Demanding Convenience

“Despite previously making a clear distinction between consumer and worker, it must be noted that the on-demand economy strives to blur the lines between both: workers are regarded as customers, and it is not uncommon for workers to consume from the same platforms they work for either. When on-demand workers are sold the dream of flexibility, we are buying a shot at stability even if there are no guarantees of basic human rights nor income – like the winner-takes-all fantasy that is often peddled to freelancers, the hope that we’ll finally ‘make it’ if we work hard enough (most likely at the expense of fellow workers, or if you’ve already had some kind of advantage in the first place) is suspended above our shoulders in the on-demand economy. And because services through these apps are negotiated through a murky free-market no-man’s-land, it is easy to gravitate towards using, say, Uber as opposed to a taxi, simply because it is cheaper. In a world where there is now an ‘Airbnb for everything’ (campsiteshousesitterspetsitterspoolssomeone else’s bed for a nap), ownership, labour and consumption collapse into each other to the point that their boundaries become indistinguishable. I may enjoy being part of the fully automated luxury capitalist class for a few days in an Airbnb on a budget holiday in Tasmania (where the company’s presence has exacerbated the rental crisis), but ultimately go back home to deliver someone’s groceries for a mere pittance. For both consumer and worker, the on-demand economy offers us so many conveniences that we become co-dependent on their existence; it’s compelling to imagine a reality where our lives can’t function optimally without them.”

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