Per Bylund makes a great observation in a recent post on the alleged exploitative nature of the “gig economy.” The interventionist (usually on the left) storyline is that the gig economy makes people accept lower wages; that is, they complain that companies such as Uber and Lyft ought consider the drivers to be employees rather than contractors. They desire to consider them contractors, so the story goes, because they are “able to get away with” paying them less money and leverage a situation in which the drivers own the vehicles they are to drive with.
But it’s funny because we always hear about how all the capital is owned by the “rich,” by the capitalists. And yet, technology and overall productivity has led to such a remarkably decentralized division of labor that, greater than anytime in history, advanced capitalism has actually allowed these “capital goods” (cars) to be owned by the workers themselves.
I find the argument that the ‘gig economy’ makes people accept lower wages highly fascinating. Suddenly it is a problem to these critics, mainly on the left, that ‘workers’ own their own capital.
When personal property becomes capital, a source of income, then the obvious implication is a decentralization of capital ownership.