Week 2 – Discussion
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Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
Capitalism and Socialism: Case Study: Uber
This discussion assignment requires you to submit at least four posts: an initial post, two reply posts to fellow students in threads other than your own, and a revised post.
Prepare: Your initial post in this discussion must be informed by the required material for this discussion. The required material for this discussion will introduce you to what is new about Uber as a business model, the profit incentive in business, and how laws can make or break innovation in business. Your preparation should focus on the characteristics of capitalism and socialism, as well as other business concepts presented in the required material. Since your initial post in this discussion will examine the relation between running a business such as Uber and the laws and economic system of the nation(s) in which it operates, make sure to comb the material on Uber for laws, regulations, and the economic setting that affect its operations. You are encouraged to research relevant laws and regulations to make sure that you have current information. You will also need to review the material on the three ethical theories employed in the Week One Discussion as you will draw from that material for this week’s discussion too.
Reflect: Keep in mind that Uber has presented itself into the market not as a transportation service but as a service that pairs consumers with ride sharing services by means of a unique phone app. But some sources—including the taxi industry and one California court finding (details in the required material), as well as the characterization of Uber presented in Section 3.4 of the textbook—seem to challenge this branding. According to these sources, Uber is avoiding laws that apply to the transportation industry and, thereby, usurping a rightful place that the taxi industry has carved for itself. Consumers, on the other hand, have shown their preference for Uber by a high demand for its services in the USA and abroad, including those countries in which Uber has been banned. Compared to taxis, Uber offers consumers an efficient system for procuring a ride even in remote areas where taxis do not frequent, a convenient payment method (no need for cash, and fares can be split among different users on the same ride), and significantly cheaper fares compared to taxis. In many instances, Uber cars come equipped with water, candy, and magazines, all for free. Uber drivers are also better off because they keep the majority of the fares for the rides that they service, which is exactly the opposite case of taxi drivers, and they can choose when they want to work. Clearly, this is a controversial case and thus very apt for the examination for this discussion.
Keep in mind that a nation’s economic system is shaped by the laws that are in place. Accordingly, laws (including state regulations and local ordinances) will give you a clue for the kind of economic system that exists. Keep in mind also that most nations have mixed economies and there is probably no economic system that purely represents socialism or capitalism. So you will find a different combination of both socialism and capitalism in any nation that you are examining.
Write: You have four tasks for your initial post. In order to present an organized post, address each one of these tasks in a separate paragraph and in the following order. Your first task is to articulate the economic system (or combination of characteristics of both socialism and capitalism) that such laws depict. Your second task is to examine the laws that either support or limit the operations by Uber. Your third task is to analyze how your findings from your first and second tasks affect Uber. And your fourth task is to present your moral position with regard to Uber. For this latter task, you will need to identify one of the three ethical theories covered in the Week One (utilitarianism, deontology, or virtue ethics) as support for the moral position that you are taking. For example, you may hold the moral position that Uber is morally justifiable because it provides a good for consumers that fills in a gap that had not been met by the taxi industry. Or you may take the position that Uber’s positioning in the market is morally wrong.
Revise: Read the feedback provided by your professor to your initial post, either directly to you or to your fellow students. Use this as an opportunity to learn from your professor, especially with regard to the best ways to apply the course material and your research to your analysis. On the basis of what you have learned in this process, post an improved revision of your initial post that applies the additional knowledge that you have gained.
Remember that your grade depends on the quality of your initial and revised responses, not just on the submission of an attempt at improvement. It is thus to your advantage to post the best initial post you can and then to also improve that best effort as much as you can through revision. Taking this process seriously will help you develop the skills you need to do well on the Final Project.
Requirements for Your Initial Post:
- Your initial post should be at least 400 words in length and have citations and references in APA notation. It should address the prompt in its entirety. This means that you should not split your response to the prompt in multiple posts. Your examination should be both thorough and succinct. This is a combination that demands time and thought, so give yourself sufficient time to draft and revise.
- Please be advised that until you post, you will not see what your fellow students are posting. Once you submit your post, you will be able to view the posts from your other classmates. You can then proceed to reply to at least two different threads based on the required material for this discussion.
- Your list of references for your initial post should include the video and the other required material for this discussion, including Section 1.3 of the textbook on Starbucks, as well as the Instructor Guidance and any other announcements presented to you by your professor. Use all of the material presented to you in the course and by your professor, in addition to any other sources that you consulted to inform yourself about the case (but not Wikipedia or similar sources).
- Your research should seek scholarly articles or articles that offer factual or otherwise verifiable information. Your initial post for this discussion should be submitted no later than the end of Thursday (11:59 pm, U.S. Mountain time).
Requirements for Replies to Other Threads:
- At least two of the four posts required should be in the form of replies to fellow classmates in threads other than your own.
- Each of your replies should be at least 200 words, and informed by the course material. As such, the replies must have citations and references in APA notation. Your list of references for each reply should include all of the course material that has informed your reply, in addition to any research that you have obtained on your own.
- Your replies should focus on the specific examination presented by your fellow students. Address (a) the characteristics of the relevant economic system as presented by your fellow student, (b) the analysis of how laws and/or the economic system affect Uber, as presented by your fellow student, or (c) the moral judgment presented by your fellow student. For any of these choices, you should examine whether the examination or analysis was carried out accurately and successfully. You are encouraged to disagree and challenge what was presented by your fellow student. This does not constitute an attack on your fellow student but an attempt to arrive at a better understanding and application of the material. But you need to provide reasons and support for your disagreement or challenge and propose a more accurate or defensible alternative.
- As mentioned in the Week One discussion, keep in mind that although the notion of the moral good will vary among ethical theories, they often produce the same or similar results. So make sure to distinguish (a) the intent and (b) the consequences of the action under examination.
Requirements for Revising Your Initial Post:
- Submit a revision of your initial post by either replying to your own post or to the feedback provided to you by your professor.
- There is no minimum word requirement for your revised initial post. But you should always explain the reasons for revising your post so that it is clear what you are doing. If you are revising only a few words, or an application of an ethical theory, you should avoid submitting a post with vague language such as: “duty ethics works better here” or “I did not consider the economic system.” It is important to recognize that no one can read your mind so you need to provide the setting for your revision (Why? What prompted it? What course material informed you?), and it is important to write in clear language and complete sentences.
- Your revised initial post is your chance to correct any oversights or errors in your initial post, or to show your improved understanding of the material and its applications to the case at hand. You may, for example, come to the realization that another ethical theory is better than the one that you initially employed to support your position. Accordingly, your revision should indicate that you chose another ethical theory and an explanation why you find the replacement more suitable. Or, you might have realized that your conclusion did not take into account important factors necessary for your evaluation of the situation.
- You should maximize the improvement of your initial post by employing your professor’s feedback as a guide. Keep in mind that you may not always receive direct feedback from your professor. But your professor will have submitted feedback in the discussion to other posts. So read your professor’s feedback whether it is addressed to you directly or to other fellow students. This will give you much to think about and apply to your own post.
- If your professor or a fellow classmate responds to your revised initial post, and on this basis, you find good reason to submit yet another revision, then by all means do so. The more you improve your initial post, the more you will benefit both in terms of your learning and most likely your grade.