Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The "sharing" economy and "buying your own job"

Catherine Rampell has a nice piece on “The dark side of a ‘sharing’ economy” in the Washington Post today, link here 
I have to “admit” that I bought into this worldview over twenty years ago.  Remember when Lincoln Electric in Cleveland went from a wage to “piecework” to avoid layoffs, and that was said to be progressive?
Rampell comments on the historical connection between the social safety network and employment, especially health insurance, a connection that developed during WWII when the nation needed war workers.  It is falling apart now.  And longer lifespans, greater debt, the need for two incomes, and fewer children add to the mix. 
I can’t see myself making the capital investment required for some things – like a new car if you’re an Uber driver.  I don’t go into debt for other people’s agendas.  But is it so different from the investment involved in buying a franchise?  

Update: Feb.4

Even the Wall Street Journal has admitted that low wages and debt are driving the "sharing economy" and driving people into dangerous personal risk, link.

Update:  Feb 15

Time Magazine has a story "5 Things You Never Knew about the Sharing Economy", link here

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