“Businesses Swallowed by Digitalization”

(Rosario G. Gómez, El País, 30 Enero 2019)

"The platform economy has new rules of the game, even for the taxi sector"

Progress has affected, and even sank, a whole array of businesses. Digitalization has generated new activities, jobs and professions. The automobile industry, the electricity sector, paper money, etc., are examples of activities that have experienced sharp changes. In recent years, newspapers have closed, cinemas have disappeared in some cities, and libraries are more difficult to find. Doormen have been replaced by automatic doors, kids don’t carry notebooks but tablets in their backpacks and encyclopedias have been replaced by Google. Knowledge is in the Internet. Digitalization has swallowed many businesses. An example is Eastman Kodak, a firm that disappeared in 2004, with the fall of the Dow Jones, after 74 years being a part of this Index. Technology has destroyed benefits and jobs. The platform economy has established new rules of the game. As Evgeny Morozov remembers, hotels used to offer services based on hospitality. Now, Airbnb limits this to connecting hosts and guests; Amazon links booksellers and buyers, and Uber connects drivers and passengers. Used to a non-competitive market, Spanish taxi drivers are experiencing the effects of digitalization and the so-called “platform capitalism”. Even in this new economic environment, we need a set of codes and obligations to protect consumers’ rights.

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