We’re seeing the rise of the ‘sharing economy’ as overpaid, redundant, inefficient 9-5 jobs become a thing of the past, replaced by temp workers, automation, or are simply eliminated, or as I wrote in an earlier article, In Praise of Low Wages:
The boom of the freelancer economy, temp economy, and service sector is part of a growing trend where people are being paid for the value they truly create, instead of the inflated wages of the pre-2008 economy. This helps restore the equilibrium between labor and capital, which until recently was too skewed in favor of labor. Lower wages translates into lower prices and a higher standard of living. The growth of temp work has far exceeded total payrolls:
Until recently, you had a job glut of too many people being overpaid, and the 2008 financial problem changed that, putting much more emphasis on productivity, profits and efficiency, which is great for stock prices but not so great, I suppose, for lower-skill workers. This ties into the reputation economy that allows little allowance for errors, and perfection is necessary or else you will get bad reviews and your freelance career will be over. This means better service and accountability, since unlike with a large company where the cost of individual mistakes and incompetence are distributed among the entire firm (occasionally resulting in the company going out of business, as we saw in 2008 with the financial sector), mistakes in the freelancer economy affect only the individual.
Some on the left call this ‘digital serfdom’, but if the people doing this work feel exploited they always have the option to quit and try to get a job at McDonald’s, for example, along with the 2 million others also applying. Good luck with that. Even if the jobs are tedious, have no benefits, and don’t pay that well, these web 2.0 companies provide income opportunities for people who may not have the cognitive capacity to pursue higher paying skills. The left wants jobs, but only if these jobs conform to their exacting, impossibly-high standards, rendering such jobs unprofitable for the employers, and then the left whines about weak job creation as if it’s not their fault, blaming their favorite targets: Republicans and rich white males.