The concept of bringing private companies “public” by listing shares of the firm on a stock exchange, for the reason of raising capital needed to plough into the company to buy equipment, pay for new projects or research, etcetera, instead of asking for loans from banks, was already problematic in the days of the largely brick-and-morter economies, but in recent decades is especially so, and Uber is a perfect example. The reason for going public is not so that Uber can gain capital to build up its business, but rather is a way for founders and top executives to become shamelessly rich overnight. The founders of private companies have a much more direct responsibility to have a good working relationship, and even “to care about” their employees (who ALSO make sacrifices for the good of the company), as compared to those same companies when they go public, get rich, and then shift their focus from making a good product/service and taking care of its people, to doing whatever it can to keep investors and prospective shareholders enthusiastic about the company and seeing employees only as a cost that needs to be constantly trimmed back, for the benefit of shareholders.
But this is not just an Uber issue.
The stock market in its entirety is rotten and makes very little sense anymore. The only time a shareholder’s purchase of stock is equivalent to a cash infusion to the company itself (something that benefits the company) is the IPO event. After the IPO, shares trading hands is purely at the level of a casino, with no direct link from investors to the company. Shareholders after an IPO do not, with their purchase of stock, support a company, so the company is in NO WAY beholden to those gamblers. Considering that the average shareholder holds a particular company’s stock for not more than a few years before selling it and buying something else, what sense at all does it make for company execs to say “we’re working for our shareholders”? Those executives are only hoping to see the price of the company stock rise until they themselves decide to check out, sell their own shares, make a bundle of cash and forget about the people they used to work side by side with.
Of course this is a simplification, but it is true for a large part percentage of the shareholder economy. It is another form of feudalism, and is build on the premise of the elite class and the slave class. How much longer are the slaves going to take this?