The Gig Economy

Proponents of the so-called “Gig Economy” say that while traditional jobs are disappearing, we should be happy about the new spate of “entrepreneurial” jobs that will replace them. True, we won’t have paid vacations, retirement plans or sick leave, or much pay for that matter, but we’ll be independent, free as a bird to fail or succeed.

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10 thoughts on “The Gig Economy

  1. There’s nothing more appealing to the upper classes – or the 1 %, as the current idiom seems to be – than the sight of the lower classes (the 99 %) fighting each other for scraps. Without a modicum of economic security and a sense of solidarity, there is not way the latter can maintain a concerted and sustained opposition to oppression by the former. That is why these two elements have evers been at the forefront of working people’s struggles and demands….

    Henri

  2. Gosh, I guess the simple answer is GREED. I have a relative who started out in life with very little, and through a process of skills and luck, is now fairly wealthy – at least in the top 5%. Now, you might think that this person would be satisfied with this, especially having grown up knowing what the lack of income can mean as far as when or what kind of clothes you can buy, food, and shelter. But no, this hasn’t happened. Now that they can buy pretty much anything they want, including a couple of million dollar homes for only 2 people to live in, the only thing that rings their bell now is more money and more power. Once you have pretty much all you need for a good life, it seems that many people can only respond to more and more money and power. So here you have it. I know everyone is not like this, but it only takes a few people like this to drive income inequality, etc.

  3. I’m not sure this is the right fight. Employers don’t want to be in the business of providing “benefits,” and it’s not really in workers’ interest either. There have been decades of stupid drama about health care because people lost access to health care when they lost their jobs. Health care shouldn’t be dependent on employment, and neither should “sick leave,” “paid vacation,” or “retirement.” These are all just special cases of the general problem of how (and whether) to have a decent standard of living for people who are not currently working for money.

    • For all the flack boomers get about the economy, many of us were the first casualties of the new normal. We saw our nest eggs evaporate, we saw upward mobility die out, we were the first American generation which couldn’t expect to live better than their parents.

  4. Rousseau’s notion of “natural rights” comes to mind. In Rousseau’s take on it, the individual lived (before government) in a “natural” state in which, oh, that person has food and shelter, so I can take it by force because it is my “natural” right to do so if I can.

    Then government came along. People lived together because it was beneficial. Many people could build cities while the stray individual could only subsist. But, in order for the city/the village/the group to work, everyone had to surrender the “natural” right to just take whatever they wanted.

    It was a tradeoff. You came out ahead on the deal by surrendering those “natural” rights at the gate.

    Now, we have the system in which we have all the burdens of surrendering our “natural” rights but none of the benefits of co-existing. Jobs are without benefits, people are treated as widgets, and so forth.

    So what’s to keep us all from not doing whatever we please as the “gig” economy ascends?

    • I like Marx’s take on it – feudalism is a historical necessity. You’d never get all those naturalists to cooperate voluntarily. Add some coercion, stir in a little inequality, simmer for a few hundred years and viola! Civilization.

      TODAY, we’ve got enough wealth & education to sustain civilization without coercion, along with a high standard of living for everyone.

      So why ain’t it workin’?

      • Why isn’t it working?

        The comments of Michael Parenti, below, may help explain:

        “”There’s only one thing that the ruling circles throughout history have ever wanted, and that’s everything. There’s only one thing they want: all the wealth, the treasures, and the profitable returns, all the choice lands and forest and game and herds and harvests and mineral deposits and precious metals of the earth, all the productive facilities and gainful inventiveness and technologies, all the control positions of the state and other major institutions, all public supports and subsidies, privileges and immunities, all the protections of the law and none of its constraints, all the services and comforts and luxuries and advantages of civil society with none of the taxes and none of the costs.

        Every ruling class in history has wanted only this: all the rewards and none of the burdens. Their operational code is, We have a lot. We can get more. We want it all. And if you don’t know that, you’re in a sad place. If you know that and you don’t know anything else, you know more than if you know everything else and you don’t know that.”

        From “Fascism: A False Revolution”
        http://tinyurl.com/4x7synt

      • Why isn’t it working?

        The comments of Michael Parenti, below, may help explain:

        “”There’s only one thing that the ruling circles throughout history have ever wanted, and that’s everything. There’s only one thing they want: all the wealth, the treasures, and the profitable returns, all the choice lands and forest and game and herds and harvests and mineral deposits and precious metals of the earth, all the productive facilities and gainful inventiveness and technologies, all the control positions of the state and other major institutions, all public supports and subsidies, privileges and immunities, all the protections of the law and none of its constraints, all the services and comforts and luxuries and advantages of civil society with none of the taxes and none of the costs.

        Every ruling class in history has wanted only this: all the rewards and none of the burdens. Their operational code is, We have a lot. We can get more. We want it all. And if you don’t know that, you’re in a sad place. If you know that and you don’t know anything else, you know more than if you know everything else and you don’t know that.”

        From “Fascism: A False Revolution”
        tinyurl.com/4x7synt

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