Platform tax, platform neutrality

How about taxing platforms for all the efforts that governments would make on their behalf?

This approach has two benefits:

  • it eliminates the usual problems with self regulated industries (corruption, hiding data, independent branches, operating through fake front companies and so forth)
  • it eases business and does not hamper growth (taxes are easy to integrate into a business plan)

Modern disruptors are all based on growth as a mechanism for advancing disruption. AirBnB would be just a classifieds site, if you would take away global reach and global features. Without easy global reach and features which are specifically designed to help a global spread, there is no disruption, especially in a field as consolidated as the hospitality industry is.

Companies should not be able to regulate their industries better than governments. If that is the case, than the government has a problem. And, the fact is, most governments have many problems and the biggest they have is not enforcing regulations. At the same time, companies that turn profits but would incur government spending to keep their base activity safe (in this case safe for renters and for hosts) should contribute to that spending (probably integrally) by the means of a tax. This is where the platform tax would step in. It is a form for AirBnB and others to keep fast and agile while at the same time fairly contributing to an effort for safety of everyone involved.

Making regulations that oblige platforms to have their own inspectors would make artificial internal structures that handle issues which are out of the scope of the business. This will be a nail in the coffin for global disruption.

Liberal business benefits from government partnership.

We must let what makes economical sense happen, but at the same time protect people from any unintended consequences. And what is a better suited role for a state or government than to step in and make sure industries work as expected and people are safe? If the money for that comes from the businesses and the logistic and infrastructure from the government it could be a win win solution.

Accidents should almost always be handled by insurance.

Which even in this case was. Of course, if my family was involved in this, instead of “others”, my tone and voice would be far more vitriolic. But I would still think the hosts are the ones to ““blame” for the accident” (yes double double quotes), more than a business that refunded the service it provided (it did, right?). It was the host’s tree not AirBnB’s.

In my opinion platforms should do two things:

  • submit data from their systems to government enabled agencies
  • pay a platform tax for the government work done in their industry

The government then could have a sharing economy system in place that protects humans from the failure to abide regulations, of any side participating on the platform.

Insurance companies will have the cost of accidents like its only normal to be.

Fines for missed regulations go to the platform’s users, not to the platform.


I too dislike founder speak such as “soul searching” for a logo … Sending an investigator for first contact is a shit move, but that is what corporations do. Corporations don’t have feelings. Lawyers will always seek ways to lower liability, but then they will do it for both humans and corporations, this is what they charge for.

The article is heart breaking and the hinted direction, in my opinion, should not be adding barriers to entry and growth hindering on a young economic sector: the sharing economy. But remember that I didn’t loose a dear dad in a transaction mediated by AirBnB, and my emotional and rational approach would probably be more nuanced if it were the case, so, again, its an opinion.