The political strategy behind ride-sharing lies in pitting the figure of the consumer against the figure of the citizen. As the sociologist Wolfgang Streeck has argued, the explosion of consumer choices in the 1960s and ’70s didn’t only affect the kinds of products people owned. It affected the way those people regarded government services and public utilities, which began to seem shabby compared with the vibrant world of consumer goods. A public service like mass transit came to seem less like a community necessity and more like one choice among many. Dissatisfied with goods formerly subject to collective provision, such as buses, the affluent ceased to pay for them, supporting private options even when public ones remained.

The editors of n+1, “Disrupt the Citizen”