The sharing economy: The new disconnected precariat?

Many say that the sharing economy creates many opportunities for everybody. Everybody can make a lot of money, and it can be earned on the side. An Uber driver can earn more money than a taxi driver. So I was told by a taxi driver in Berlin who was very angry that he cannot driver for Uber in Germany.

Not sure if it’s true. My Columbian friend told a slightly different story. Translating his thoughts sounded more like he has to drive a few of hours every day to get into positive numbers. There’s gas, loan payments for the car, insurance – well, not sure if he actually pays insurance or if he cheats? Some sources indicate that Uber isn’t really that diligent on checking if their drivers are all insured. Actually – it’s not their drivers anyway. They do not enjoy employment status by any means from what I understand. So if my young Columbian buddy gets sick, he’s definitely not covered by Uber.

Tom Slee’s (see below) book gives us some insight into the financial conditions under which drivers operate. Even if there’s some drivers that earn average middle-class incomes, most of them appear to earn less than the employed taxi drivers after deducting all the cost. And the insurance and social security situation looks rather grim.

I had a lot more questions. Being used to a system where taxi drivers have to pass a test (how shabby this test might actually be) I was wondering if Uber drivers need anything like that. But it appears that those regulatory tests are not needed, according to this blog.

Some links:

 

One thought on “The sharing economy: The new disconnected precariat?

  1. Thanks for great Post. For me it is clear that a sharing economy that really deserves the name would be something like the German Genossenschaftsbanken where all members own a part of the company. And so they participate in the risks as well as in the gains. In the American style “sharing” economy all the participants take the risk and a few venture capitalists have all the gain

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