Taxi europe parking lot Jordi Espel/Flickr

Dernier taxi pour l’Europe

ROME – Le contraste entre les réserves de l’Europe vis-à-vis de l’application Uber et l’accueil plutôt bienveillant aux États-Unis face à ce nouveau service de transport souligne une fois encore à quel point le cadre règlementaire européen, conçu en principe pour défendre les consommateurs, finit par protéger toutes sortes d’intérêts établis et bâillonne l’innovation. Ce contraste montre à quel point les gouvernements européens devraient modifier leurs règlementations, encourager les entrepreneurs à développer des modèles économiques dans leur propre pays, plutôt que d’être obligés à accepter les innovations après qu’elles aient été jugées ‘meilleures pratiques’ à l’étranger.

Les manifestations anti-Uber organisées par les chauffeurs de taxi découlent d’une longue tradition d’opposition des fournisseurs établis aux nouvelles technologies, par crainte qu’elles ne menacent leurs emplois. Mais lorsque les Luddites au début du XIXème siècle, par exemple, avaient protesté contre les nouvelles machines textiles en les détruisant, les autorités n’étaient pas intervenues pour freiner l’arrivée de ces nouvelles technologies. Et la Révolution industrielle a donc apporté avec elle une amélioration sans précédent des niveaux de vie partout dans le monde.

Mais lorsque les supermarchés ont progressivement investi dans le secteur de détail au cours de la seconde moitié du XXème siècle, l’approche des gouvernements européens a changé. De nombreux pays ont mis en place des règles au début des années 1970 visant à protéger les petits commerces encore en activité contre la concurrence, retardant d’autant le développement de systèmes de distribution plus modernes. Une génération plus tard, ces restrictions ont été levées en réponse aux pressions des consommateurs.

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