Progressive Commerce

Imagine shopping at a hypothetical store of the future, where the price of any product is displayed via your cell phone app. The store doesn’t put a price tag on any item and there are no prices on the shelf displays. The convenient app does it all for you. But there’s a catch.

The app’s internal algorithm changes prices, based upon presumptions the software makes about who you are, your ability pay, and whether or not you’d be willing to pay whatever price the app chooses for you. In other words, the price of an item varies according to who you are!

The app has access to a huge database of personal information that third parties have collected about you over the years from so many sources–social media, financial institutions, government, public records, neighborhood demographics, etc. Using that information, the app automatically arrives at the price you’ll pay, based upon what the algorithm decides you ought to pay because of who you are. Let’s rephrase–it determines your price based upon your presumed societal privilege.

Such a system would be a social justice warrior’s (SJWs) dream:

Progressive commerce.

And it’s all hidden away in the app. The app does its thing behind the scenes, not in any way transparently, and who’s the wiser?

Would you know that others pay a different price than you do for the same item or service? Would you care?

Is this the wave of the future? You may think it’s a ridiculous idea, because it’s certainly not fair, is it? Hardly the American Way. Sounds discriminatory, because, by definition, that’s exactly what it is.

Before you think something like this will never come to pass in the USA, consider this excerpt from an article about how Uber prices its rides in some cities. Small wonder they call this a “sharing economy.” [some emphasis added to quotes]

Uber applies machine-learning techniques to estimate how much groups of customers are willing to shell out for a ride, calculating riders’ propensity for paying a higher price for a particular route at a certain time of day, he said. For instance, someone traveling from a wealthy neighborhood to another tony spot might be asked to pay more than another person heading to a poorer part of town, even if demand, traffic and distance are the same. Uber calls this “route-based pricing.”

From each according to his ability …

Now, you might not at first glance believe that this means what it seems to imply. Are they really saying that Uber bases its prices on the presumed wealth of customers traveling from one “wealthy neighborhood” to another? Yes, they are. Consider this social justice argument:

Society is more willing to accept wealthy people paying higher fares,” said Chris Knittel, a business professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “But if the repercussion of lower fares in lower-income places is longer wait times, that’s probably what they want to keep an eye on.”

Notice that the esteemed professor seems to speak for “society” (when did we vote on this as a society?) and that he seems to have no concern for the fundamental unfairness of a system that, in effect, punishes some individuals because they’re presumed to be “wealthy.” He’s concerned that “lower-income” people might have longer wait times, even though they’re paying less. He seems to have no equivalent concern that maybe “they want to keep an eye on” gouging wealthy patrons simply because they’re wealthy!

Another article confirms the social justice component:

Some reports have claimed that Uber is targeting wealthy riders and using machine learning to determine what they would be willing to pay. It’s also been suggested that high-demand routes is code for “travelling between wealthy areas”.

In a statement to Android HeadlinesUber ambiguously confirmed the allegation.

“We price routes differently based on our understanding of riders’ choices so we can serve more people in more places at fares they can afford,” it said.

But [Head of Product Daniel] Graf vehemently denied it.

“Absolutely not,” he told Bloomberg. “This is not personalized. This has nothing to do with the individual.

Splitting hairs, it seems.

No, apparently at this time it has nothing to do with individuals, per se; but it does seem to have much to do with groups that are presumed to be wealthier than other groups; and there seem to be no qualms expressed about the fundamental unfairness of trying to single out wealthy people for higher prices.

The Android Headlines article explains what it called “person-variable pricing” because

while Uber rides may at any point vary depending on the time of day, the mileage of the journey, and the number of drivers on call, the difference here is that when all of those factors are equal for two different riders, those riders might still be charged differently. One example given in the report is that a ride which sees point A (departure location) and point B (destination) both occurring in an area which is deemed (presumably by machine learning) to be more affluent, the cost will be higher, compared to a ride in a less-affluent area – which covers the exact same distance, with the exact same driver availability, and at the exact same time of the day. … The person is part of the equation, and in some respects, more integral than the distance in determining the price.

While this pricing system isn’t as individually focused as is my hypothetical store of the future, it certainly seems to be a step in that direction.

The busybodies of the Ctrl-left do so love to control everyone’s lives and impose their own values on all of  “society,” especially if they can find a way to embed their schemes secretly within obscure algorithms that few but coders and mathematicians can easily understand.

If “society” doesn’t know about such “black box” systems of unequal pricing, then how can society weigh in on them? Pity the poor Congresspersons whose job it ought to become to examine in detail this potentially “predatory pricing.”

Another thought experiment, especially for those SJWs who see nothing wrong with Uber’s pricing experiment: Suppose, for the sake of argument, that you’re a low-paid nanny (oh, let’s make you an “immigrant of color”) whose little charges live in a “wealthy neighborhood.” Suppose that you ordinarily take a bus home from work but one day you miss the last bus and so must call Uber for a ride to a “tony spot” where you happen to live in low-income, subsidized housing courtesy of  Obama’s hopefully soon defunct and equally redistributionist “spread the poor around” scheme (AFFH). Unless Uber somehow takes into account your individual circumstances, how will Uber’s app make an exception for you? Or will you have to pay the higher price for accidentally being caught up in their presumptuous “route based pricing?”

Uber drivers themselves are upset because of the non-transparent nature of the system, which in effect screws them out of what they consider to be their fair share of the fares. Mind you, drivers aren’t complaining about a system that charges presumed wealthier people more–they’re just complaining that “black box” pricing keeps them in the dark about how much they would make if they were also allowed to pick wealthy people’s pockets. Currently, the company keeps all those excess profits.

It’s bad enough that taxation is progressive. Are we also now going to be subject to progressive commerce, courtesy of the Ctrl-left? What they can’t get at the ballot box, they try to get nevertheless, by any means necessary.

Black-box-type software systems are currently being implemented more and more often by companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter. They all have mysterious algorithms used to place ads, position stories on searches, identify posts to censor, and manipulate their “trending stories” feeds. Additionally, they all collect and maintain huge amounts of personal information about their users. None of this is transparent and most of it escapes any kind of government oversight. Social media entities are either vulnerable to manipulation by or actively coordinating with progressive forces that want to “fact check” and/or censor conservative thought, speech, and political activities. All going on behind the scenes. Excellent analyses can be found at this link.

Obviously, charging one group of customers more for the same product or service based upon group identity is discrimination. SJWs love to talk about disparate impact. Why, then, wouldn’t pricing based upon presumed ability to pay be race and/or sex discrimination (maybe even age discrimination), considering that Asian and white males are statistically more wealthy than other groups? Doesn’t this pricing scheme have a disparate impact on Asians, whites, and males? Isn’t that potentially a violation of their civil rights? (Uber, coincidentally, is itself fighting accusations of sex discrimination. Similarly, most of the tech companies in Silicon Valley, including  social media firms, have been accused of sex discrimination–something that’s not very difficult to discern, given their own demographics.)

Just the other day, the Supreme Court ruled against  the state of North Carolina in a case involving redistricting because the new district maps, it was argued, discriminate against blacks, even though political party was the main factor used to draw the districts. Because blacks overwhelming vote for Democrats, the judges ruled that, in essence, party is a proxy for race in this instance. North Carolina, progressive judges declared, engaged in unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, not the more mundane and constitutional partisan gerrymandering. (Our newest judge, Neil Gorsuch, wasn’t party to the decision.)

SJWs and progressives also like to yap about democracy and equality. How, then, is it fair, equal, democratic to charge one group of individuals more for the same product or service?

Are we Americans all equal under the law or not?

Will the New World Order, this Brave New World, mean that someday soon we’re all going to be labeled and then privileged or disadvantaged based upon the communist, socialist, redistributionist, or politically correct whims of those who write the algorithms that now control so many aspects of our lives?

To read more about Uber and the “sharing economy,” see this link, where you can download a pdf entitled The Taking Economy: Uber, Information, and Power.

Read this article and you might learn more about why some (mostly progressive) cities are so enthusiastic about Uber, which sometimes defies the laws of those very cities. (Hint: subsidized-by-taxpayers “semi-public” transit, courtesy of Uber and Lyft.)



115 responses to “Progressive Commerce

  1. 😆

  2. O’ …. so many ….stories….

  3. They don’t know that human contribution to global warming is actually real but tiny, (probably so small as to be undetectable).

    And they don’t know that full implementation of the Paris agreement would, by its own supporters’ estimates, reduce global temperature in 2100 by at most 0.17 degree C but would cost roughly $41.2 to $82.4 trillion per tenth of a degree of cooling.

    That makes it what the author of “The Art of the Deal” rightly recognized as “a bad deal” – not just for America, but for the world.

    Keep these things in mind when climate activists, including some big business leaders, come back demanding that the U.S. re-enter Paris or negotiate some other deal to fight global warming.
    … below

    • It was designed to be a bad deal for the USA. It’s redistribution of wealth, plain and simple. Transfer wealth from us to poor nations.

  4. It’s ok according to CNN if Liberals say it

    ~ Son of Rusty Shackleford Francinepink • ~

    And notice WHO wrote the article— “Laura Jarrett” ……Jarrett, hmm, Jarrett…..where have I heard that name before?

    That’s right, she’s Val- Jar’s mutant spawn! I kid you not!!

    Wow! I learn something new here everyday.

    Yup. You’ll see her on CNN talking about “unnamed sources;” they’re ☪ظ☭mabots in the government that she’s got on speed dial because she’s the daughter of ☪ظ☭ma’s brain. Butt of course, she’s a “journalist” so she can’t be unbiased, right?

  5. ~ Keith says: (over TRASH MOUTH …I’m SORRY BILL MAHER!!!)
    As a BLACK man, I say G I V E him a Pass.??? We have bigger fish to fry as a community & that is resisting our President & equally dangerous, our Attorney General, both of whom can create havoc on our community for generations to come….. (SILLY DICK!!!!) … Mandatory minimums are back, police oversight is being lessened, voter suppression is real & aggressive.

    Let’s focus on these things & leave this issue alone. He apologized, ????
    Nuff said. We need to focus on not allowing ourselves to be divided as this Republican attack on our constitutional liberties is real & determined.

    ~ Derek says:
    Why did you have to Qualify Your Statement with “as a BLACK man”?
    ….. Victim culture. ?????

    ~ Big Papi says:
    Oh good grief. Such hysteria lacking any basis in truth. Instead of looking for the boogeyman who doesn’t exist, tend to the real problem bedeviling BLACK Americans. The devastation of the family …..due to ….. the abdication …. of Fatherly ….. R-esponsibility. !!! ????

    Frank Arnold says:
    Sooo…let me get this Straight. Blacks can say this to each other…BUT…GOD forbid, no one else can?? … STUPID IS as DO-DO

    • I really don’t think Maher ought to have apologized. It’s a well-known term and he used it correctly, in the course of his “joke”. (btw, I don’t think they had slaves in Nebraska, did they? The left is actually criticizing Sasse for nervously laughing.) Nevertheless, the n-word is used CONSTANTLY by those on the left. Rappers, in particular, but it doesn’t stop there. Sharpton, who’s criticizing Maher and calling for him to be fired, uses the word all the time. Surely he’s also used the “house nigger” expression too many times to count. Belafonte called Colin Powell a “house nigger!” Why the double standard? Is it okay for blacks to insult people with that phrase, but white comedians can’t use it in a joke?

  6. B L A C K …. comedy ….. the 2 WAY -STREET???

    • The purpose of black comedy is to make light of serious & often taboo subject matter; some comedians use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort & serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include violence (murder, abuse, domestic violence, rape, torture, war, genocide, terrorism, corruption), discrimination (chauvinism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia), disease (anxiety, depression, suicide, nightmares, drug abuse, mutilation, disability, terminal illness, insanity), sexuality (sodomy, homosexuality, incest, infidelity, fornication), religion & barbarism.
      Comedians, like Lenny Bruce, that since the late 1950s have been labeled for using ….. “sick comedy” ….. by mainstream journalists, have also been labeled with “black comedy”. …. ha

      • Sounds like a lame excuse, doesn’t it? Similar to the lie that only whites can be racist. That gives everyone else carte blanche to be racist against whites, with no repercussions. The leftist “artists” always have some rationalization for why they can disrespect and insult others with no repercussions (but they sure can’t take their own medicine, can they)? Yes, after Black Lives Matter, we’re all aware of the concept of making others uncomfortable. Just another excuse and rationalization for bullying, racism, rudeness, disrespect, vandalism, and criminal harassment. If any of those excuses fail, then they can fall back on the excuse that the victim asked for it.

  7. swampy … GRIFFIN … life style …IT’s ….NEVER FUNNY! or IS IT?

  8. then …we HAD ….LENNY BRUCE …dead at 40 …overdosed…
    his wife “HONEY”…had …6 ABORTION’s … & one daughter which
    they fought over ..??? ..sad Jewish / America ??? HUMORIST? O’



    • My guess is that this “host” is an embarrassment to CNN. Let’s hope. Fired yet? Should be. Guess from the name the host isn’t prejudiced.

    • EXCELLENT comment at that link:


      1. You said nothing when Obama used drone strikes to execute people abroad.
      2. You said nothing about Russia for 50 years until Trump was inaugurated.
      3. You said nothing about Hillary’s campaign manager’s brother being paid $175,000 to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia.
      4. You said nothing when Obama engaged in military interventionism in Libya without Congressional approval.
      5. You said nothing Obama greatly expanded presidential power through the use of Executive Orders.
      6. You said nothing when Obama filled his White House with lobbyists after he said he wouldn’t.
      7. You said nothing when Obama gave 47 of his fundraisers Administration jobs.
      8. You said nothing about the murders and rapes at the hands of illegal immigrants.
      9. You said nothing when Hillary’s net worth rose over $100 million as Secretary of State, in part, because her husband took money from foreign governments.
      10. You said nothing after Obama’s net worth rose over $10 million as President.
      11. You said nothing when Obama’s Justice Dept. wiretapped/surveilled reporters such as James Rosen and the AP.
      12. You said nothing when Obama restricted immigration 6 times with Executive Orders.
      13. You said nothing when Obama set a record for deportations.
      14. You said nothing when Bill Clinton met Loretta Lynch on the airport tarmac during the Clinton investigation.
      15. You said nothing when Hillary was fed debate questions.
      16. You said nothing when Obama and Hillary lied about a video and Benghazi.
      17. You said nothing when Obama’s IRS abused the rights of taxpayers.
      18. You said nothing when Obama’s White House held meetings with lobbyists in coffee shops near White House to avoid disclosure requirements.
      19. You said nothing when Eric Holder sold the guns you hate to criminals and some were used to kill Americans.
      20. You said nothing when the Clinton’s took White House property.
      21. You said nothing when Hillary laughed off defending a child-rapist.
      22. You said nothing when Hillary lied about her private use of a private email server as Secretary of State.
      23. You said nothing when Janet Reno, under Bill Clinton, used a tank to kill the Branch Dividians.
      24. You said nothing when, on May 13, 1985, a bomb was dropped on a row house in Philadelphia to uproot the black liberation group known as Move, resulting in a fire that eventually burned down 61 houses, killed 11 people (including five children) and injured dozens.
      25. You said nothing was Elian Gonzales was forcibly deported using guns.
      26. You said nothing when George Soros paid protesters to burn parts of Ferguson.
      27. You said nothing about states’ rights until Trump’s Executive orders on immigration.
      28. You said nothing about Obama’s smoking.
      29. You said nothing about the record numbers of people on government assistance.
      30. You said nothing about the number of part time and low paying jobs under the Obama recovery.
      31. You said nothing when Obama had SWAT teams raid a Gibson guitar factory and seize property, on the purported basis that Gibson had broken India’s environmental laws—but no charges were filed.
      32. You said nothing when Obama claimed that the Fort Hood shooting was “workplace violence” rather than terrorism.
      33. You said nothing about when Obama ended some terror asylum restrictions, by allowing asylum for people who provided only “insignificant” or “limited” material support of terrorists.
      34. You said nothing when the national debt doubled under Obama.
      35. You said nothing when 9 times the Supreme Court unanimously overturned Obama’s expansive use of Executive Power.
      36. You said nothing when Obama dismissed charges filed by Bush Administration against New Black Panther Party members who were videotaped intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling station during the 2008 election.
      37. You said nothing when Obama released Guantanamo detainees were released and went back to kill Americans.
      38. You said nothing when Obama unilaterally changed Congressional law by Executive Order.
      39. You said nothing when Obama fired an inspector general after investigating an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant received by a nonprofit run by former NBA star and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson.
      40. You said nothing about the 36 Obama’s executive office staffers that owed $833,970 in back taxes
      41. You said nothing when Obama Killed four Americans overseas in counter-terrorism operations without a judicial process.

      So if you are voicing your objections about three months of Trump, I’m sorry… we can’t hear you because you said NOTHING before!!!

    ‘RUN, HIDE, TELL’…
    ‘On the floor!’ Video shows police barging into pub…

    in a town …. NEAR ….U >>>> SOON <<<< ? bets R ON!!!!!!

  11. ^^^ SO …a LOT of people …A lot of DEATHS!!! A LOT of DEATHS
    cus’ we HAVE ….. a LOT of PEOPLE???

    NOT …,ADDRESSING the >>> R E A L >>> PROBLEMS? O’!


    • ~ hihellothere • a day ago

      Britain celebrates DIE-versity.

      The D’s, EU, May, and ISIS, will figure out a way to BLAME TRUMP, or even Barron, for being BULLIES and meanies against their new fellow Jihadist: KATHY, the ISIS Decapitator, & soon to be AKA, The Unknown Comic!

      Remember that MAY, & the MSM, were madder & more focused on LEAKS, again deflecting & blaming Trump, than the Manchester jihadists.

      Remember too that Trump & Global Warming are a Bigger Threat than ISIS & he surely planned this attack so SCOTUS could approve his Muslim ban.

  12. Chance the Rapper was born as Chancelor Bennett.
    Has a daughter Kinsley (b.September 2015).
    His father used to work for then- …….Senator Barack Obama. …O’!!!
    Is the first artist to be nominated for a Grammy with a streaming-only album.
    Merited a place in TIME magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People” issue with an homage written by Common. [May 2017]

  13. Telegraph News
    General Election
    disrupted by terrorism for second time
    within two weeks ….. what’s NEXT???

  14. POTUS jealous of Obama accomplishments. But in the end, American innovative spirit is stronger than his insecurities.
    — Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) June 2, 2017
    ~ what a friggin’ weenie ….HAHAHA!!!

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