The gig economy and social cohesion

 

Sir, – Karlin Lillington is to be commended for her incisive article on the vote in favour of Proposition 22 this past election day in California (“California moves cruelly on gig economy workers”, Business Opinion,, November 5th).

The passage of this measure exempts companies such as Uber, Lyft and other “gig” economy companies from a law requiring then to reclassify their drivers as employees, thus denying them many of the benefits that usually come with being treated as employees.

The allure of cheaper prices for consumers in the short term, along with the slick advocacy campaign funded by the companies that it advantages, appears to have been decisive in influencing the vote.

Yet the shocking lack of societal solidarity revealed by this vote bodes ill for the future, not only in respect of the cohesiveness of society but also in terms of the vulnerabilities it risks creating for more and more working citizens.

Consumers may be the beneficiaries of the inhumane deployment of digital technology for now.

Yet as technology advances and gets deployed across a greater range of work activities, few will escape the ills of its inhumane deployment.

While technology can be our friend, it is time for society to cry stop to the deployment of digital technology in ways that delivers dehumanising working conditions.

Society needs to be wary of the “winner take all” mindsets that are so pervasive and powerful when it comes to today’s deployment of digital technology and that can lead to the inhumane working conditions now facing frontline gig economy workers in California. – Yours, etc,

Prof LOUIS

BRENNAN, PhD, FTCD

Trinity Business School,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.