This speaks to the way sharing economy wants to deskill and amateurize and commoditize services. The premise is a ride is a ride is a ride. And a room is a room is a room (or at least, the room provider doesn’t matter; only its location does). This punishes anyone who wants to try to differentiate their service by making it more professional or skillful. Yes, their reputation on the sharing apps may be high, but then, most everyone has a high rating on these services, because users tend to set their criteria low. As Tom Slee points out

Trashing consumerism appeals to many environmentally-minded, social-justice oriented people. But if you displace taxi drivers and replace them with casual labour, you’re not improving the work/life balance of drivers, you’re making them poorer.

The optimistic thing to say about sharing apps is they might casualize labor to the point of worthlessness, destroying capitalist “value” in the process. Theoretically, rendering services generic may point toward the reversal of alienating specialization and division of labor, toward the Marxist communist ideal of everyone being able to be hunting, fishing, reading, etc., as they choose. But short of full communism, they tend instead to make workers experience precariousness more acutely, and make them more desperate, exploitable.

Cabsplaining: A London Black Car Driver on the Uber Protest


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s