These revelations reveal the political credulity and negligence that has surrounded the growing power of Silicon Valley
• What are the Uber files? A guide to cab-hailing firm’s ruthless expansion tactics
There were taxis before there was Uber, just as there were bookshops before Amazon and friends before Facebook. A large part of innovation is new ways to deliver old ideas. Technology gives the innovator an edge by lowering costs, enabling nimbler delivery and outcompeting established traders who are stuck with obsolescent methods.
That is the foundational myth of Silicon Valley folklore. It was the story that Uber propagated about itself in the years of its most explosive growth from a service for hailing rides around San Francisco to a global tech powerhouse. Here was the archetypal digital disruption – an app to match demand to supply with a slickness that blew competition off the road.
Rafael Behr is a Guardian columnist