Disrupting 'business as usual': Covid-19 and platform labour

Things are bad right now and they will probably get worse in the future. Once the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 is finally under control, the afterlife of this public health crisis is likely to have a devastating impact on our national and local economies for years to come. But not everyone will be affected in the same way and to the same extent.

We have already witnessed how pandemic brings into sharp relief long-standing inequalities with respect to income and wealth distribution. Some social groups will have access to the resources (e.g. time, space, capital, influence) necessary to weather this crisis, or even make a profit from it, while many others who lack these resources will scramble to protect their lives and livelihoods. In many ways, COVID-19 intensifies and accelerates these inequalities and will ultimately push them to a breaking point – a point governments – even conservative ones – have been trying to steer clear from by introducing economic rescue plans.

Importantly, the ongoing platformization of labor and livelihoods embodies a similar (albeit less drastic) logic of intensification and acceleration. While the term ‘disruption’ has been overused and may poorly describe the economic and social impacts that platforms like Uber, Airbnb, or Deliveroo are having at a global and local level, we nevertheless think it is safe to say that many of these impacts are significant.


Full article: Futures of Work

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