Day 33 — Imagine no possessions

A class system defined by sharing?

The sharing class of consumers and gig workers is likely to have a different view of major political issues: discrimination, pay equity, pensions, the social safety net. Given their flexible schedules, they may also be more likely to turn out at elections than full-time employees. Their mindset of self-reliance and in-dependence might resonate both with liberal values about the economy and with more conservative ones regarding social issues. The political landscape will indeed look very different if, by 2030 more than half of the workforce in Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world consists of gig workers. But will monopolistic digital platforms with dominant market shares end up exploiting workers and consumers alike?

The dangers of too big to ban

What is truly revolutionary about sharing economy is that it upends socioeconomic roles and relationships. Uber promises a supplementary income to low-paid workers and retired people, and self-employment to the unemployed. Drivers like the flexibility and transparency and find the app liberating because they no longer have to depend on dispatchers. Riders enjoy greater choice and a service that potentially reaches underserved suburbs and inner-city neighborhoods. The company also claims that drunk-driving rates are coming down as a result of Uber’s presence. Even Mother Against Drunk Driving, the influential grassroots organization, has teamed up with the company to offer free rides on certain important dates like high school proms or game days when young people might risk driving while impaired. Uber seized on several distinct societal trends and put everything together through lateral thinking. In that vein, is it possible for digital platforms to help with climate change?

2030 by Mauro.F.Guillen: 191–196

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