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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government policy as well as by popular demand, as more and more people realize that, as workers, they are being rendered expendable and disposable, and as a society we are heading in a direction that will take us over yet another cliff. Despite America’s great wealth and power, at the current time we cannot match many of our international competitors when it comes to transitioning to a stakeholder society because we have the wrong institutions and regulations. But by passing the right laws and

James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (New York: Crown Business, 2012), 321–23. 7. Franklin Roosevelt, “First Inaugural Address,” The American Presidency Project, March 4, 1933, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=14473 (accessed April 2, 2015). 8. Franklin Roosevelt, “State of the Union Message to Congress,” Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, January 11, 1994, http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/archives/address_text.html (accessed

lawyer would suffice for work that once required 500,” according to the New York Times. And the upcoming generation of software, he estimated, “could cut that head count by another 50 percent.” No doubt Shakespeare would have been pleased. Lawyering is yet another high-paying profession that is slated for disruption by the new technologies. “Teach . . . your children well . . .” Education is another field that is slated for technological upheaval, especially the occupation of teaching. Online

being interviewed by a television show, Netwerk, which is like the 60 Minutes of the Netherlands. A three-person team of producers conducted the interview, one of whom held a rather large boom mic with one of those hairy-looking sweater hoods to record the audio. Discreetly, I said to the middle-aged man holding the boom, “Hey, why don’t you give me a lapel mic? That way you won’t have to hold that big thing.” He looked at me with a bit of a Rembrandt twinkle, and said, “If I do that, I’m out of

service car tells me he does this for a living because his last job—he was a cargo agent at a trucking terminal—disappeared as a result of computers and automation. So now he’s driving a car for a living—but in a few years apparently driverless cars will displace him yet again. Where does he go then? Auto companies can use robots to assemble cars that are cheaper for their customers who work in occupations such as checkout clerks. But if grocery stores and department stores replace those clerks

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