Why Uber may never reform itself.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick attends the summer World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China, June 26.

Shu Zhang/Reuters

If there is a single quality that defines Uber, it’s that it is somewhat sociopathic by design: An antipathy toward norms is built into the car-hailing company’s business model. Algorithms determine surge pricing, which often causes prices to spiral precisely when people need them most, like during snowstorms—unless the company opts to turn the surge off. While operating in a regulated industry, Uber has often sought to enter markets without getting the necessary permission, leading to litigation and legislative skirmishes. It doesn’t want to recognize its drivers as employees. Last month, Uber generated outrage—and inspired the #deleteuber hashtag—when drivers accepted fares at John F. Kennedy International Airport as taxi…

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