Taxi Wars in South Africa

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 1 2012 8:00 AM

Taxi Wars in South Africa

South African minibus cab.

Wikimedia Commons

I am a proponent of vigorous competition in general and am of the mind that the taxi cab industry in the United States suffers from too little of it, but this story out of South Africa where rival cab associations shoot it out in the streets is a reminder that socially functional capitalist competition is a particular kind of thing:

Large numbers of police were sent to parts of Hendrik Potgieter Road in Ruimsig on Tuesday night to prevent another shootout between two rival taxi associations. On Tuesday, a taxi owner from the Dobsonville, Roodepoort, Leratong and Joburg Taxi Association (Dorljota) was gunned down in a drive-by shooting on the corner of Hendrik Potgieter and Peter roads in Ruimsig.

This is, of course, also how the mafia competes. And as a friend observed in conversation the other night, if Mexican drug trafficking organizations were actual cartels then they wouldn't give the world nearly as many problems. At our best what we do is create systems of law and norms such that firms compete to deliver quality products at appealing prices, without resorting to the competition-by-violence method that seems to kick in where quality governance is absent.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Dear Prudence
Oct. 21 2014 9:18 AM Oh, Boy Prudie counsels a letter writer whose sister dresses her 4-year-old son in pink tutus.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 10:41 AM Taylor Swift Just Went to No. 1 on iTunes Canada With 8 Seconds of Static 
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 21 2014 7:00 AM Watch the Moon Eat the Sun: The Partial Solar Eclipse on Thursday, Oct. 23
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.