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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
July 31, 2019

Tackling precarity in the platform economy -- and beyond

To focus on online platforms in isolation would miss the point that they are part of a wider phenomenon of spreading and intensifying precarity at work.


In our increasingly digitalised world, a crucial role is played by online platforms. These platforms—dynamic websites which constitute digital public squares or marketplaces—affect the economy and our society in various ways and their regulation (or lack thereof) is increasingly the subject of public and political debate. Whether it be the way in which Facebook deals with personal and public information, the influence of Airbnb on our habitat, Uber’s effects on the taxi sector or the working conditions of Deliveroo couriers or tech-workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk, the ‘disruptive’ effects of the activities of the platforms regularly make headlines.

A key social problem is the labour status of those working in the online-platform economy. These drivers, riders, cleaners, designers, translators, technicians and others are often formally contracted as independent and their working arrangements tend to exhibit features which are difficult to square with the traditional employment relationship. These include use of their own materials (such as the driver’s car), autonomy concerning working hours (logging into work via a smartphone app), the short duration of the relationship (translation of perhaps a single sentence) and its multilateral character (the platform linking the producer and consumer).

At the same time, the worker may well be economically dependent on the platform work, the contractual independence can be constructed in rather artificial ways—such as if a driver works full-time for a platform for several years yet remains formally contracted per journey—and the platform can exert significant control over the work and the person performing it. Furthermore, their ‘independent’ status often means platform workers lack the benefit of the social, labour, health and safety protections which in most countries are connected to an employment contract—even if their precarious working conditions and socio-economic position very much require such protection.

Indeed, online-platform work presents a range of old and new health, safety and wellbeing risks for workers, physical and psycho-social. Moreover, studies suggest that prior health problems may in fact be a main reason initially to engage in digital online-platform work, such as on microtask platforms. While this means that online platforms can provide an alternative means for people with health impairments to carry on work and earn some income, contributing to social and labour-market inclusion, it also means that many online-platform workers are already in a vulnerable situation, which the work may aggravate. Beyond the individual level, the lack of social-security contributions and tax revenues which often ensues from the independent status of the online-platform workers presents a sustainability problem for social systems more generally in the long run.



Shifting the narrative to the benefits of (EU) regulation


July 31, 2019

Warren saying 'first use' is off the table is madness, I can't think of a more destabilising stance

It is not only electoral suicide, it gives Russia and China, etc the keys to the candy shop of military expansion. It was a huge blunder, and would used to CRUSH her in the general. I am, as I stated before, so NOT a hawk, but that policy open up the doors to massive regional military adventurism by our enemies. Half of Taiwan is shuddering (if they listened to that.) Same for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Ukraine, etc.

Lawrence O'Donnell is a blasted FOOL for saying she was right versus Bullock. She may be the best on multiple plans for domestic economic issues, but unless she walks that back she is utterly off my list unless it is the general. So out of her depth on foreign policy.

on edit, changed to 'first use' to be exact in my phraseology

July 29, 2019

WaPo Editorial: U.S. income inequality doesn't have to be the worst in the industrialized world


INCOME INEQUALITY, and the impact of President Trump’s policies on it, looms as a major issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. Fortunately, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has just issued a report on U.S. income inequality through the end of 2016 — that is, about the time Mr. Trump assumed the presidency. Spoiler alert: The situation was improving slightly after eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency but might well have headed in the opposite direction since.

The CBO’s bottom line is that the nation’s progressive income tax system and means-tested benefit programs such as Medicaid (expanded via Obamacare) and nutritional assistance significantly counteracted the increasingly upwardly skewed distribution of income that the market alone delivered, via wages, salaries and investment earnings, between 1978 and 2016. Consequently, the U.S. Gini coefficient — a broad measure of income inequality in which 1.0 is the highest inequality score and 0.0 the lowest — stood at 0.42 at the end of 2016, after accounting for taxes and transfer payments. This was the highest Gini coefficient of any industrial democracy; it was slightly lower, though, than at the end of President George W. Bush’s term. Perhaps most important, the trend was downward, implying decreasing inequality as Mr. Obama left office.

The CBO has not yet been able to measure what has happened in the past two years. However, all signs point to regression. The biggest policy change in that interval — the Trump tax cuts, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2018 — tilted the distribution of income after taxes upward. Some 27.2 percent of the benefits from changes to individual taxation in that law accrue to the top 1 percent of households, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

As for transfers to the poor, the most aggressive efforts by the Trump administration and the Republican Congress to cut (or, in the case of Obamacare, eliminate) them legislatively have indeed been prevented. On July 23, though, the White House proposed a regulatory change, through executive action, that would remove 3.1 million of the 40 million people currently on the rolls of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, eliminating about $2.5 billion a year in transfer payments. So the administration is not finished looking for ways to shrink federal programs that transfer money downward in the distributional scale.

July 28, 2019

Full interview: Pete Buttigieg meets with the Des Moines Register Editorial Board July 27, 2019

Pete Buttigieg says racial tension in America 'will reach a boiling point' without action


Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg warns that racial hostility in America "will reach a boiling point" if policies don't change. The South Bend, Indiana, mayor, in Iowa for a two-day visit to highlight a new policy focused on protecting workers, spoke of his fears Saturday while meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board.

“I think that polite opinion in white America is very much behind the reality of what people are putting up with right now in this country. And it will reach a boiling point … I can feel it," Buttigieg said. Buttigieg said some South Bend residents have disliked his talk about policing issues "because they don’t trust anything that anybody says to them anymore, even when we’re doing the right thing. That could blow this country up."

Buttigieg was alluding to the South Bend community's response in the weeks after the fatal June shooting of Eric Logan, a black man. The white officer who shot Logan did not have his body camera turned on. The shooting put a spotlight on Buttigieg's relationship with African Americans. At the editorial board meeting, Buttigieg spoke of the dangers of white supremacy by noting that the Civil War is the closest the country has come to "the American Project ending."

"White supremacy is the force that has come closest to bringing this country to its knees and, I believe, that lurking danger is still with us," he said. "It’s been brought to the surface a little more than usual under this presidency, but it’s always been there, and if we don’t tackle it, even with some challenging conversations about what we all owe each other as Americans, it’s just going to keep secreting this poison into American life."

July 27, 2019

the nation (world) needs us to get Rump's COMPLETE tax returns

skewer that orange bloat

Expose him for the pure gangster criminal family mob boss that fucker is!!

July 25, 2019

Pete Buttigieg's High School Wouldn't Hire Him Today -- Because He's Gay.

The 2020 presidential candidate’s Catholic alma mater in Indiana won’t employ teachers in same-sex marriages.


The Roman Catholic high school that Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg attended has a policy against hiring educators in same-sex relationships, HuffPost has learned. This means even Buttigieg, the nation’s first openly gay White House contender, would not be able to get a job at his alma mater on the basis of his sexuality.

“The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend (in Indiana) requires our educators to adhere to Catholic teachings on the respect for the dignity of all persons and on marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” diocese spokeswoman Jennifer Simerman said in an e-mail. According to diocese policy, entering into a same-sex relationship or marriage is “incompatible with the mission of the Catholic school educator,” Simerman wrote. The diocese oversees Saint Joseph High School, where Buttigieg started as a student at age 14. He went on to Harvard University, served in the Navy (deploying at one point to Afghanistan) and first won election as South Bend’s mayor in 2011.

Buttigieg publicly came out as gay in 2015 and married his partner, Chasten Buttigieg, last year. Saint Joseph’s policy highlights stark contradictions between the nation’s laws and widespread cultural attitudes toward LGBTQ people. Buttigieg could ascend to the nation’s highest office, yet current laws would allow his alma mater to legally discriminate against him based on his sexuality.

While he remains a longshot in the race for his party’s nomination, Buttigieg’s candidacy already has exceeded expectations for a politician who lacked a national profile, attracting impressive fundraising support and garnering the backing of some big-name celebrities. Several polls have shown he is among the Democrats who could defeat President Donald Trump in next year’s general election.

July 25, 2019

NYT: ASAP Rocky to Stand Trial in Sweden on Assault Charge

The case started as a street brawl, but has ballooned into a diplomatic incident, with Sweden facing accusations of racism and human rights abuses.


The rapper ASAP Rocky was charged on Thursday with having committed an assault causing actual bodily harm on June 30 in central Stockholm, Swedish prosecutors said in a statement. The prosecution will proceed “despite claims of self-defense and provocation,” the public prosecutor for Stockholm, Daniel Suneson, said in an email.

The rapper will remain in custody until a trial begins on Tuesday, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement. The punishment for Rocky could include a fine based on his daily earnings or a maximum two years in prison, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, Annika Collin, said in a telephone interview.

Two members of Rocky’s entourage also face a trial. The development will sharpen the focus on a case that started as a street brawl, but has ballooned into a diplomatic incident, with Sweden facing accusations of racism and human rights abuses for its treatment of the rapper. Rocky, 30, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, is accused of assaulting Mustafa Jafari in Stockholm on June 30 after an altercation in the street that was captured on video. The rapper and two other men were detained on July 5 as prosecutors investigated the matter.

Slobodan Jovicic, Rocky’s lawyer, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the rapper acted in self-defense. On July 2, Rocky posted two videos on Instagram that Mr. Jovicic said show Mr. Jafari and another man following and harassing the rapper, despite being repeatedly asked to stop. But Mr. Suneson, the prosecutor, said Mr. Jafari had been punched, kicked and struck with a glass bottle in an attack that lasted several minutes. Mr. Suneson said he had more evidence than the video clips that were published to Rocky’s Instagram and on websites including TMZ. That included footage from CCTV cameras and witness statements, he added.

July 25, 2019

Should Hope Hicks go to prison?


Michael Cohen is currently serving a prison sentence for financial crimes and for lying to Congress. Those financial crimes include paying women for their silence regarding alleged affairs with President Donald Trump. In July, new documents revealed another participant in these cover-ups: then-campaign press secretary, Hope Hicks. Hicks previously testified before Congress that she was never present for any conversations between Cohen and Trump regarding hush money payments to Stormy Daniels specifically. Some say Hicks should go to prison for lying to Congress, just like Cohen.

What do you think? (Poll at the link)

According to ABC News, new documents indicate Hope Hicks, along with Trump himself, were aware of Cohen's hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. Cohen lied about said payments to Congress; he was sent to prison as a result of these lies, along with other financial crimes. Per ABC News, Hicks also testified to Congress that she had “no direct knowledge of Cohen’s payments to Daniels,” but the new records seem to suggest otherwise.

The records – hundreds of pages connected with search warrants issued in 2018 – show that Hicks, along with Trump, spoke by phone to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as Cohen formulated his plan to pay $130,000 to Daniels. The goal was to keep Daniels from going public with her allegations about a tryst with Trump in 2006.

Many feel the released documents should seal Hicks’ fate, or at the very least warrant further investigation. If Cohen is serving time for the hush money payments and for lying to Congress, Hicks should be too.



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Gender: Female
Hometown: London
Home country: US/UK/Sweden
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 07:25 PM
Number of posts: 45,393

About Celerity

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