The ‘free market’ line is a lie. Like many of the platform firms, Uber is a venture-capitalist funded monopoly-in-formation. As Srnicek writes, the point about platform capitalism is that it depends on ‘network effects’ to work: the more users it has, the more valuable it becomes, the more users it gets. The result, as with Facebook and Google, is monopoly. Uber’s price-cutting practices, hugely subsidised by venture-capital, are intended to expedite its own market dominance.
The problem is less that these new ways of organising society have been radically successful than they’re being run in a way which is exploitative and undemocratic. Since 2008, Scholz has been considering the ramifications of the internet for labour. As the trends to platforms became more pertinent, he shifted his focus from cognitive work to labour in the more traditional sense. ‘In the United States in 2016, 24% of workers had worked on some kind of platform. Every third person is a freelancer – fifty five million people. How do you make an intervention in this kind of work?’
All my doctors counsel me against being open about having a serious mental illness. Finding ways to massage the truth to people – and explain away periods of absence from the workforce – has become second nature to me. But, as a gay man who has been open and proud about his sexuality, I can’t help but feel a bit conflicted. Is the counselling to stay secret actually denying people their proper supports in society and jeopardising mental health?
At the start of the election campaign, the Labour Party’s position on immigration was clear. Armed with a raft of new policies and an inflammatory vow to stop ‘tens of thousands’ from coming to New Zealand, Labour signalled loudly that reducing migration was one its key electoral pledges. With the recent turnover in leadership and accompanying guarded sound bites on immigration, one could be fooled into believing that the party has softened its stance.
Driving through the West Bank, you get the sense that the hope-turned-disappointment cycles of the failed, successive peace accords have been replaced by grim resignation to the reality of an implacable occupation and settlement project. All the trappings of occupation and land theft have only reinforced the incongruity of the Israeli settlements, not least of which is the prison-like fencing and barbed wire that encircle them.