Voices from the on-demand economy

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/03/voices-from-the-on-demand-econ.html


I wonder how often people are turning to “on demand” work out of choice vs. out of lack of alternatives. I think the distinction matters. Flexibility in one’s work can be a great asset. Lack of access to a steady income, benefits, and a reasonable amount of time off is never an asset. The ability to plan for one’s personal future depends upon some sort of stable income.


It’s funny how the articles that breathlessly describe the casual, on demand workforce of tommorow… today! always seem to feature stories of people who are less affluent and seem to be scraping by at the verge of making a substance living.

Funny how much the future basically looks like companies finding ways to eliminate all the worker protection laws that have happened since the 1800s… esurfs are the new rage!


I don’t think this is a good trend.


Exactly! What makes us think these new corporations are benevolent? Their ads are hip?


It doesn’t help that a lot of corporations are going for employment by gig agencies as well. A whole lot of my job nibbles so far have been for 6/12 month extendable contracts through the agency rather than direct to the company.
Because contractors are easier to bring in and cut back on compared to regular employees.


Yep. If we’re going to move to the gig economy full bore, we need a set of social structures in place to make sure more of us don’t fall through the cracks. If that means an incredibly vast expansion of the social safety net by the state, then these gig companies are going to need to pay their share of taxes to fund it. It might be cheaper for them in the long run to do so. The question is how we do that, as we have been or do we move ahead into a system that includes a basic income that people supplement via gig jobs? This is a libertarian answer to the question, I think, FWIW. I do think we need to debate these and work out any kinks and make it people centric and not prone the market vagaries if something like this is to work. I still wonder if it’s a boon to corporations to have a basic income model by the state, where they can continue to cut costs by underpaying employees.

So much to consider and the changes are happening so rapidly that it’s hard to get a handle on things.


This is the biggest problem. I think the change to a guaranteed base income and doing work for extra goodies in life would be a great thing but we have so much history and tradition to overcome ( as I have said elsewhere stupid protestant work ethic crap ) that the changes are going to be hard for a lot of people to accept, yay everyone is a welfare queen! But having things like your basic food/shelter/education taken care of will actually lead to less people cause they have other options than being a parent and when you do take a job it won’t be for reason of need to pay the rent so there will be less stress about surviving your wages.


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