Read More...]

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Competitiveness Among Nations: Conclusions (Part Three)

“The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments” —— Ludwig von Mises   (...Continued from Part Two) All over the world, the current political system has made most governments fall into complacency and allow a great deal of free-riding from probably the majority of elected officers. That’s why gridlock has resulted as a virtually inevitable outcome. Within that environment, serious, profound, virtuous structural change is almost impossible to implement. Given that the bureaucracy and the establishment at large are experts in blocking change, the required strategy demands leadership, guts and plenty of skill. History unmistakably shows … [Read More...]