Friday, May 30, 2014

Cut-Throat Capitalism: Welcome To the Gig Economy | Alternet

May 27, 2014 |

The media are all abuzz with the changing nature of work. Exciting words like “creativity” and “adaptability” get thrown around, specifically in connection to the shift away from steady, full-time employment to a freelancer-dominated, gig economy. Proponents of the gig economy, from Thomas Friedman to bright-eyed TED pundits, tout it as a welcome escape from the prison of the standard workweek and the strictures of corporate America. Working on a project-to-project basis will set you free, they tell us. Wired magazine has called it "the force that could save the American worker.”

But when you’re actually stuck in it, the gig economy looks quite different.

Consider the New York Freelancer’s Union: According to a report in the New York Times, 29 percent of the union’s New York City members earn less than $25,000 a year, and in 2010, 12 percent of members nationally received some type of public assistance. Turns out that life with no health benefits, vacation pay or retirement plan is not a rosy picture.

Writing for Fast Company, Sarah Kessler, who went undercover to hustle for work in the gig economy, put it this way:

“For one month, I became the ‘micro-entrepreneur’ touted by companies like TaskRabbit, Postmates, and Airbnb. Instead of the labor revolution I had been promised, all I found was hard work, low pay, and a system that puts workers at a disadvantage.”

Complete story at - Cut-Throat Capitalism: Welcome To the Gig Economy | Alternet

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