Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy | University of California Press (2019)
Choose your hours, choose your work, be your own boss, control your own income. Welcome to the sharing economy, a nebulous collection of online platforms and apps that promise to transcend capitalism. Supporters argue the gig economy will reverse economic inequality, enhance worker rights, and bring entrepreneurship to the masses. But does it?
In Hustle and Gig, Alexandrea Ravenelle shares the personal stories of nearly eighty predominantly millennial workers from Airbnb, Uber, TaskRabbit and Kitchensurfing—how the autonomy they expected has been usurped by jobs doled out by algorithms and where anything less than an immediate acceptance of a job--and cheerful completion--incurs the wrath of bad ratings, limiting future potential jobs. From the “Success Stories” of people who make a living from “hustling”, to the “Strugglers” who can’t make ends meet, and to the “Strivers” with stable jobs who use the sharing economy for extra cash, Ravenelle sheds light on how the sharing economy has been both persecutor and savior for the working class. In the blink of an eye, the sharing economy reflects labor issues first seen in the 1800s and early 1900s, as it upends generations of workplace protection in the name of disruption—worker safety; workplace protections around discrimination and sexual harassment; the right to unionize; and the right to redress for injuries.
Poignant and evocative, Hustle and Gig exposes how the gig economy is the millennial's version of minimum wage precarious work.
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