Louis Hyman—How Work Became Insecure: The History Behind the Gig Economy

June 5, 2019 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Salem Athenaeum
337 Essex St.
MA 01970
$10 members, $15 non-members, Free students with ID.
Salem Athenaeum

Often we hear how today’s workplace insecurity is driven by technology. With a few clicks on your phone you can hire a car to drive you downtown, an assistant to schedule your calendar, or even someone to walk your dog. All the talk of technology gives these changes the appearance of inevitability. But they are not the result of an algorithm, but a choice by corporations. Uber is not an algorithm but the waste product of a service economy. The alternative is not between driving for Uber and working a union job, but trying to get shifts as a barista. Our technology solves for a workplace that is already insecure. The death of secure work long preceded our current moment, but, curiously, its imagination by consultants, business leaders, and corporate gurus preceded its success. In his talk, Professor Louis Hyman will explain how our economy moved from postwar security to today’s precarity, not through technological inevitability but corporate strategy.


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