Raw Deal: How the "Uber Economy" and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers

Raw Deal: How the "Uber Economy" and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers

Steven Hill

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1250071585

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"What's going to happen to my job?"

That's what an increasing number of anxious Americans are asking themselves.

The US workforce, which has been one of the most productive and wealthiest in the world, is undergoing an alarming transformation. Increasing numbers of workers find themselves on shaky ground, turned into freelancers, temps and contractors. Even many full-time and professional jobs are experiencing this precarious shift. Within a decade, a near-majority of the 145 million employed Americans will be impacted. Add to that the steamroller of automation, robots and artificial intelligence already replacing millions of workers and projected to "obsolesce" millions more, and the jobs picture starts looking grim.

Now a weird yet historic mash-up of Silicon Valley technology and Wall Street greed is thrusting upon us the latest economic fraud: the so-called "sharing economy," with companies like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit allegedly "liberating workers" to become "independent" and "their own CEOs," hiring themselves out for ever-smaller jobs and wages while the companies profit.

But this "share the crumbs" economy is just the tip of a looming iceberg that the middle class is drifting toward. Raw Deal: How the "Uber Economy" and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers,by veteran journalist Steven Hill, is an exposé that challenges conventional thinking, and the hype celebrating this new economy, by showing why the vision of the "techno sapien" leaders and their Ayn Rand libertarianism is a dead end.

In Raw Deal, Steven Hill proposes pragmatic policy solutions to transform the US economy and its safety net and social contract, launching a new kind of deal to restore power back into the hands of American workers.

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to the basic working and employment conditions, including the duration of working time, overtime, breaks, rest periods, night work, vacations and holidays.18 But my proposal would do even more than create legal parity—it would create universality. Even during the height of the New Deal era, a certain number of workers were always left out of the support system. Farm workers, for example, were excluded from the National Labor Relations Act (though California years later included them via state

2015). 114. Murad Ahmad, Jeevan Vasagar, Tim Bradshaw, and Duncan Robinson, “Uber Drives in to European Tech Backlash,” Financial Times, September 2, 2014, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/bec0f56e-32b8-11e4-93c6-00144feabdc0.html#slide0 (accessed April 1, 2015). 115. Greg Muender, “Uber vs. Lyft: A Former Driver Compares the Two Services,” PandoDaily, December 3, 2014, http://pando.com/2014/12/03/uber-vs-lyft-a-former-driver-compares-the-two-services/ (accessed April 1, 2015); Heather Smith,

just an enormous amount of stress,” he said.48 Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts in 2013 had $9.3 billion in sales, and CEO Nigel Travis received $4.2 million in pay, stock options and perks, up 120 percent from 2012.49 He gained another $21 million exercising stock options, according to the company’s annual proxy.50 Dunkin’, owned by Mitt Romney’s old firm Bain Capital, has profited handsomely off its army of low-wage workers.51 Maria Fernandes is collateral damage from “business as usual” in the new

man in the video is working hard to be liked, is slightly grandiose but also self-aware enough to say that he is uncertain of his future (with an art and design degree, after all), and confident enough to relish his moment on the graduation stage. He displays definite leadership qualities, kind of like a head cheerleader urging on his homies at their final big hurrah.89 That was in 2004, and now in his new role, the chutzpah, leadership and cheerleading have remained and come to the fore. When

storm. Even profit-maximizing Airbnb had the good sense to portray itself as the “good sharing company,” facilitating free housing during that storm—but that’s not how things work in Travis’s World. Demand was way up, and the peculiar Uber algorithm automatically kicked in, and so prices soared. That outrage prompted New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman to go after the company under a 1979 price-gouging law, which forbids businesses from raising prices during crises.99 In Silicon Valley’s

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