National

‘Sharing Economy’ Makes San Francisco a City of ‘Instaserfs’ (2)

January 14, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel 

San Franciso, CA- Canadian filmmaker Andrew Callaway spent a month in San Francisco working at “sharing economy” jobs, driving cabs for Uber and Lyft and delivering groceries and other items for Postmates and Instacart—and concluded that “since no one is really sharing anything, many of us prefer the term ‘the exploitation economy.

“I was never an employee; I was a ‘partner,’ or a ‘hero,’ or even a ‘ninja’ depending on the app,” he observed. “We do still have a boss. It just isn’t a person. It’s an algorithm.” Postmates, he notes, changed its app so that drivers couldn’t see the details of an order before accepting a job, as it enabled workers to reject low-paying jobs. “Employers are required to pay a minimum wage, to provide medical insurance, and to supply certain benefits such as sick days,” he concluded. “By pretending that their employees are actually self-starting entrepreneurs, sharing economy companies can avoid these obligations and save an enormous amount of money in the process—savings that are both passed on to the customer and pocketed in profits.” Read more

January 14, 2016

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