800px-Workroom_at_St_James_Workhouse

Pushing Crumbs Around in The Sharing Economy

Commenter on Metafilter about a thread on the ‘sharing economy:’

“Well, I think what we’re looking at here is that we’re rapidly dismantling not just the safety net but the traditional employment structure and while that may be all exciting in a “Woo, smash the system!” kind of way, there’s not going to be a lot left standing.

Like the high schools where I grew up were busily dismantling their vo-tech programs because in the future we were all going to be Knowledge Workers doing something in an office, so why even have these boring old Making of Things training courses? Naturally even the increased demand for skilled workers didn’t actually bring BACK vo-tech programs once that structure was dismantled, so there was just less access to training for that kind of job. Instead you’re now herded relentlessly towards college and all that entails.

I mean the future I’m worried about isn’t grinding away in a vast corporate dystopia. The real dystopian future is the one where we’re all “independent contractors” fighting each other for pennies for jobs on something like Mechanical Turk or Fiverr where not only are we responsible for our work, we’re also responsible for marketing ourselves, handling our taxes and payroll, building new business, and so forth.

We’re forcing ourselves into the “sharing economy” because that’s what they want us to do, be so focused on pushing our crumbs around our plate that we don’t notice who the hell has most of the pie to begin with. Capitalism has monetized compassion and goodwill and trust in a remarkable why. So okay, I dig AirBnB as much as the next yuppie, but what happens to all those hotel and hospitality jobs once we’re all couchsurfing across America? How do you even participate in the “sharing economy” if you have no resources you could share?”

Full thread http://www.metafilter.com/137331/The-Collaborative-Consumption-Trap#5454124

Image is from a London workhouse in 1808 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Workroom_at_St_James_Workhouse.jpg