The brave new collaborative economy

4 Feb

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So you thought the new, collaborative economy is this new cool space for hipsters like you, not the stuffy old safe job of your boring papa. Not so, say some insiders. FT’s Izabella Kaminska turns on the flashlight on this reality and even ventures with some solutions:

“Something new is happening with the collaborative economy. Instead of creating new industries that are based on mechanization and thus require the production of new robots and machines as in the 20th century, what we are witnessing with the collaborative economy is a shift from jobs towards unpaid labor from a crowd of volunteers. Take open-source softwares or Wikipedia for instance, and imagine this for the whole economy. Long story short, this is not about less work, but about having fewer paid positions.

Which gets back to the point about the monopolisation of profits in such a world and how to equitably distribute the wealth that’s created via the collaborative process.

In other words, is it fair for a corporate that depends entirely on voluntary input for its capital returns, to suck up those profits entirely for itself? Or should that wealth somehow be shared amongst the collaborative community? Are these corporates becoming rentiers as some argue, or as others might counter social utilities, which need to make money to cover costs of operation and infrastructure.

There is one potential solution. You could call it the “common agricultural policy” response. A model in which people are compensated by the government for staying out of the “financially compensated” workforce if their occupational field is oversupplied and suffering the effects of overproduction and capacity, and thus become free to deploy leisure time as they see fit with no need for compensation.

Another way of achieving the same result, of course, is simply by debasing the rents collected by industry via permanent money creation — so as to offset the disproportional wealth effect on today’s tech rentiers as well as older generations, which all things relative, appear to have over-benefited from the first mover advantage associated with their era. So not dissimilar to what’s happening now, but with one important difference: that the newly created money flows directly to spending individuals rather than corporates, savers and banks, who do anything but spend.”

More here


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