Berlin bans car service Uber

BY BETHAN JOHN for Reuters

Berlin has banned car service Uber, which allows users to summon a ride on their smartphone, for not offering drivers and vehicles licensed to carry passengers, or full insurance cover, the German capital said.

The ban takes immediate effect and Uber risks fines of up to 25,000 euros each time it violates the city’s Public Transport Act, Berlin authorities said in a statement.

Uber said on Thursday it would appeal against the decision, accusing Berlin of denying its people choice and mobility.

“As a new entrant we are bringing much-needed competition to a market that hasn’t changed in years. Competition is good for everyone and it raises the bar and ultimately it’s the consumer who wins,” said Fabien Nestmann, German General Manager at Uber.

Uber Technologies Inc is a hugely successful San Francisco-based company valued at $18.2 billion. It says that it is nothing more than a company which puts people in contact with each other – a marketplace, not a transportation service.

Drivers have to be over a certain age, have a valid driving license, and undergo background checks before they can pick up any passengers.

“Protecting passengers takes priority. As the supervisory and regulatory body, the agency for citizen’s affairs and public order cannot tolerate, that passengers… are entrusted to unlicensed drivers or vehicles, and where in the case of an accident they are not insured,” Berlin authorities said.

Uber has faced regulatory obstacles in some cities and lawsuits from taxi companies hoping to keep new competition out.

The service uses smartphones to connect local drivers with people in need of a ride in 80 North American cities, 24 in Europe, 7 in the Middle East, 4 in Africa and 27 in Asia.

Taxi drivers across Europe caused chaos in June by protesting against the Uber app.

Uber was ordered by a Paris court in early August to change its invoicing system if it wished to continue operating there.

Last month a court in the northern German city of Hamburg suspended a ban on Uber imposed by local regulators, while it considers a complaint by the ride service against the ban.

Ten Commandments Of The Honorable Merchant

In September of 2010 Berlin Museum of Economics and Business administration: scholars rummaged up a yellowed cardboard with the inscription “The Honorable Merchant” in a dusty chamber named “Department of Stored Concepts.” Inside, they detected 10 tablets, each inscribed with a single sentence in ancient handwriting.

  • One goes: “The honorable merchant respects the interests of the owners.”
  • Another one: “The honorable merchant supports the common welfare in the society.”
  • This one’s also nice: “The honorable merchant aims his actions to virtues that create long-term confidence.”

Certainly, anybody today will define current incidents on each of these old-fashioned Words-Of-Wisdom: Hostile takeoversHouse banking scandalHealth care fraud … you can find seemingly endless lists of considerable companies that are convicted of felony offenses, and they’re still in business – or to say it in better words: still busy in corporate crime. In today’s markets economy the antiquated doctrines above seem to be not very useful. The moldy cardboard is probably at the right place, slowly rotting in the department of stored concepts.

Are practices that are morally reprehensible the contemporary vision of our global management caste?

The term “The Honorable Merchant” originates from the 12th century, shaped in the German Hanseatic League and Italy. It was a guiding principle in those ages, but buried in oblivion for the last centuries. Currently it is on everyone’s lips, i.e. the Humboldt University in Berlin (the guys who found the cardboard) now seriously wants to reintroduce the “Virtues Of The Honorable Merchant” in today’s faculties for Management and Business economics — as they declare, not for moral reasons, but because of the stability of society!

My two cents: As an entrepreneur, one should always be conscious about the virtues of decent trade and correct action, anyway. Who is cheating has no customers. But I’m just a bod, the man on the street.

Author: Mathias Roth
Published: September 29, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Top Ten Countries with which the U.S. Trades

For the month of April 2013

                                                  Year To Date
                                    Total in         Total in
                                    Billions         Billions
 Country Name                       of U.S. $        of U.S. $

 Canada                                         54.75           208.98
 Mexico                                         44.24           164.53
 China                                           42.09           167.43
 Japan                                                  17.04            67.11
 Germany                                       13.62            51.55
 Korea, South                                  8.79            34.23
 United Kingdom                              7.81            32.58
 France                                          6.75            24.20
 Switzerland                                   6.32            19.55
 India                                            5.73            20.56

source: http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/top/dst/current/balance.html

Global Update: Retail Sales on the Rise in the EU

Consumer spending may be on the rise in the Euro-zone as indicated by the increase in retail sales this year, and more specifically this August. Sales rose by 0.7% from July but were still 0.3% lower than last year. It is evident that the financial crisis is still luring but these figures indicate a sign of slow but steady recovery.

Consumer spending had been declining since mid-2011. The July and August 2013 figures suggest further recovery in the future. However, retail sales are still below the rates seen before the 2008 financial crisis hit.

Without a doubt Germany has had the fastest growth with Italy notably accounting for its fastest growth in two years. On the other hand, Spain’s economy contracted.

What does the contracting of Spain’s economy signify? Post your comments below!

 

Source: WSJ