February 14 2014
By Post Editorial Board
Over at the Independent Women’s Forum, Abby Schachter describes Ashton Kutcher this way: “He’s handsome, he’s funny and he’s (finally) dating a woman his own age.” But she goes on to celebrate this celebrity because he’s one of the few who knows how to talk about markets.
That’s because in addition to his lead role on “Two and a Half Men,” Kutcher is co-founder of a firm that invests in new technology. These technologies include Uber, which connects people with taxis via a smartphone app, and Airbnb, a Web site that connects people who have space with those who want to rent it.
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this month, Kutcher went on a tear when asked about the problems these companies face. Here’s an excerpt:
“With Uber cab or Airbnb or any of these new peer-to-peer networks,” Kutcher said, “you have old-school monopolies and incumbents, and old-school governments that get kickbacks from various people that don’t want the new guy to come in, so they try to kick them out of their city. But the people are going to have what the people want and the people say they want Uber and the people say they want Airbnb.”
Though Kutcher didn’t mention New York, his point about the openness of cities to new technologies is a timely one.
So far, Mayor de Blasio has been coy about the future for firms such as Airbnb and Uber. Let’s hope it’s not because his supporters include the hotel union and the taxi interests — precisely what Kutcher meant by “incumbents” who may want to stop “new guys” from delivering a familiar service in a new and innovative way.