Is technology moving too fast for politicians to keep up with?
Hillary Clinton recently attacked Uber on the same day the company was promoting itself as a solution to the growing problem of senior mobility.
Uber put out a story on its blog about ‘June,’ described as “sprightly, active, and in her 80s,” who downloaded the Uber app on to her smartphone after hearing about it from her grandchildren. “Soon she was riding all over Miami-Dade county, running errands, and visiting with family and friends — all with Uber.”
The blog post went on to point out that “transportation is often one of the greatest challenges for older adults and for community organizations trying to meet their needs. In fact, the Community Transportation Association of America estimates 26 million older Americans depend on others for their mobility.”
Clinton has also come out against “the gig economy,” even though the evidence suggests that it’s not going anywhere soon, and that younger workers may actually prefer it.
I’m not taking any sides here for or against Clinton herself, but there is clearly a disconnect between the way tech is changing our society and the ability of politicians to disengage from past models and battles. Consumers like the convenience and lower prices of Uber, and the taxi monopoly is rightly seen as rigid, expensive and utterly uncompetitive. Tech also drives the search for jobs: it’s no longer a market in which large and rigidly structured groups (be they unions or trade associations) can necessarily protect themselves from competition.
Politicians should get clued in. The Boomer/senior age group is grabbing on to new tech solutions with both hands — not just for mobility, but for health and wellness, money management, travel, education and just about everything else. And they’ll account for almost 60% of all votes cast in the upcoming Presidential election.