Weekend Thoughts - 4.30.16

Image by Timothy Neesam, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Image by Timothy Neesam, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. It looks like police departments around the world are gearing up (literally) to prepare for widespread rioting on a national scale. Read the following quote and just let it sink in:

Law enforcement agencies around the world are the biggest market for riot control systems. This market is expected to generate revenues of over USD 3.5 billion by the end of 2020. Countries such as the U.S., Iran, Egypt, Russia, China, and Thailand have started procuring riot control equipment and are investing heavily in [non-lethal weapons]. Moreover, special vehicles that are equipped with water cannon and reservoirs have been designed for security personnel, for use in areas of conflict to handle large crowds and demonstration. Demand for such equipment is expected to rise during the next few years.

In North America, the prominent markets are Canada and the U.S. and law enforcement agencies in these nations are best equipped with the upgraded weapons. The militarization of the police department and other law enforcement agencies in the Americas has encouraged the use of advanced riot control equipment.

2. One of the most successful sharing economy apps, taxi-competitor Uber, may be changing it's tipping policy in the near future. This change highlights a somewhat-hidden issue with the sharing economy. If you find yourself thinking "Wow, that's super cheap, how can the [employee] afford that?", then you should assume that the company isn't paying for the price subsidy—the worker is. This allows companies to rake in the profits by undercutting the cost that they charge for their products and services, compared to their competitors, which is great for the company and consumer, but not for the employees. So next time you are about to get out of an Uber, consider tipping the driver. And if the "employees deserve a fair wage" argument doesn't persuade you, you should know that it sounds like moving forward, riders who opt-out of tipping may be penalized when rated by the driver, anyway. Along with the tipping policy change may be changes to waiting time and cancellation time charges for passengers, so keep your eyes out for that as well.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.