The so-called ‘sharing economy’

Lovely comment from the inestimable Dave Pell:

It’s long been described as the sharing economy. But, of course, there is little real sharing going on. The gig economy is just another way to pay people to give you a ride or rent you a room or bring you a meal. Even if the sharing economy is really the on-demand economy, does it represent a new, more worker-friendly, more altruistic version of the working life? The New Yorker’s Nathan Heller wonders: Is The Gig Economy Working? “The American workplace is both a seat of national identity and a site of chronic upheaval and shame. The industry that drove America’s rise in the nineteenth century was often inhumane. The twentieth-century corrective—a corporate workplace of rules, hierarchies, collective bargaining, triplicate forms—brought its own unfairnesses. Gigging reflects the endlessly personalizable values of our own era, but its social effects, untried by time, remain uncertain.” In a perfect version of the sharing economy, I would summarize Heller’s findings and deliver them to you in easily digestable, bite-sized chunks. But once you see the rates I charge, I have a feeling you’ll want to try Task Rabbit.

Now for the hard part

It’s great that Macron won. But it would be unwise to be complacent. If — as I suspect — we are at the beginning of a real seismic shift in our politics, mainly triggered by populist anger at the way the banks were bailed out in 2008 — then it will take more than the election of a technocratic centrist to stem the tide. As Roger Cohen puts it in today’s New York Times:

Now the hard part begins. For the first time in France, the far right took more than a third of the vote, a reflection of the anger in the country at lost jobs, failed immigrant integration and economic stagnation. Macron, who said he was aware of “the anger, the anxiety, the doubts” needs to address this social unease head-on by reviving a sense of possibility in France. Without change, Le Pen will continue to gain support.

Yep. Macron has, as of now, precisely zero MPs in parliament. This may change at the general election, but it would be extraordinary if a pop-up ‘movement’ (which is really what En Marché is) gained a majority in its first election. If he doesn’t succeed in making some significant changes which indicate that ruling elites have finally learned something from the neoliberal nightmare, then I’d bet on Le Pen making a better showing next time.