Now that the Jobless Growth meme has lost steam (though possibly not fertility, yet), it is useful to have a look at its in some way I don’t completely see how counter-part, antidote. Quod non. Where the analogy breaks down.
What I mean to say is; when Big Corp / Gov’t exists less than before, after the shake-out-by-the-numbers-by-lack-of-management-capabilities-to-raise-revenue waves of the past decade+ [don’t start me on the utter non-distinction between ‘governance’ and management ..!] every last grain of growth or even innovation capacity has been thouroughly bleached out of said sad organisations. And still there’s Growth. Which is a. a ridiculous but very, very dangerous financial bubble, b. non-existent as for work being performed, productivity being delivered, c. both.
No, all the start-ups that you hear about, are money- and certainly productivity pits.
Or, as noted before on this blog, there’s many jobs unregistered as such, in the independent consultancy sphere. [Typo resulted in con-slut-ancy; apt. May be one myself, soon.] Which may correct the numbers, but doesn’t diminish the fear behind, embedded within, the remarks about the joblessness and how jobs are important for the moral structure of societies. Yes, what would jobless growth for a great many years on end already have meant for the moral/ethical structure of US society ..?
But let’s turn now to the core message of today’s post: There’s hope, suddenly, that structures emerge in which a more egalitarian (as for power differentials) labour market may re-emerge. On the one extreme, there’s Uber et al with their The Algorithm Rules Over Minion Slave Single Menial Job-Contractors model, and on the other, the classical Let’s Keep All Minions On Contract Lest They Badmouth Us And Run with the last snippets of intellectual capital we might have (left). Caps off, begun to be too much.
Two extremes. Now, some middle ground starts to emerge. I mean, there was already some ‘flexible shell’ of independent contractors for odd jobs, temp projects etc., be it with smaller out/in-sourcing companies – but that was only a halfway solution with a core that in fear of death hung on to their increasingly irrelevant little corner and the increasing army of zombies floating around from too short stint to too short stint to pay the mortgage (or barely so) – and don’t start on Mechanical Turk etc., as so summarily and thouroughly dismissed by Jaron Lanier et al. But with Instacart on the move, there is a shift from the other side; much needed and welcomed, through which the ideal of a flexible life for workers comes into view before the horizon, suddenly seems realisable.
Yes, it may regard not-too-highly-paid jobs initially; the workers are still ‘lowly’ (?) manual labourers in this case. But the idea that it may be worthwhile for organisations to have a (larger) pool of flexible part-time workers, with their independence at scheduling and all, is New and should be recognised and celebrated the world over.
Well… Certainly I would like the idea to spread fast, very fast – as in: the next two months – to here the Netherlands… Work 3 days a week, and paid-hobby for the other two (?); I’d very much like that thank you indeed.