The news that Tfl, the regulatory body for transport in London, had banned Uber because of regulatory failures brought out the usual suspects to support or condemn the move. In addition, the company organised an online petition to reverse the decision, which half a million people have signed. Tyler Cowen declared: “The new Britain appears to be a nationalistic, job-protecting, quasi-mercantilist entity, as evidenced by the desire to preserve the work and pay of London’s traditional cabbies”, and plenty of others took a similar line.
What always strikes me on these occasions is how people can jump to conclusions without any evidence. Now it is certainly true that licensing authorities can be captured by, and therefore favour, incumbents and therefore stifle innovation. They can artificially restrict numbers to drive up prices, although Tfl do not do this. But the fact that this happens sometimes does not mean it is happening every time. Equally companies like Uber can believe that they are so big and popular that they can ignore regulations, regulations which are designed to make the market work. 
It is important to note on this occasion that Uber have not complained about the regulations. Instead they initially said they had complied with them. Surely the time to write articles condemning Tfl’s decision is after Tfl lose the appeal brought by Uber in the courts.
Uber’s boss yesterday apologised for the mistakes they had made. Whether these mistakes are serious enough to warrant revoking Uber’s license the appeals process will decide, or most likely Uber will be allowed a new license on condition that they start taking regulations seriously.
What worries me in this case is the lack of any self-awareness of those who piled in to condemn the regulator without any evidence. Ten years ago the world experienced a devastating financial crisis that was due, at least in part, to a failure of regulations and regulators to do their job that was in turn due to political pressure from those who took a similar attitude to regulations as those championing Uber. And just three months ago around 80 people lost their lives in London from a fire that almost certainly was the result of a failure to comply with regulations.
Regulation bashing has since the financial crisis become one more example of neoliberal overreach. When the two political parties that brought us neoliberalism have today brought us Brexit and a President who seems to want to start a nuclear war, it is time for neoliberals to be thinking about reform rather than just playing the same old tune. Thinking about all that and the 500,000 who signed the pro-Uber petition brought to mind a song of a well known nobel laureate called Talking WWIII Blues, the last verse of which is