Saturday, January 30, 2016

On-Demand Undermines Even Investors

In the 19th century, an enterprising forebear of mine owned a block of houses in the mining town of Franklin, New Jersey, that he leased to workers.

Unbeknownst to the workers, he also leased his mineral rights to the local mining company, which promptly dug a shaft beneath the houses.

According to family lore, my forbear had to skedaddle one dark night, when all the houses and their occupants vanished in a mine-shaft collapse.

Lesson learned.

When investors undermine workers, everyone gets the shaft.

The halo's fast falling from the Uberization of work, Caroline Fairchild writes on LinkedIn.

Millennial entrepreneurs are shifting workers from 1099 to W-2 status, because they're learning that, to succeed, they have to do things like train people and ask them to show up at 9.

You know, 19th century stuff.

As Fairchild shows, on-demand startups that want to appify black markets in everything from home delivery to hospitality face harsh critics.

"As these venture capital darlings walk the fine line between saving on labor costs and breaking the law, regulators and politicians are watching, and critiquing, their every move," she writes.

"The lines being drawn here raise critical questions: Should workers embrace the freedom the digital world offers? Or should they try to hold onto the rights that their predecessors fought over 100 years to win? Is this new economy moving us forward or backward?"

Forward or backward? What do you think?
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