Review Essay: Platform Cooperativism?(Book review)
Local communities around the world are grappling with the ‘disruption’ created by Uber, a ride-sharing company, and by other so-called sharing enterprises. Uber has recently been embroiled in scandals involving surge pricing and wage cutting, effective scabbing of a New York City taxi strike against the Trump travel plan, and an apparent pattern of sexual harassment at the top levels of management. The City of London has revoked Uber’s license over its failure to monitor drivers’ criminal records. Uber is increasingly identified with ruthless profit-maximising and social irresponsibility. Uber policies place drivers in direct competition with one another and subject them to arbitrary adjustments in wages and benefits. Many of the drivers are pleased with the relatively easy path to employment Uber offers compared to the substantial investments required in many big cities to join a taxi fleet. They soon learn, however, that the terms of employment are constantly changing. App algorithms are focused on externalising costs.