Has the rise of the gig economy contributed to greater wealth disparity and inequality as Thomas Piketty suggests in this chart?

(see: https://www.quora.com/link/A-simple-chart-shows-what-some-economists-consider-to-be-the-most-striking-development-in-40-years-of-the-US-economy)

LOL. This question really tickled me, so thanks for the question.

It’s not the correlation I find interesting, but the causal phrasing. “Has the rise of the gig economy…” (as if it were some spontaneous thing) “…contributed to great wealth disparity…?” Both are the consequence of precisely the same downward pressures on wages, employment security, and economic mobility…and the same upward pressures on wealth concentration. These two forces have been in play for quite a while now (over fifty years), and certain consequences (like the weakening of unions, loss of entire sectors of blue collar jobs, the financialization and automation of the economy, and so on) are inevitable. To understand the underlying mechanisms, one has to reframe the discussion around growth-dependent capitalism itself, and its constant shifting reach for cheap labor and cheap resources in order to sustain that growth, while still enlarging the profits of owner-shareholders as an “acceptable” return. The gig economy had to happen in this context — just as corporations had to start shifting away from full-time employment to contract labor. Both wealth disparity and job insecurity are absolutely deliberate in this context. Until we rethink these fundamental expectations of capitalism, it’s only going to amplify such trends.

My 2 cents.


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