Thursday night owls: Silicon Valley economy makes life tough for the precariate
Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week
Lia Russell at The New Republic writes—The Silicon Valley Economy Is Here. And It’s a Nightmare. Low pay, soaring rents, and cities littered with e-scooters. Welcome to the future:
The indignities of the gig economy are well established at this point, as the laissez-faire labor practices of companies like Uber, Instacart, Door Dash, and Lyft draw more critical scrutiny. Bain, Cotton, and their fellow shoppers are among the millions of precariously employed workers who rely on part-time jobs or side gigs to scrape together a living, all without the safety net of employer-based insurance.
But what is less widely acknowledged is how the gig economy interacts with other trends in California and forces unleashed by Silicon Valley—rising housing costs, choked infrastructure—to make life hell for those who live at or near the epicenter of America’s technology industry. Together, they constitute a nightmare vision of what the world would look like if it were run by our digital overlords, as they sit atop a growing underclass that does their shopping and drives their cars—all while barely able to make ends meet.
By most official measures, California’s economy is humming. Its unemployment rate, at 3.9 percent, is at a record low. It is home to some of the world’s most valuable companies: Google, Apple, Facebook. As The New York Times noted in December, “Its median household income has grown about 17 percent since 2011, compared with about 10 percent nationally, adjusted for inflation.”
But the state’s affluence is spread unevenly, resulting in an increasingly bifurcated economy that privileges the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. This is particularly apparent in cities like San Francisco and San Diego, where the gig economy is most prevalent. Costs of living there are higher than elsewhere in the country, exacerbated by a housing market that, thanks to an influx of cash from the tech sector, has become prohibitively expensive for many people (and has also helped drive a spike in homelessness).
TOP COMMENTS • HIGH IMPACT STORIES
“Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” ~~Kenneth Boulding. U.S. Congress, Energy Reorganization Act of 1973: Hearings, Ninety-third Congress, First Session, on H.R. 11510
TWEET OF THE DAY
xI donÃ¢ÂÂt know whatÃ¢ÂÂs more revolting, Ivanka claiming she Ã¢ÂÂgave up her life to move to DC and help people,Ã¢ÂÂ or NYT writing a funding profile of her shallow, self-serving corrupt self. https://t.co/7DVq4DAOZq— PR Queen (@PR_twit) January 24, 2020
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos on this date in 2006—Extend debate on Alito:
It seems clear to me that the significance of Alito's views on executive power, access to the courts, civil liberties, the right to privacy, the federal Commerce power, and a myriad of other issues, is only now coming into proper focus. More time is needed for the Senate to properly carry out its Constitutional function of advice and consent.
An appointment to the Supreme Court is for a lifetime. Samuel Alito is 55 years old and, like Justice O'Connor, is likely to sit on the Court for a quarter century if confirmed.
Given the stakes, an additional period of consideration and debate seems appropriate. The length of this additional period need not necessarily be long nor the debate protracted. It seems to me that with a fairly brief period of consideration, the members of the Senate can chart a course for appropriate action regarding Judge Alito.
Thus, I urge the Senate, and in particular the Senators of the Democratic Caucus, to consider moving for extended debate to further consider the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Rave reviews for Day 1 of the House managers’ opening arguments. Just plain raving from Trump. Greg Dworkin has one eye on the proceedings, and one on the polls. Defense set to argue that subpoenas were invalid, and a conviction is unconstitutional.
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