New York Times: The Gig Economy’s False Promise

The Gig Economy’s False Promise

In reality, there is no utopia at companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Handy, whose workers are often manipulated into working long hours for low wages while continually chasing the next ride or task. These companies have discovered they can harness advances in software and behavioral sciences to old-fashioned worker exploitation, according to a growing body of evidence, because employees lack the basic protections of American law.

The gig economy is feedback-based, meaning those who get a lot of good feedback can possibly generate a decent self-sustaining business from it, but the wages often still don’t pay well relative to the amount of work involved, especially for Americans on Fiver who have to compete with workers from developing countries.

Feedback means gig employees are 100% accountable for whether they succeeds or not. This is good for the economy and the consumer because it means more efficiency, lower prices, and better service, but harder for the gig workers. For regular jobs, the entire company bears the costs of unproductive employees, but gig workers bear full responsibility, and thus any sloth directly impacts gig workers instead of being distributed among the entire firm (kinda like Dilbert, where all the employees but Dilbert and Wally are incompetent).

Contracted work, which is related to the gig economy, will see more growth as the percentage ‘salaried jobs’ continues to decline. This also ties int the rise of the ‘earnership society’ and the decline of entitlement. No one is entitled to job security anymore, as part of the post-2008 trend of the US economy becoming more competitive and efficient than ever.


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