Steven Hill

Steven Hill is a journalist-in-residence at the Berlin Social Science Center and former senior fellow at New America. He is the author of seven books, most recently The Startup Illusion: How the Internet Economy Threatens Our Welfare (in German) and Raw Deal: How the "Uber Economy" and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers.

Recent Articles

Ridesharing Versus Public Transit

How Uber and Lyft tend to widen disparities of race and class in urban transportation systems

This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . screen_shot_2017-07-19_at_4.28.52_pm.png Many working people rely on public transportation to get to their jobs. Mass transit choices have often been entangled with racial politics as well. So not surprisingly, issues of race and class are reflected in the Uber-ization of our city streets. Even in American cities with subways, public transportation has been poorly funded and provided sketchy service, compared with the efficient and highly functional mass transit systems in most major European or Japanese cities. Taxi service also has been deficient, with a medallion system in major cities that has constrained the supply of taxis and made it difficult to keep up with demand or provide quality service. Not surprisingly, the U.S. rate of private ownership of vehicles is one of the highest in the world. Cheap gas and relatively ample parking contribute to this tilt. When Lyft, followed by...

Uber in Trouble Again

Uber whistleblowers reveal more scandal

AP/Seth Wenig)
Everybody knows that for decades Big Tobacco profited from deception and clever marketing. The companies even conducted their own studies and concluded—surprise, surprise—that tobacco was a safe product with no link to cancer. Now Uber has been caught in a similar ruse. The new revelation, tucked away inconspicuously inside a New York Times story , hasn’t received as much attention as a string of other high profile Uber scandals that has recently shaken the company to its core. But it is perhaps even more significant in its overarching import. The first Uber scandal came about as a result of the Trump administration's ban on Muslim immigrants in late January. In New York City, a taxi strike was launched by Muslim taxi drivers as a protest against the ban. Uber announced that it would suspend “price surging” in the immediate area, which effectively lowered its prices. Suddenly Uber found itself in the middle of a firestorm, accused of trying to break the...

Uber: The Road Not Taken

Why Uber’s business model keeps bleeding money—and how it might yet right itself as a useful but less grandiose venture

Uber, the wildly popular ride-sharing company, now hopes to pioneer both self-driving and self- flying vehicles . But long before Uber gets to that futuristic strategy, the company’s core business model appears to be in serious trouble. There are other roads that Uber might take, ones that could combine the company’s innovative ride-hailing technology with practical solutions to urban congestion and decent driver pay. But Uber and its grandiose CEO Travis Kalanick seem more interested in pursuing mega-profits and mega-gambles. Over the past year, even as its valuation has soared to $69 billion—now greater than Ford, GM, or Tesla—Uber has been losing money at a rate that some tech analysts say is faster than any technology company ever . The company lost “significantly more” than $2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2016, and more than $800 million in the third quarter alone, according to Bloomberg ’s Eric Newcomer . The primary reason is...

How to Fix Social Security? Expand It

Proposals abound to overhaul the Social Security system via means-testing, raising the retirement age, or price adjustments. But the real solution to a fairer, more stable retirement system is Social Security expansion.

(Photo: AP/Matt Rourke)
Below is an adapted excerpt from Expand Social Security Now! How To Ensure Americans Get the Retirement They Deserve by Steven Hill, published by Beacon Press on May 10, 2016. Increasing numbers of workers now find themselves on shaky ground, turned into freelancers, temps, contractors, and part timers. Even many professional jobs are experiencing this precarious shift. Within a decade, it’s been estimated that nearly half of the 145 million working Americans could be impacted, turned into so-called “independent workers” with little job security, insufficient safety-net supports, and poor wages. Add to that new anti-worker methods such as “just-in-time” scheduling and the steamroller of automation, robots, and artificial intelligence already replacing millions of workers and projected to “obsolesce” millions more, and suddenly things don’t look so economically set for a lot of Americans. Now an insidious mash-up of Silicon Valley...

Evictions and Conversions: The Dark Side of Airbnb

How the popular matching company facilitates landlord conversion of entire rental buildings to de facto hotels. 

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
This article appears in the Fall 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . “Belonging is the idea that defines Airbnb,” says its young, 34-year-old billionaire CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky. “Really, we’re about home. You see, a house is just a space, but a home is where you belong. … That is the idea at the core of our company: belonging.” Airbnb has captured the imagination of both travelers and homeowners. Most of its hosted rentals are an inexpensive, adventurous way to travel, as well as a source of extra money for some residents. Airbnb is cool. No question, there is a legitimate and innovative use for web and app-based companies that match residents and travelers. Craigslist was an early, successful pioneer in this digital space. Launched in a San Francisco apartment just seven years ago, Airbnb has taken this service to a dramatically new level of expansion. It has become a global behemoth with a market valuation of $...