The challenges raised by the future of work look a lot like the same ones we’ve always wrestled with.

May 21st, 2018 at 8:40 am

Over at WaPo.

There’s a consensus of sorts that the future of work will be uniquely shaped by the gig economy and labor-displacing technology. At the risk of putting a damper on millions of conference sessions on this topic, I think we should be much less confident in our ability to predict the structure of work or the possibility of technological unemployment.

As new work from Larry Mishel reveals, the gig economy is a tiny share of the whole. We also do not see accelerated labor displacement in the productivity numbers (to the contrary).

But as I stress in the piece, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about ways to improve the quality of future (and present!) jobs. In fact, there’s a robust policy agenda that should be brought to bear, some of which is highly responsive to the increase in “arms-length” employment, where the distance between employer and worker is growing in ways that can undermine labor protections.

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One comment in reply to "The challenges raised by the future of work look a lot like the same ones we’ve always wrestled with."

  1. Realist says:

    Here’s how you beat the gig economy as a worker: refuse the gigs.

    They pay higher, they promise fast, exciting work. They rule out boredom. They seem like they provide freedom.

    Just refuse to take the gigs. If enough people refuse to take the gigs, then employers will be forced to think about how to foster careers instead (like they used to). I say this from experience. No more gigs for me. Never.


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