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The Rise of the Gig Economy


Click here to download this article as it appears in the magazine, with accompanying artwork.

Editors’ note: This article is from the Summer 2022 issue of the Nonprofit Quarterly , “Owning Our Economy, Owning Our Future. ”

This article was excerpted from The Future We Need: Organizing for a Better Democracy in the Twenty-First Century by Erica Smiley, executive director of Jobs With Justice, and Sarita Gupta, in her personal capacity as a longtime labor rights organizer and advocate. Copyright (c) 2022 by Cornell University. Used by permission of the publisher, Cornell University Press.

For the past few years we have been inundated with rosy books and articles about the gig economy. 1 They feature vignettes of people working flexible hours to pick up extra cash: the graduate student who drives for Uber in her spare time, the stay-at-home parent who brings in extra spending money with EasyShift, the high school student picking up odd jobs on TaskRabbit. Whether it is being praised as the newest innovation in work-life management or as a massive new industry that will displace traditional work relationships, the gig economy is widely touted as the latest great phase of modern work.

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