Whatever I feel like talking about.
posted by David Friedman @ 12:37 PM
This is an extension of the ride-sharing features already supported by Uber (UberPool) and competitor Lyft (Lyft Line). With those, you input your location and destination and wait a minute or two while they try to find another customer requesting a similar route, and you end up riding together. I have used both of those services quite a bit in the SF Bay Area, and it works reasonably well, although I will typically just the extra to be the only customer in the car since it guarantees faster service.
So what are products or enterprises in the same vein which *aren't* being built?
Somebody needs to revive the Tontine, which allows a group of unrelated people to pass their accumulated wealth to the last man standing. It would also work in the form of reciprocal wills between two strangers who have no natural heirs. Each would have a chance benefit greatly from a tax-blessed inheritance and the notorious bump-up of basis. Anonymity would eliminate any risk of a murder plot, which in any case already exists in wills involving family members and acquaintances. Everybody wins but the Taxman and maybe the Salvation Army and other charities.
Even better than the Tontine I just described would be a plan that distributed the estate of the participating deceased among all the others according to an actuarially-sound formula. Competing plans could be listed on a Chicago Tontine exchange.
David, what were the barriers to Jitney being adopted? Municipal legislation, or were no entrepreneurs interested?
The Jitneys were regulated out of existence due to pressure by the trolley companies. For details see:Ross D. Eckert and George W. Hilton, ‘The Jitneys’, Journal of Lawand Economics 15 (2) (October 1972), 293-325.
When Uber came out I rejoiced that tech had found a way to get around the state and give us the jitney system
Jitney service never completely disappeared. Badger Cab in Madison WI has run a shared-ride zone fare system since 1946.
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