Essential Reading on the Internet’s Emerging Exploitation Economy.

We write a lot about the issues facing creators, but we’re only just the first to be effected by the Exploitation Economy.


Uber and the Lawlessness of ‘Sharing Economy’ Corporates | The Guardian

It’s not only about musicians and creators, we are just the first to be effected.  The same Silicon Valley scam is going to exploit more and more people. Read on…

“Nullification is a wilful flouting of regulation, based on some nebulous idea of a higher good only scofflaws can deliver. It can be an invitation to escalate a conflict, of course, as Arkansas governor Orville Faubus did in 1957 when he refused to desegregate public schools and president Eisenhower sent federal troops to enforce the law. But when companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Google engage in a nullification effort, it’s a libertarian-inspired attempt to establish their services as popular well before regulators can get around to confronting them. Then, when officials push back, they can appeal to their consumer-following to push regulators to surrender.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE GUARDIAN:
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/28/uber-lawlessness-sharing-economy-corporates-airbnb-google

 


Stop calling it the “Sharing Economy.” That isn’t what it is. | Olivier Blanchard

What it is, is the Exploitation Economy…

“Disruption rocks though!”

No, it doesn’t. The right kind of disruption rocks. The kind that has value, that solves a problem, that improves an imperfect system. But disruption for the sake of disruption is just noise. It can even be destructive, and that doesn’t rock. It doesn’t rock at all.

Because Apple was “disruptive,” anything deemed disruptive now somehow borrows from Apple’s cachet. “Disruption” has become another meaningless buzzword appropriated by overzealous cheerleaders of the entrepreneurial clique they aspire to someday belong to. And look… every once in a while, someone does come up with a really cool and radical game-changing idea: Vaccines, the motorcar, radio, television, HBO, the internet, laptops, smart phones, Netflix, carbon fiber bicycles, drought-resistant corn, overpriced laptops that don’t burn your thighs in crowded coffee shops… Most of the time though, “disruption” isn’t that. It’s a mirage. It’s a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes, episode twenty-seven thousand, and the same army of early first-adopter fanboys that also claimed that Google Plus and Quora and Jelly were going to revolutionize everything have now jumped on the next desperate bandwagon. What will it be next week? Your guess is as good as mine.”

READ THE FULL POST AT OLIVIER BLANCHARD:
http://olivierblanchard.net/stop-calling-it-the-sharing-economy-that-isnt-what-it-is/

 


The Crowdsourcing Scam | The Baffler

It’s all the same Silicon Valley scam. Whether you are a musician or a cab driver, this about labor, and you could be next…

Silicon Valley calls this arrangement “crowdsourcing,” a label that’s been extended to include contests, online volunteerism, fundraising, and more. Crowdsourced work is supposed to be a new, more casual, and more liberating form of work, but it is anything but. When companies use the word “crowdsourcing”—a coinage that suggests voluntary democratic participation—they are performing a neat ideological inversion.

The kind of tentative employment that we might have scoffed at a decade or two ago, in which individuals provide intellectual labor to a corporation for free or for sub-market wages, has been gussied up with the trappings of technological sophistication, populist appeal, and, in rare cases, the possibility of viral fame.

But in reality, this labor regime is just another variation on the age-old practice of exploiting ordinary workers and restructuring industrial relations to benefit large corporations and owners of the platforms serving them. The lies and rhetorical obfuscations of crowdsourcing have helped tech companies devalue work, and a long-term, reasonably secure, decently paying job has increasingly become a MacGuffin—something we ardently chase after but will likely never capture, since it’s there only to distract us from the main action of the script.

READ THE FULL POST AT THE BAFFLER:
http://thebaffler.com/salvos/crowdsourcing-scam

 


Silicon Valley Is Not a Force for Good | The Atlantic

We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water, what we need is fair and ethical businesses.

It’s been a long journey from Google to Snapchat—or to apps that enable drivers to auction off the public street-parking spot they’re about to leave in San Francisco. With a few exceptions, the Valley’s innovations have become smaller, and smaller-minded. Many turn on concepts (network effects, regulatory arbitrage, price discrimination) that economists would say are double-edged, if not pernicious. And while the Web was touted as a great democratizing force, recent tech innovations have created lots of profits at the top of the ladder and lots of job losses lower down. The tech sector itself has proved disappointing as a jobs engine and at times hostile to women.

READ THE FULL POST AT THE ATLANTIC:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/07/silicon-valley-shrinking-vision/395309/

 


Jaron Lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class | Salon

Jaron Lanier was the first to identify and speak about this issue. We’re glad to see others catching up to him. Here’s a refresher…

“Here’s a current example of the challenge we face,” he writes in the book’s prelude: “At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has become Instagram. When Instagram was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars in 2012, it employed only 13 people. Where did all those jobs disappear? And what happened to the wealth that all those middle-class jobs created?”

“Future” also looks at the way the creative class – especially musicians, journalists and photographers — has borne the brunt of disruptive technology.

READ THE FULL STORY AT SALON:
http://www.salon.com/2013/05/12/jaron_lanier_the_internet_destroyed_the_middle_class/

 


 

Sleeping Through a Revolution | Jonathan Taplin @ USC

This presentation by Jonathan Taplin at the Annenberg Innovation Lab breaks it all down. Required Viewing.


 

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