Wall Street and Silicon Valley may be excited about the emergence of the so-called sharing economy, but freelance workers driving for Uber are getting “screwed over,”said Steven Hill, author of the new book Raw Deal: How the “Uber Economy” and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers.
Today Kansas City-based FarmLink officially launched MachineryLink Sharing, the agriculture industry’s first Internet-based equipment sharing program. The platform has been in a beta-test, soft launch of sorts as of the last few months, according to Jeff Dema, president of grower services at FarmLink, receiving critical feedback from its users.
This survey says that adoption of the sharing economy is growing, with 51% of U.S. web users having used at least one of its services in 2015, up 12% from last year. Usage was up across the board, with more consumers connecting with their peers to perform such functions as buy pre-owned goods (up 10% to 44%) and find lodging (up 10% to 17%).
Are we entering our first “Uber election”? A number of writers have speculated that the 2016 election may turn in part on the question of how we should adapt to the economic changes known as the “gig economy,” or the “on demand” economy, which are increasing flexibility for employers, employees, and consumers, but also threaten to further erode stability for middle class workers. Underlying this question is another one: How can workers retain a voice amid these economic changes, particularly since unions are already seeing their clout eroded and their structures may not be well adapted to these changes to begin with?
Even as the growing number of freelancers in the United States becomes a political issue, data about what that number is or how much it is growing remain woefully imperfect. The U.S. Government Accountability Office recently estimated the size of the freelance workforce at “less than 5 percent to more than a third of the total employed labor force, depending on widely varying definitions of contingent work.”