Summary of Is the Gig Economy Working?

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The gig economy, which companies like TaskRabbit and Airbnb represent, has helped millions of Americans earn extra money. But as more and more people rely on “gigging” as their only source of income, society will need to address the question of whom the new economy is leaving behind. In an essay in The New Yorker, editor Nathan Heller explores the irony that many liberals and progressives champion the gig economy despite its doing away with the welfare benefits and worker protections liberals fought for throughout the 20th century. getAbstract recommends Heller’s thought-provoking look at the winners and losers of the gig economy to policy makers and anybody participating in the new economy. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • What constitutes the gig economy,
  • Who benefits from the gig economy and
  • Whom the gig economy is leaving behind.

About the Author

Nathan Heller is a staff writer at The New Yorker.



Companies like TaskRabbit, Airbnb, Lyft, and others represent a new business model – variously described as the “sharing economy,” the “gig economy” or the “on-demand economy.” Typically, these and similar businesses operate through online platforms, use customer ratings and rely on a network of freelancers who set their own schedules. Many progressives celebrate the values of the gig economy. Some see “gigging” as a rebellion against corporate structures and social norms, while others champion the virtue of personal responsibility.

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