Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The grey side of the sharing economy

Excellent article in the New York Times, describing what it's like to work for Uber, Lyft, Taskrabbit.. - trying to collect a decent income from lots of little tasks. 

The article is well balanced, it seems, showing both how the sharing economy bypasses a lot of the workers' rights and protection that have been built up over decades - but also acknowledging that this is an opening available for those who might otherwise not have employment. 

A couple of quotes: 

"In the promising parlance of the sharing economy, whose sites and apps connect people seeking services with sellers of those services, Ms. Guidry is a microentrepreneur. That is, an independent contractor who earns money by providing her skills, time or property to consumers in search of a lift, a room to sleep in, a dry-cleaning pickup, a chef, an organizer of closets."

"In a climate of continuing high unemployment, however, people like Ms. Guidry are less microentrepreneurs than microearners. They often work seven-day weeks, trying to assemble a living wage from a series of one-off gigs. They have little recourse when the services for which they are on call change their business models or pay rates. To reduce the risks, many workers toggle among multiple services".

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