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CDCS Colloquium: (Side) Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy, COVID Edition | Annenberg School for Communication

February 24, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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, provide an alternative to unemployment, and bring entrepreneurship to the masses.

But the autonomy workers 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. The sharing economy also 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.