Why the Gig Economy is a Good Thing



From the Houstonian, Michelle Sklar offers her view of the gig economy.  Michelle writes:

why is the gig economy good for us? Which ‘us’ are we talking about here? When you look at the big picture, it’s actually good for all of us: workers, employers and the economy as a whole.

More people working and making money benefits the entire nation. It means less unemployment, less poverty, less homelessness and less crime. It means a higher standard of living for everyone.

A sharing economy is good for businesses because it helps them to compete, which drives quality and variety up and prices down. It allows them to preserve more capital by not having to spend money on things like benefits, office space and training.

Best of all, a gig economy is good for workers because it allows more options for work, more freedom to choose what jobs to take and the flexibility to work or not work, when or where to work. The barriers to entry are lowered. For example, it just takes a good driving record and a reasonably new car to drive for Uber. Top freelance jobs for coders have an intensive entry process, but don’t require college degrees or specific experience – just the ability to do the work.

“Gigging” gives people the ability to earn money using assets they already own, like a house, a car or a skillset. Fierce competition for the best workers compels companies like Google to offer premium benefits to keep their top performers on board. Everybody wins.

So, how much can you make working on-demand? Income varies wildly, from a few bucks for a small handyman job listed on “Taskrabbit” to up to $1000 per hour for elite coders. Bloomberg profiled James Knight, who quit his job writing software for Google to make twice as much money as a freelancer, writing code while he vacations around Europe.

Some adjustments by the government could remove much of the uncertainty. Labor laws and regulatory systems need to be re-examined and reformed to meet the needs of this rapidly changing labor market, and portable benefits – not tied to an employer – would provide a basic safety net.

Read the full story at The Houstonian | Independent Student Newspaper of Sam Houston State University

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