Ryan Ferguson: My 5 Favorite Evil Corporations

 Uber

Everyone loves to hate Uber, but there are few companies that have made the world so much better in such a short period of time.

Uber has done significantly more to improve the world than the Red Cross, Unicef, and every other nonprofit.

They have done significantly more to improve the world than the Red Cross, Unicef, and every other nonprofit. They have given millions of people around the world a means to make money and crushed corrupt and exploitative Taxi monopolies.

The public loves Lyft, their feel-good approach, their willingness to comply with regulations, and lack of effective surge pricing, but Lyft can only be the good guy because Uber fought the corrupt governments to establish ride sharing in cities around the world.

Starbucks

There are two distinct groups that dislike Starbucks. One is the hipster, “we should ban Starbucks in Portland” crowd and the Dunkin Doughnuts “why would you pay that much for coffee” crowd. Both miss the awesomeness of Starbucks.

All over the world, this company has created oases for work and human connection. They are promoting great experience design with places like Starbucks Reserve. They deliver a consistently great experience whether you are in Atlanta, or Singapore, or Bangkok, or Mexico. Plus they employ hundreds of thousands of people (more if you consider the massive supply chain), and created the market that allows hipster cafes to exist.

Walmart

I don’t shop at Walmart very often (see below), but they’re a massive value creator for society that everyone hates.

Rich people who prefer to imagine that poor people don’t exist, like to lobby cities to prevent Walmart.

Rich people who prefer to imagine that poor people don’t exist like to lobby cities to prevent Walmart, ignoring how much they have improved the lives of people all over the world. They are the driving force of lowering the prices on all sorts of products. They have democratized wealth by pushing down supply costs and giving people access to inexpensive versions of almost any product available.

Amazon

People don’t actually hate Amazon that much, which is ironic given the vitriol for Walmart–which is likely driven by a dislike of poor people–but I like them enough to put them on the list.

They are the real-life Santa Claus, and whether it is delivering awesome products to our houses, making books available in seconds (Kindle Store + Kindle), providing the backbone for the web (AWS), making great food more affordable (at Whole Foods), or producing great entertainment (like Man in The High Castle), they have increased the awesomeness level of life in 2018 by an extraordinary amount.

If only they would start their own country.

7/11 (and other convenience store companies)

So many people hate on convenience stores and the food you find there. They have become such a staple of modern life that we take them completely for granted. We don’t recognize how exceptional it is to be able to find the same food, which you know is safe and tasty, at almost every single exit from a highway in North America.

Here in Mexico City, there is an Oxxo or 7/11 on almost every other block. If I walk in any direction from my house, I can find bottled water, chips, and a granola bar within 5 minutes. To truly appreciate this you need to travel to a country that doesn’t have convenience stores.

When we were in Myanmar last year, on long bus journeys after fighting off food poisoning, I would have paid $15 for a bag of lays and a Gatorade. Unfortunately, you can’t find either of those things outside of specialty stores in major cities. You have to roll the dice with the food you’re eating, no matter where you are. Of course, the food isn’t great for your long-term health, it’s sugary and fatty, but it is safe, consistent, and satiating. 100 years ago a modern convenience store would seem like a miracle.

Reprinted from author’s personal blog.

Ryan Ferguson


Ryan Ferguson

Ryan hosts the World Wanderers podcast. He has been a participant in Praxis and the Carl Menger Fellow at FEE.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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44 Responses to Ryan Ferguson: My 5 Favorite Evil Corporations

  1. Entropy

    I dislike Starbucks because their coffee tastes very ordinary.

  2. Entropy

    And the reason amazon’s stock price is sooo many multiples of earnings is the market exoects its low rate of return, once it has killed off competition, one day won’t be.

  3. Ryan. Look more closely. Uber copied (ripped off) Lyft’s model. They clearly did it better, but they still copied it.

  4. Infidel Tiger 2.0 (Premium Content Subscribers Only)

    Where’s McDonalds on this list?

    I went to Maccas the other day and had the gourmet menu. It was freaking awesome. They also had an excellent children’s playground and the footy on. Give them a liquor licence and I would stay the day.

  5. Mother Lode

    I dislike Starbucks because their coffee tastes very ordinary.

    Agreed.

    There was a brief spell when there were blooms of Starbucks in Sydney, only differing from algae by being more suffocating and dangerous.

    I only know of one now.

    Still, they have found a market and their success is a measure of how many people they satisfy.

    But the social justice thing is just so much bullshit. Whey they think they have to corporate wet their corporate nappy to emulate the thinking of adolescents who badmouth them no end has me stumped.

    While they are tying themselves in knots doing snowflakes’ vacuous bidding – missing opportunities and blowing money on all the SJW fads, they are leaving themselves prey to the next smart person coming along.

    Chick Fil A decided not to suck up to kiddies and they are going gangbusters. Even people who hate them for their beliefs keep going back.

  6. Tel

    Starbucks created the market for coffee shops?

    If they really did go back to 17th Century Paris and Vienna in order to get Europeans addicted to caffeine then couldn’t they make more money renting out the time machine for other purposes?

  7. WTF? And it’s not even the weekend.

  8. Mother Lode

    Starbucks created the market for coffee shops?

    No, but they found it as it was in America. They didn’t create it – except to the extent that supply creates demand and therefore created that segment of the market.

  9. H B Bear

    I went to Maccas the other day and had the gourmet menu. It was freaking awesome.

    You clearly didn’t have the $5 double beef and bacon lunch thing. I have a pretty high tolerance for shitty food (have even been known to get the odd servo cheese kransky) but that was some inedible shit at any price. Should have had the McFish, no tartare obviously.

  10. Mother Lode

    I had one of their wagyu burgers last week. The tomato was freshly sliced and the lettuce crisp.

    On an empty stomach it went down a treat.

  11. Mother Lode

    Oh, and the wagyu patty was not the flat disc-like thing that they used to have.

  12. JC

    I’m sorry but some of this is incorrect.

    1. Never considered Uber to be an evil corporation. I’m sure most users don’t either. Cabbies of course hate them, but that’s just self serving.

    2. Starbucks aren’t just hated by leftwing hipsters. They’re also despised by the Right for being virtue signaling, sniveling arseholes. But their ice coffee in a summer morning is really good.

    3. I’m not sure if it’s just rich people who hate Walmarts for the only reason that poorer people shop there. There’s this, that you have to put up with. if you go shopping there.

    4. Amazon isn’t an evil corporation, but its CEO is an arsehole and that’s why you should dislike Amazon.

    5. I’ve never heard anyone dissing 7/11 other than they’re too expensive.

  13. Perth Trader

    Any business or business model that works in any country or culture is genius. Starbucks and Mc Donalds both do this without exception.

  14. Perth Trader

    I’m happy that Uber is giving Perth taxis the sh-ts. Perth taxi drivers were rude and unreliable till Uber came on the scene.

  15. Egor

    Starbucks, chuckle. Americans have always had appalling coffee despite mass Italian immigration. Australia learnt from the Wogs (our Wogs) and has a superior average cup. Starbucks, being ideologically correct corporate cultural marxists is where Alinsky would go for a long black, if he wasn’t, thankfully , dead.

  16. Tim Neilson

    I’m happy that Uber is giving Perth taxis the sh-ts. Perth taxi drivers were rude and unreliable till Uber came on the scene.

    There’s nothing like a threat to your job to improve customer service. Nothing else comes close.

  17. Rococo Liberal

    Starbucks failed in Australia because it was so naff and sold shite coffee. It works in the US because they wouldn’t know a decent coffee if it got up and bit them on the posterior.

  18. Cassie of Sydney

    “created the market that allows hipster cafes to exist”. This does not apply to Australia, we had “hipster” cafes serving very good coffee here in Oz long before Starbucks. Also, Starbucks’ coffee is very, very mediocre which is why Starbucks never really took off here. I would rather support my local barista serving excellent coffee than a mediocre multinational. Gosh, I am sounding a little “leftist” there. However I have always liked Maccas, particularly their fries.

  19. Nerblnob

    ExxonMobil: world’s biggest taxpayer. Tries to apply its high standards wherever they work, be out Melbourne or Equatorial Guinea.

  20. Nerblnob

    There are plenty of places where I’ve been glad to see a Starbucks or McDonalds. I use both of them for business meetings when it suits.

  21. Singleton Engineer

    Starbucks was an essential part of my mornings when I worked in Beijing. Never before or since. And, yes, unless you ask for a double shot you are drinking dishwater. Still, they are better than Canada’s Horton’s for coffee.

    Walmart is amazing – there are hundreds in China, everywhere you travel, at great prices. The same beer that I bought in the basement from Walmart was available at 10 to 20 times the price via the minibar, 20 stories up in the same (hotel) building.

    ABC stores in Hawaii (ABC = Any B***dy Corner, or Always Bring Cash or All Blocks Covered – they are everywhere in the cities) are also lifesavers.

    But when you want something more than barely acceptable quality, none of them is any use to me.

    When it comes to 7/11 stores, at least in Australia, their systematic underpayment of employees’ wages ruined them for me. I don’t choose to do business with anybody who has been caught time and time again stealing from their already very low-paid staff. Stuff ’em all.

    I guess that leaves only Uber on your list. I have never seen them in operation, anywhere at all. It’s a total mystery to me. Some day…

  22. rickw

    ABC stores in Hawaii (ABC = Any B***dy Corner, or Always Bring Cash or All Blocks Covered – they are everywhere in the cities) are also lifesavers.

    They’re also in Guam and Saipan, so I guess they learned to swim!

  23. rickw

    When it comes to 7/11 stores, at least in Australia, their systematic underpayment of employees’ wages ruined them for me. I don’t choose to do business with anybody who has been caught time and time again stealing from their already very low-paid staff. Stuff ’em all.

    There shouldn’t be a minimum wage to begin with, I wouldn’t criticise them for short circuiting this bs with full agreement of their workers, who subsequently back-flipped on that agreement.

  24. “underpayment” is inevitable in a land of constant wage rate hikes.
    It’s the offside trap of workplace relations.

    The great thing about Uber is not their prices or jobs they provide but the fact that they solved the supply/demand conundrum with taxis.

    On a big enough scale that you can rely on it.

  25. Bruce of Newcastle

    When a big shopping centre in my area expanded in 2005 they included a Starbucks. Tried it once and thought ho hum.

    A lot of Novocastrians must’ve thought the same as me because it pretty quickly closed its doors.

    And was replaced by…a coffee shop.

    Which is still going strong a decade later.

    Thus endeth the lesson.

  26. Which is still going strong a decade later.

    But nowadays Starbucks apparently has an app, that clearly makes it so much better.

  27. Arky

    All of those companies are shit.
    1. Buy a car.
    2. Why do you need to buy coffee unless you are driving in which case Maccas makes perfectly good coffee.
    3. Buy some decent clothes and stop looking like a slob.
    4. Why do you want things delivered to your home? Don’t you have a job and a car?
    5. What are you buying in 7/11? Unless you are in Taiwan and like those soy eggs that are marinated all day?

  28. Arky

    These are the only corporations you need in your life:
    1. Supercheap Auto.
    2. Maccas.
    3. Coca cola.
    4. Lee jeans.
    5. Ford or Toyota.

  29. Arky

    Maybe:
    6. Westinghouse.
    In case you need to wash your Lee jeans some day.

  30. Arky

    This is what your day should look like:
    You pull on a pair of Lee jeans and drive to work.
    You drive from work to Supercheap to buy some shit for your Ford or Toyota, stopping at the Maccas drive through for A COFFEE ONLY. (not the shit food) Then you go home and fit some parts to your car. Then you go to the fridge and have a Coke.
    This is the day I have every day. If you don’t, you are living all wrong.
    Fix yourself.

  31. George

    Clearly Ryan has not encountered AGL, Telstra, NBNCo and Tesla

  32. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From mh at 7:00 pm:

    Trash. He’s barely literate; doesn’t bother with a civilised “thank you”, because he isn’t; thinks he’s pretty clever with his village idiot grin and unintelligible gibberish, repeated thrice over; refers to being “African” but couldn’t find it on a globe of the world, and wouldn’t like living there being pushed around by the next tribe up in the ranking system – which is what sold the lower levels into slavery in the first place. “Black lives matter” pfffft – not to their brother howler monkeys further up the food chain!

    Pity about the redheaded vacuous child who is willingly doing his bidding, having been force fed the Kool Aid from the time she was born. She has no understanding that his lot would turn on her in an instant and savage her without hesitation.

  33. anonandon

    Seconded for McDonalds. I read Fast Food Nation. Where others saw conspiracy, I saw triumph.

  34. Perth Trader

    Anyone who drives there own car still belongs to the ‘hive’. If I have to get off my sunlounge to pour my own afternoon G&T , that’s a sack able offence. Get some ‘lotto problems ‘ in ya life.

  35. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    “Reparations, white lady. ” – any claim for “reparations” was settled at Appomattox Court House, in April 1865.

  36. Boris

    I would like to share an unusual uber experience. On a trip to Sydney hired an uber and the driver turned out to be part time uber and part time taxi driver. When I suggested this was unusual, and that usually taxi drivers hate uber, he laughed and said that those that hate uber are stupid. He says taxi (that he leases) gets him more money per hour but uber offers amazing flexibility and particularly useful in peak hours.

  37. Boris

    These are all great companies but don’t tell me Starbucks or 7/11 products are tasty.

    I do use Starbucks when I see no other coffee around, but in 7/11 I only buy phone cards (eg on my recent trip to Norway ).

  38. JC

    Boris

    Taste is opinion and it seems a large number of people like Starbucks. I actually like their lattes and iced coffee. The other good thing is that the taste is standardized everywhere you go, whereas you’re chancing it if you don;t go to your fave coffee place. If you’re ever there in the summer, try the iced-coffee, it’s good.

  39. Nerblnob

    That’s not unusual Boris.

    A lot of Uber drivers are past or current taxi drivers.

    It’s the cab companies and their council cronies who hate Uber, not the cabbies.

    Don’t tell me you didn’t get a pølser hotdog in a Norwegian 7/11.

  40. Boris

    Don’t tell me you didn’t get a pølser hotdog in a Norwegian 7/11.

    No they did not look kosher.

  41. Boris

    Taste is opinion

    Sure, I hope Cat readers can understand an implied disclaimer.

    And I agree standartisation is good. Many years ago I claimed that macdonalds revolutionized cheap food, especially in places wher cheap food was usually crap (e.g., UK).

  42. cuckoo

    Used Uber for the first time ever during a recent visit to Los Angeles and became a complete convert. We couldn’t have managed the city without it. Here in Melbourne a young female colleague of mine who is often travelling on her own insists she never takes taxis, only Uber. As she puts it “They’re always on their best behaviour”. As were my (mostly Hispanic) drivers in LA. It also doesn’t hurt that Angelenos are incredibly friendly, polite people.

  43. There are now lots of Starbucks opening again in the Melbourne CBD after all closing down some years ago.
    I find that there is no need to use them here in Melbourne, but when i was in the US last year, Starbucks was like manna from heaven compared to the other coffee offerings. NYC is starting to get a few good coffee places but elsewhere – no thanks.

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