All over the world, attempts are being made to block/ban app based cab services like Uber and Ola, on one fraudulent pretext or another. This is being done under pressure from existing taxi union mafia. But in all these attempts, one person who is the most important guy in the equation is being totally ignored: the customer. Customer is the person who actually pays for the existing taxis also. If he is getting something cheaper and better, how can any government even think of forcing him to pay more and get less? If there are laws which enable the government to do this, there is something very seriously wrong with the laws.
Of course this may, or even will, put existing conventional taxis out of business. But as far as protecting workers of existing businesses against innovations is concerned, well, wheel put the palanquin bearers out of business, bridges put boatmen out of business, railway put horse carriages out of business, airlines put passenger ships out of business, textile frame put handlooms out of business, cars put horse carts out of business, motorcycles put horses out of business, guns put sword makers out of business. Cellphone companies put landlines out of business, email has almost put post offices out of business, SMSes put greeting card makers out of business. Did society ever do anything to protect those who went out of business at various stages? Have those people starved to death? In reality human beings are now better fed, better clothed, better housed, better medicared than they have ever been in history, and only because of those innovations, and only because those innovations were not blocked to save the livelihood of the workers of the existing businesses providing those services.
All these cries for “protection” by the existing businesses against innovations is a racket, a fraud against the general public. These cries must never be answered. Had society listened to palanquin bearers, wheel would have been burned by its inventor. Imagine a world without wheel!
Innovations make things better, cheaper, and more widely available. Only kings and super wealthy had horse carriages. Once cars put horse carriages out of business, now even the lower middle class folks own cars; which are modern and better horse carriages. Only kings had horses to ride, now go to any slum, yes, slum, and you would find rows upon rows of motorcycles, the modern and better horse, lined up for the poorest to ride, and they ride them. All that is good in the world is because innovations were not blocked to save existing businesses; and innovations have brought to average citizens comforts which were available only to the kings just a hundred year ago.
CFL bulbs of course put filament bulb makers out of business. But they drastically cut our electricity bills. Now LED bulbs are about to do to CFL bulbs what CFL bulbs did to filament bulbs, and our electricity bills will come down even more. In fact India may become electricity surplus even at present installed generation capacity, because of LED bulbs. Imagine if government had blocked CFL/LED bulbs to save the filament bulb makers!
It is of course undeniable that each innovation leads to loss of livelihood for somebody in the market. But in the long run society becomes wealthier, and far more jobs get created than destroyed. There are now more jobs in the world than ever before, even after all the innovations that have taken place. And innovations only have made the world a place our ancestors thought was possible only for Gods. Even a man of nineteenth century, if he were to see today’s world, would call it a magic show.