Is the gig economy bad for workers? | The Tylt

Is the gig economy bad for workers?

The gig economy promised to let people be their own boss and live their best life—but it's not entirely clear that's happening. Tech companies say workers are happier working in the gig economy. Uber says 85 percent of its drivers choose to drive with Uber because it gives them better work-life balance. But many critics and labor organizations feel it's becoming increasingly clear that tech companies like Uber and Lyft don't have workers' interests at heart. What do you think?

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People are working with services like Uber because they think it's a better deal than a regular job. You don't have anyone to tell you when you need to show up, you can work for as long or as little as you want, and you can spend the rest of your time on your side hustle—or just hang out. That's the beauty of it. 

Millions upon millions of people are satisfied providing and using ride-sharing services with the help of services like Uber and Lyft. Many more are participating in the booming Airbnb phenomenon, turning empty rooms into extra cash rather than wasted overhead. Customers get a great deal and can do business with a trusted broker and real people.

Data shows people genuinely enjoy working for themselves. The reality is the economy is shifting away from the ol' 9-5 career job. The gig economy allows people to supplement their incomes and make money on their own terms. 

And what about the contractors? Based on survey data, it appears they are mostly satisfied. A total of 85% of respondents said a major reason they work with Uber is to have a greater work-life balance. Nine out of 10 say they are finally able to be their own boss, and they love it. And while they reap these benefits, 7 out of 10 claim that they make more money operating this way.
We cannot put the genie back in the bottle even if we wished it. Which we should not. The gig economy is empowerment. This new business paradigm empowers individuals to better shape their own destiny and leverage their existing assets to their benefit. It empowers customers by saving them money and offering far greater flexibility in their arrangements. And it empowers our economy by fostering massive, thriving industries to support these operations.
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Paul Marx argues in Recode that the gig economy is exploiting workers when you look at the big picture. Some people are using Uber and other services to supplement their income, but many others are pushed into the gig economy because it enables and facilitates a shitty job market.

Smiley asserts that the gig economy isn’t about sharing; it’s about service, and it clearly demarcates the served and the servants. While those who are benefitting from the current economic model can pay people to do their errands, many of those on the other side are being pushed into the gig economy by a job market that doesn’t offer fair pay or dependable hours. Workers are faced with an employment outlook that is more precarious than it’s been in decades. The difference is that the gig economy, generally, has a lower barrier to entry.

The gig economy also takes away all the gains made to protect workers from the last century. Services like Uber find subtle ways to control the worker—using algorithms and performance benchmarks—and act like a traditional employer, but without giving workers benefits like a 401k or health care. 

So if the gig economy is characterized by low pay, a lack of benefits and a predatory relationship where the business risks are burdened by the worker, why aren’t workers aren’t abandoning it? Simple — they have no other options. The gig economy isn’t about helping people who are being left behind; it’s about exploiting them because they have to accept whatever work they can find.
That’s not the kind of economy that is inviting to the vast majority of people and that is committed to improving their quality of life. Instead, it sounds like the fantasy of techno-libertarians brought to fruition, where we’re all forced to compete against one another for increasingly atomized work that provides little pay and no benefits, while facing a lack of job security when much of that work becomes automated.
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Post by Patrick Worms.
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Post by Marcus Dowling.
FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Is the gig economy bad for workers?
#GiveMeBenefits
A festive crown for the winner
#WorkForYourself