Information, classification and contestability: a cultural economics approach to Uber’s entry into the taxi industry

Originally published in The Review of Austrian Economics

Because of their novelty, the rise of large platform companies, such as Uber, pose a genuine challenge to our attempts to classify and understand economic activities. This article utilises a broad view of cultural economics and subjectivist economic analysis to provide some clarity. We see how economic analysis is capable of dealing with companies that provide information based services, and why such industries are increasingly common. Goods, product categories and consumption rituals are all considered as social constructs, and subject to cultural interpretation. The main implication of this approach is how the prevention of exclusion and the elimination of entry barriers are both related and relevant to the well-functioning of market orders.

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