經濟體Uber化與Uber化經濟、起源、演進與勞動市場的後果:對法國的整體影響效果 - 政大學術集成

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(1)國立政治大學商學院國際經營管理英語 碩士學位學程 International MBA Program College of Commerce National Chengchi University 碩士論文. 治. 政 Thesis大 Master’s. 立. ‧ 國. 學. 經濟體Uber化與Uber化經濟、起源、演進與勞動. ‧. 市場的後果:對法國的整體影響效果 y. Nat. er. io. sit. Uberization of the Economy and the Economics of Uberization. Origins, Evolution and a Consequences in the Labor Market:. n. iv l C n The h Case e n gofcFrance hi U. Student: Victor González Advisor: Professor Jack Wu. 中華民國一〇五年七月 July 2016.

(2) 經濟體Uber化與Uber化經濟、起源、演進與勞動市場的後 果:對法國的整體影響效果 Uberization of the Economy and the Economics of Uberization. Origins, Evolution and Consequences in the Labor Market: The Case of France 研究生:歐谷國. Student: Victor González. 指導教授:吳文傑. 立. 政 治 大. Advisor: Jack Wu. ‧ 國. 學 ‧. 國立政治大學. 商學院國際經營管理英語碩士學位學程. Nat. al. A Thesis. er. io. sit. y. 碩士論文. n. v i n C International Submitted to h e n g c hMBA i U Program National Chengchi University. in partial fulfilment of the Requirements for the degree of Master in Business Administration. 中華民國一〇五年七月 July 2016.

(3) Acknowledgments First of all, I would like to address my gratitude to professor Jean-Marc Daniel for the quality of his teaching last semester and for having accepted to be my thesis director here at ESCP Paris. I also extend my deep considerations to professors Boris Durisin and Wei Zhou, who accorded some of their precious time and ideas that were really helpful for the realization of this thesis.. I would also like to thank professor Jack Hu from National Chengchi University, who has assisted me in the completion of this thesis, and who inspired me with his patience and deep understanding in the field of economics throughout my studies in Taiwan.. 治 政 My gratitude likewise goes to M. Thibaud大 Simphal, General Director of Uber in 立conference that he gave along with M. J. Pisany-Ferry at Science France, for inviting me to the ‧. ‧ 國. questions.. 學. Po Paris, on the topic of Uberization, and for the time they accorded me to respond to my. Last but not least, I would like to thank M. Mamou-Mani for the written references. Nat. sit. n. al. er. io. end the conference.. y. he gave me at the end of his presentation at ESCP, and for answering all my questions at the. Ch. engchi. i n U. v.

(4) Executive Summary Uberization: an all-in-one concept in vogue that synthesizes both the best and the worse from the latest economic and technological revolutions. It symbolizes a brand (Uber), a way of doing business (Uberize), a way of going out of business (being Uberized) and, perhaps most importantly, constant change. Not surprisingly most of the experts who have tried to define it appeal almost instinctively to the Schumpeterian notion of creative destruction as a useful precedent. Uberization is sometimes confused with other concepts such as sharing or collaborative economies, or even with disruptive technologies; but it is none, while at the same time encompasses them all.. 治 政 大 what the major consequences of concept actually stands for, will be to try to illustrate 立 Some precedents will be analyzed so as to understand its Uberization are on the real economy. The purpose of this paper, more than simply defining or differentiating what the. ‧ 國. 學. origin, evolution and future of Urbanization. The analysis will depart from the economic and technological fields, through a literary review; will subsequently extend to a concrete sector. ‧. (riding), in a particular country (France), via qualitative examination (interviews and conferences); and will finally present some conclusive quantitative data (study cases) that will. Nat. er. io. sit. y. facilitate a wider comprehension of the phenomenon.. Keywords: (Creative Destruction), (Industrial Revolutions and General Purpose. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. Technologies), (Uberization and Disruptive Innovations), (On-demand and Sharing. engchi. Economies), Technological Displacement and Skill-Biased Technical Change).. 1.

(5) TABLE OF CONTENTS ………………………………………… 2 ………………………………………… 3 ………………………………………… 4 ………………………………………… 5. Acknowledgments Executive summary Table of contents Introduction I. Research question. ……………………………………………… 5. II. Research hypothesis. ……………………………………………… 6. III. Literary review & methodology. ……………………………………………… 7. ………………………………………… 8 治 政 I. The economic, managerial 大 ……………………………………………… 8 & technological terminology 立 a) Economy ……………………………………………… 8 b) Management & technology. ……………………………………………... 16. ‧. 2. Critical historical review & evolution. 學. ‧ 國. 1. Conceptual framework. ………………………………………… 22. Nat. n. al. Ch. er. io. a) Creative Destruction from the Classics’ perspective. sit. y. I. The political-economy analysis ……………………………………………… 22 ……………………………………………... 22. engchi. i n U. v. b) The price to pay for economic progress ……………………………………………… 28 II. The technological factor review ……………………………………………… 36 a) Exponential technological advancements ……………………………………………… 37 b) Technology vs jobs ……………………………………………… 42. 3. Uberization in practice: Study case in France I. Socio-political context & impressions a) Digitalization à la France b) Qualitative & quantitative research c) Back to initial questions. ………………………………………… 48 ……………………………………………… 48 ……………………………………………… 48 ……………………………………………… 57. 2.

(6) ……………………………………………… 69 ……………………………………………… 81. & case study analysis d) Conclusion. ………………………………………… 83 ………………………………………… 85 ………………………………………… 89 ………………………………………… 91. Final remarks Bibliography List of figures and tables Annexes. 立. 政 治 大. ‧. ‧ 國. 學. n. er. io. sit. y. Nat. al. Ch. engchi. 3. i n U. v.

(7) Introduction I.. Research question In the beginning of the last century, an isolated group of businessmen and. industrialists –mostly in the US and Europe– shaped what was then considered as the basis of the economy of the future: mass production of goods through mechanization and labor intensive industries. That new reality, according to what modern economists and technology specialists say (Jeremy Rifkin, 1995), was the direct consequence of the trickle-down theory (théorie de l’effet de percolation or loi de débouchés) advocated by the French economist Jean-. 政 治 大 took place in the late XVIII century. The XXI century, in comparison, will be remembered 立 not only as revolutionary one, but also as the age when an even more selected group of tech. Baptiste Say in the early XIXth, as well as the effect of the Second Industrial Revolution that th. st. ‧ 國. 學. geeks and entrepreneurs reshaped the new on-demand economy through the use of digital technologies in what some believe is a more horizontal world.. ‧. This “Second Machine Age” is becoming what several experts (Erik Brynjolfsson. y. Nat. and Andrew McAfee) describe as the latest cycle of a hyper creative destruction once. sit. predicted by the Austrian economist Joseph A. Schumpeter. By the speed at which these. er. io. disruptive technologies are replacing old patterns of work, prosperity and the notion of. al. n. v i n C hthe adverse waves U to understand its causes to prevent e n g c h i brought by the so-called Uberization of the economy. The objective of this paper is to analyze both the origins, evolution and. progress itself, some scholars and opinion leaders from the public and private sectors are trying. consequences of this digital revolution in the real economy, with a particular focus in the labor market, and to contemplate some of the measures so far proposed to counteract it’s harmful effects. The Uberization process in France will be taken as a main reference to synthesize the pros and cons of this revolution in some specific sectors (riding service, housing, food, etc.) and market, so as to reach a conclusion of what comes next for those industries and the individuals who are unable to keep up with the new transformations.. 4.

(8) II.. Research hypothesis The “Uberization of the economy”, as the head of Publicis Group Maurice Lévy. called it in a now famous article from the Financial Times, is nowadays undeniable. The rapid transition from a local industrial goods model to a more global on-demand service one, by the means of the latest digital disruption, is patent in a world in which Internet platforms coordinate hundreds of thousands of freelancers to drive cars, rent rooms, deliver food and other goods as better alternatives to the classic service providers. What most of us visualized as another step towards the construction of a more collaborative economy, is actually turning out to tap all the resources that not long ago were efficiently organized by methods of mechanization or intensive labor. Being optimistic in regards of what there is to expect, it could be said that the exposition of the markets to this new trend will only result in the secular. 政 治 大 reconsider the detriment caused 立 on the supplier’s side in terms of competition. A realistic deflationary effect in favor of consumers. A more pessimistic scenario, in contrast, would also. ‧ 國. employees will end up being those most affected.. 學. analysis, like the one that will be presented here after, will modestly aim to recognize that. Indeed, much is the anxiety and few the certainties for a generation of employees. ‧. that see the end of the nine-to-five and the long-term contracts as the new normal. Centuries of. y. Nat. individual struggles and social turmoil to claim personal prerogatives and collective rights. io. sit. swept away in just a matter of decades. Most of societies still being regulated by obsolete labor. er. codes and legislation: a century of rough technological Darwinism while we are still unable to. al. n. v i n C h questions like: that we all ask ourselves several important e n g c h i U What results should we expect when. counterbalance it with the original idea of a social contract. An “Uberized” economy requires. some of the most basic notions of socialism or capitalism, for instance private property and salary, public health and retirement are transformed by the effects of the new technologies and the on-demand economy? What would be the advantage for the modern companies to keep assets and recruit new employees, when a huge number of freelancers are offering similar and sometimes better services at a lower cost without asking for any kind of social security? Or, event more relevant, how the States will finance itself without a taxation plan that effectively targets these new enterprises, business models and digital employment?. In order to try to answer these and other basic questions it is necessary to announce at this stage, at least three main hypotheses:. 5.

(9) -. The Uberization of the economy is, for good or wrong, a revolution that has already taken place and will not wait for any individual, organization country or government to catch up with it;. -. The consequences of this revolution may take us to a scenario of even more extreme social contrast and economic inequality if global measures are not adopted and implemented in the short and medium-term;. -. In the long-term, employees and the society in general will have to specialize more in tasks that are more “particularly human” and learn to work with new technologies instead of trying to “race against the machine”; likewise, governments will have to adapt and legislate accordingly.. III.. 政 治 大. Literary review and methodology. 立. This paper will follow a methodology that consists of three sections or chapters: in. ‧ 國. 學. the first part, the basic concepts of on-demand and collaborative economies or Uberization will be described and differentiated; disruptive technologies and technological displacement,. ‧. among others, will be defined to facilitate the analysis of the main hypotheses in the. y. Nat. subsequent parts.. sit. In a second time, a broader critical historical review of the political economy and. er. io. the evolution of technologies will be offered, so as to clarify what’s the current situation and. al. n. v i n C hto announce the main several books and scientific papers e n g c h i U theories –pros and cons; thesis and understand the major implications to be faced. For this section, we will constantly refer to. antithesis–, from renowned experts in both the economic and technologic fields.. Finally, several propositions will be given to try to answer some of the questions listed before; propositions that will be inspired from conferences, symposiums and interviews made in the context of the topic Uberization of the economy in France, as well as articles and blogs that relate to the matter. All the unquoted sources and references in the body of the text are to be consulted at the end of this paper in an alphabetic order.. 6.

(10) 1. Conceptual framework. I.. The economic, managerial & technologic terminologies. a. Economy From a Business Insider article dating from mid 2013 we learn that the “on-. demand economy is defined as the economic activity created by technology companies that fulfill consumer demand via the immediate provisioning of goods and services.” Furthermore, “supply is driven via efficient, intuitive digital mesh layered on top of existing infrastructure networks”1. The revolutionary aspect of this peculiar kind of economy is thus a combination of two important realities that characterize the way in which individuals and companies have been. 政 治 大 ease). Some critics could of course oppose to this view the fact that the on-demand economy is 立 not that recent a reality, and retrace the financial failure resulting from the .com bubble that doing business for the last 5-10 years: immediacy (high speed) and intuitiveness (or cognitive. ‧ 國. 學. busted in the late 1999-2000 as a milestone. Other experts might insist on the fact that regardless of when it started, the future of our economy is now dependent on the evolution of. ‧. the Internet of things and the development of a high number of companies in this field that. y. Nat. have been expanding at an unprecedented pace since the Third Industrial Revolution took place.. sit. Indeed, this concept of economy à la carte traces its origins back in the 90s when. er. io. companies such as Webvan and Kozmo were pioneers in attracting important funding and. al. n. v i n C dreamed startups that may or not reach the of unicorns (surpassing the threshold of $1 U h e n gstatus i h c being valuated in millions in a surprisingly short period of time. Some of these companies,. billion dollars), are still with us today as it is the case of the e-commerce platforms eBay and. Amazon. Modern leaders of the on-demand economy have been successfully creating “business models that can satisfy the needs of consumers in a more cost-effective, scalable, and efficient manner than their predecessors [by] leveraging on technology while utilizing existing infrastructure”. According to the strategist Mike Jaconi, the on-demand economy’s framework consists on the best of the old and the new worlds of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT):. 1. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-on-demand-economy-2014-7?IR=T. 7.

(11) 立. 政 治 大. ‧ 國. 學. However, the most influential sectors within the on-demand economy are not. ‧. limited, as some may believe, to the IT category. The peculiarity of what Mr. Maurice Lévy. y. Nat. also called the “digital tsunami” 2 is that it encompasses a plethora of sectors and industries. io. sit. that go from the provision of simple services such as food and package delivery, to the more. er. popular accommodation and transportation services; and from the more complex banking and. al. n. v i n C Economist also article from the weekly magazinehthe e n g c h i U dating from mid 2013 tells us, for. financial services, to the more sophisticated law advisory and accounting consultancy. Another. instance, how by march of that year 40,000 people rented accommodation from a well-known. application that offers more than a quarter million of rooms in approximately 30,000 cities, in almost 200 countries around the world. The service provided is well known for its method of putting in contact guests who chose their rooms or spaces among the 250,000 possibilities and pay in advance for the entire service. This service, instead of the classic hotel chain or private hostel, is provided by particulars eager to make full use of the limited assets they possess3.. Private rides through the use of a second leading platform had grown in an even more remarkable way if taken into account the awareness and potential of this à la carte ride service. The figures are more eloquent in this case, so according to calculations also dating 2 3. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/377f7054-81ef-11e4-b9d0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz47Ww9XFCk http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21573104-internet-everything-hire-rise-sharing-economy. 8.

(12) from 2013: “over $4.8 billion in capital have been invested in on-demand companies, with $2.2 billion invested in the previous 12 months [of 2012]4”. The riding industry alone amassed over 40% of that amount, from which almost 60% or “$1.2 billion were destined to finance the last round” of the transportation platform that barely 3 years ago was valuated only at less than $20 billion (the updated figures will be presented in the third and last section of this paper). When the startup revenues finally leaked at the end of 2013, its CEO stated to the newspaper the Washington Post Journal that the young company would be “at least doubling every six months”. What this data actually shows is that the transportation and accommodation industries are becoming economic giants in a still relatively adolescent on-demand economy. It’s just a matter of time to find those new champions in other sectors, willing to capitalize on new technologies that will keep helping them to reduce transaction costs, make sharing assets. 治 政 A third, more general example of industries大 that have been empowered thanks to 立the on-demand economy is food delivery service. Historically technological innovations in. cheaper, and easier than ever at a much larger scale.. ‧ 國. 學. limited to the needs from regular customers that would have to be met in a particular restaurant, another large group of entrepreneurs is attacking the more than $700 billion US restaurant. ‧. industry with non-less negligible success. The supply options have been recently expanded beyond the traditional physical locations, to reach demand coming from basically the remotest. Nat. sit. y. point of any city. The main difference between the delivery service applications and the. er. io. transportation and accommodation giants portrayed before being that competition is harsher for the former than for the latter, it is nevertheless true that early and adopters have been able to. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. keep capitalizing on opportunities in the market, given the extension of the submarkets. engchi. themselves and the wide set of tailored options that the restaurant industry has to offer.. A second concept that comes out almost invariably when economists and business journalists talk about some of the services previously listed, and which is as important for the purpose of this paper, is that of collaborative economies. Better known in English as sharing economies, the term, according to a Financial Times article of July 2015 “is turning out to be many things, [including]: a way to turn more areas of human existence into ad hoc marketplace; a form of regulatory arbitrage; and an informal economy that facilitates tax evasion5”. To make 4. 5. http://theweek.com/articles/538659/hidden-cost-ondemand-economy http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/a90562aa-20c4-11e5-ab0f-6bb9974f25d0.html#axzz42FoXdgVE. 9.

(13) a difference with the previous concept, the on-demand economy simply means a service that lets its users to access value immediately, in an easy, intuitive way. The most distinctive factor of the sharing economy would be, in contrast, that it is a disruptive economic form that unleashes various sources of supply that range from those underused assets just mentioned (cars, houses, restaurants, etc.), but also the labor force to ultimately tap as many resources that would otherwise be underutilized. What is mine is yours: for not for free, prays the new logic. So it is important to keep in mind from now on that the spirit of collaboration behind this idea of peer-to-peer economy relates more to a tacit consensus among the bottom segment of owners and users –in need to create value from shared spaces, goods or their own personal talents– than to an actual and uninterested social friendly gesture. As it was the case while defining the on-demand concept, we likewise learn that. 治 政 well known in business-to-business (B2B) […] as well大 as in business-to-consumer (B2C) ”. Three major drivers enable 立 sharing of resources for a broad variety of new goods and services the notion of collaborative consumption is not new. “The sharing of resources is for example 6. ‧ 國. 學. as well as new industries. “First, customer behavior for many goods and services changes from ownership to sharing. Second, online social networks and electronic markets more easily link. ‧. customers. And third, mobile goods and services make the use of shared goods and services more convenient”. Besides these three major drivers that would help us to distinguish the. Nat. sit. y. second from the first concepts so far defined (i.e. collaboration from on-demand economy),. er. io. what really rules the former one is the real –even if not totally uninterested– desire of its adherents to share access to products or services, instead of just claiming individual use for. al. n. themselves.. Ch. engchi. i n U. v. What might complicate the distinction though, is when we read that the collaborative economy model is used to describe online “marketplaces such as eBay, but also other emerging sectors such as social lending, peer-to-peer travel experiences, peer-to-peer accommodation, peer-to-peer task assignment or travel advisory, car sharing or commute-bus sharing.” A very interesting article by Harvard Business Review will help us to elucidate the confusion and facilitate the transition to the third and most important concept in this section: Uberization. It’s author, Arun Sundararajan, argues that the collaborating economy marketplaces that derive from the need of immediacy and intuitiveness of the on-demand economy, “transcend the simple trade conduct on eBay and are instead inventing an entirely 6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharing_economy. 10.

(14) new asset-light supply paradigm7”. According to this hypothesis, the initially well intentioned collaborative consumption would “enable the disaggregation of physical assets in space and in time, creating digital platforms that make these disaggregated components –a few days in an apartment, an hour using a Roomba, a seat in your drive from Berlin to Hamburg– amenable to pricing, matching, and exchange”. Therefore this reengineering of the entire traditional economy into a sharing stereotype is nothing else than a misnomer: the correct definition for the activity should instead be access economy. The reason being that when collaboration is market-mediated –which means that a company becomes an intermediary between consumers who don’t know each other– the whole idea of sharing losses its essence because consumers end up paying for the right to have access to anyone else’s goods or services. The “someone” (the idealized sharing partner) transforms. 治 政 大 that the intermediation is done the classic forces of offer and demand; with the only difference through more effective tools立 that have been systematically replacing the usual providers. Many into “anyone” (the conventional economic entity) who offers anything for a price regulated by. ‧ 國. 學. are the watchers believing that this radical phenomenon, which combines all that has been described until now –speed and cognitive ease to reach instant gratification, as well as a more. ‧. social motivated ideology of sharing goods and services by the means of applications that connect millions of users globally–, “is just the beginning of a technologically-driven. Nat. n. al. er. io. sit. y. economic shift, an on-demand revolution that will end up encompassing the entire economy”.. Ch. i n U. v. The Huffington Post business blogger Sunny Freeman is probably the journalist. engchi. who hast most accurately defined what Uberization means, when she stated that the formula currently being touted by a deluge of tech startups seeking to convince investors to adhere to the next revolutionary billion-dollar idea was: “take the power of Uber and apply it to X”. The Uber application, which most of us know as the leading platform that connects drivers and passengers through smartphones, is today known as the most highly valued tech startup worldwide: its estimated worth by late-2015, early-2016 being more than $62.5 billion. And yet even if the company still has to prove whether it is worth its multi-billion dollar valuation or whether it is just destined to become the most representative startup leading to a new .com crisis, the Uber –and the other Silicon Valley darlings– effect on the entire economy is undeniable. Amazon and eBay were among the first models, along with companies like Google, Apple and Facebook, that are not only growing in economic importance and highly influencing 7. https://hbr.org/2013/01/from-zipcar-to-the-sharing-eco. 11.

(15) social habits: they have transformed the old ways of doing business. Some specialists even suggest that the data collection giants are reconfiguring sectors beyond those of technology, economy and labor, and Uberizing education, medicine, art, leisure and even war industries. For the last three to four decades, ever since the Internet was invented, Economists have been talking about the idea of deploying unused assets into the economy, which has finally happened in a massive, unregulated and unpredictable way. This movement that we now popularly know as Uberization, has the potential to disrupt every industry. The risk of an accelerated continuous renewal is so palpable now a days that even companies like the San Francisco startup whose name inspired the concept have been experimenting with Uberizing its own services since its arrival in 2009. From picking up people on the streets and dropping them off in a designated address, to delivering gifts and Christmas trees on holidays. 治 政 大 and sometimes those are really in his blog Cantech Letter: “Technology is removing barriers, 立 […] Some of these industries that have been protected by painful barriers for the stakeholders or food and dessert to wedding parties. As Nick Waddell, a specialist in the IT domain tells us. ‧ 國. 學. regulation have grown lazy, and, as they’ve grown laze, it’s been really bad for consumers.” So traditional players find themselves forced to incessantly adapt or die, and the effect of this. equation.. ‧. dilemma is the creation of winners and losers, removing the middleman from the buyer/seller. sit. y. Nat. er. io. Other specialist –tech savvies and free-market economists– may argue that removing the middleman from the economic equation could allow each employee (driver,. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. concierge or restaurant manager) to become his or her own boss and work independently of a. engchi. central company, depending only on an Internet connection, a personal computer or a simple smartphone. In the same Huffington article quoted before, Sunny Freeman also explains that “the current labor climate, in which the job market is shifting away from traditional employment and towards part-time and temporary work, self employment and alternative working arrangements, actually creates a perfect recipe for the Uberization of labor8”. This might of course be good news for high-skilled workers who don’t feel confortable with the idea of having a formal employer or boss, and somehow for low-skilled workers as well who are simply looking for better alternatives to inflexible schedules or location constraints. Now, it is important to keep in mind that the only predicable thing about Uberization is precisely its unpredictability, and that as it will be said explained here after, there’s a risk in the medium. 8. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/04/01/uberization-uber-of-everything_n_6971752.html. 12.

(16) and long term for both low and even some high-skilled employees to be displaced by extreme levels of Uberization such as automation and artificial intelligence. In addition, Uberization of the economy may as well exacerbate social inequality, which has been the tendency ever since the first liberal reforms were implemented on both sides of the Atlantic, 3-4 decades ago. Will Mitchell, chair in new technologies and commercialization at the University of Toronto, explains how the society will divide into two: those who can most afford to pay for the services will take advantage over those who have possession of the goods needed to provide them. He uses the metaphor of an Uber ride as an example: “in an extreme weather scenario, the rider willing to pay 100 times the normal Uber fares gets drive [while] the person who cannot could be left stranded”. This results in a more general paradox where, the also professor of strategic management at Rotman School of. 治 政 大 –cars or homes, for instance– can […] On the supply side, those who already have possessions 立easily than those who do not.” What in the beginning was seen as sell their services much more. Business adds: “on the demand side, those who can most afford to pay for services will win out. ‧ 國. 學. a possibility of ever more robust and durable collaboration is transforming into a new scenario of social uncertainties.. ‧. Indeed, for many participants in this on-demand, pseudo-sharing, recently. Nat. sit. y. Uberized economy, applications have become synonymous with raise in prices, more than a. er. io. broader spectrum of options coming from service providers. The original idea was of course that of achieving ever more perfect competition, the logical evolution of a sober capitalism that. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. aims to balance supply and demand; where almost perfect efficiency would be procured by. engchi. incentives to price goods and services based on consumer’s preferences. As it has been the case in economics since the arrival of the very First Industrial Revolution, an aspiration for highly flexible prices coming from current market requirements has prevailed. For the very first time in history, a set of wider options were made possible by this particular era of technology, characterized by real-time data, payments by mobile platforms and geo-location services. This amalgam of possibilities has, in spite of all the good intentions, created a world where even the most basic sectors are auctioned off to the higher bidder, using the real-time data that was initially contemplated to favor the final users and buyers. Still, a company like Uber is a representative collaborative economy just because of the benefits riders obtains from it, in comparison to what the entire taxi industry has to offer. Where the San Francisco’s startup succeeded, was in replacing the need for an expensive item that is less necessary for many urbanites around the world than it used to be for 13.

(17) previous generations, with a cheaper and more efficient à la carte riding service. Will Mitchell is right when he affirms that a model that permits owners to rent out something they’re not using, to consumers who don’t have the means to acquire them but can pay for “access”, is definitely a good business model these days. But Uber’s success goes beyond the on-demand aspect. What the company is really good at, is at connecting the actual owners and consumers in real time without having to invest itself in the acquisition of the cars, replacing the middle man or organization that was unable to adapt to the current standards: clients paying for a ride only if it brings them instant gratification, both economically and psychologically. No wonder why the easiest preys of Uberization are those companies and individuals with customers unsatisfied with the existing way in which they do business, industries where there has been little change in the delivery model and sectors where there are enough suppliers eager to. 政 治 大. provide the service as long as there is good demand for it.. b. Management & technology. 學. ‧ 國. 立. For the purpose of this section, a second interpretation of the term Uberization. ‧. could be made through the definition and categorization of the term disruptive innovations.. y. Nat. The concept comes from Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor who has vastly written on. io. sit. the challenges that companies face when they are in the process of developing new ideas. His. er. main argument is that big companies are mainly focused on delivering value to their existing. al. n. v i n Ch U Introduced for the first time in his brilliant Dilemma in 1997 (followed e n gbook c hThei Innovator’s customers, but not necessarily pursuing constant innovation in order to attract new customers.. his The Innovator’s Solution), the author uses this generic term, even if he recognizes that not. all technologies are intrinsically disruptive. It is its strategic usage that makes disruptive innovations what they aim to be. They are innovations that open the way for new “uses” in the classic economy, which consumers still need to recognize, explore and accept 9 . The main characteristic of disruptive innovations is that they try to empower marketers for them to target and effectively reach users who initially were not interested in a particular product or service. What innovators of this kind have to offer is not only a more competitive, and in general, lower prices, but also a more interesting experience for their new clients. Probably the most defining attribute of these so-called disruptive innovations is that they put the user and his experience at the center of the definition. The market, and even the companies that provide 9. http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=disruptive-innovation. 14.

(18) the services are just seen as the answer to the needs of individuals, who most of the time ignore they are destined to become the final consumers. The blogger Hervé Kabla, a polytechnicien and CEO of Be Angels, a French digital agency specialized in social media tells us that the momentum for this trend is so important that “new forms of conception are emerging that go hand-in-hand with the definition of [disruptive] projects such as ‘design thinking’, which is an approach of innovation and its management that sees itself as a synthesis of analytical reflection and intuitive thought 10 ”. This tool is at the core of new universities courses in business schools everywhere and serious academic research that leans on processes of cocreativity requiring continuous feedback from the final users.. Disruptive innovations can come in different forms such as: novel organization. 治 政 conventional method of salaries; new business models 大 like the one set up by the U.S. airline 立the low-cost approach-cost approach to flying; or cutting edge Southwest that implemented practices like the American company Nucor’s pay for performance schemes, instead of the. ‧ 國. 學. technologies like Intuitive Da Vinci surgical robot or IBM Watson Health, which help doctors to give their patients a more accurate diagnosis and medication. For entrepreneurs, market. ‧. research that gauges plausible customer’s satisfaction, when the users aren’t still in the real market can be particularly valuable when it comes innovations. The original idea of speed or. Nat. sit. y. being the first in disrupting a market that comes from the on-demand terminology is here. er. io. secondary: disruption represents both a new opportunity of success but also a risk of cannibalization. Paraphrasing Clayton Christensen: to embrace rupture, means to kill the actual. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. activity of a company without having a guaranty of success. Ignoring rupture represents a 11. certain dead in the medium-term .. engchi. It is not hard to realize that the dilemma that entrepreneurs and managers have been facing for the last decades means that workers, at their turn, are obliged to confront their own predicaments in terms of employment options. From a social point of view, disruptive innovations means much more than achieving lasting competitive prices and being able to address a new segment of users who didn’t even know they could become such in the first place. Technology –and new technologies accentuate it even more– has this distinctive characteristic that allows employers to put into relation two totally different persons to apply themselves on the same function, giving full meaning to the term “unit of work”. Companies 10 11. KLABA, Hervé, in : Bruno Teboul & Thierry Picard Ubérisation = É conomie déchirée ?. Editions kawa. France, Mai 2015, 81pp. CHRISTENSEN, Clayton M. & Michael E. RAYNOR, The Innovator’s Solution. Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth, Harvard. Business Review Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 2003, p.... 15.

(19) like Amazon are pioneers in this field. Thanks to platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), a micro-tasking tool that permits to gather people on-demand to work on dematerialized tasks, this disruptive innovator giant is leading what some critics see as a return to taylorism. As Bruno Teboul and Thierry Picard explain in a short study on Uberization, 12. “these tasks permit certain employees to obtain a complementary remuneration, and have. control over their work schedules or simply work from home in exchange of a wage that is itself subject to the forces of offer and demand”.. The employees on this platform are considered as mechanical Turks in reference to the famous robot built in Europe at the end of the XVIIIth century, whose main task was to make his audience believe it was able to play chess and solve sophisticated problems, while a. 治 政 大 of Amazon in regards of the work way as modern employees complain about the dissimulation 立 of the task they actually execute, the Europeans in the conditions and the unsophistication. person hidden inside the machine was actually the one who would manipulate it. In the same. ‧ 國. 學. XVIIIth finally realized that the whole invention was nothing but a subterfuge. What Amazon Mechanical Turk actually does is using commissioners who, for a low wage and with no real. ‧. chances of actually being employed in a permanent basis, transcribe in fractions of minutes fragments of reports from business meetings, which are immediately transformed into. Nat. sit. y. algorithms, and later broken into different pieces that are again reconstructed into new. er. io. algorithms. Same procedure when these workers have to compile images, and also same operation for the facial recognition of other individuals from digital pictures.. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. As it has been suggested so far, Uberization can lead to two radical paths if it is. engchi. mishandled: economic unpredictability and social instability on the one hand, as well as unemployment or technological displacement as it is technically called today on the other. As journalist and bloggers are still trying to figure out what the meaning of a concept is, scientist and IT specialists warn us that acceleration in the adoption of new technologies or disruptive innovations, automation and artificial intelligence threatens the prospect of mass unemployment, affecting everyone from traditional drivers to more sophisticated workers. It is a reality that robotization will end up taking over humans in large sectors of the economy, if not all of them in the long run. Moshe Vardi, computer science professor at Rice University in Texas for instance, tells us how “we are approaching the time when machines will be able to. 12. TEBOUL, Bruno & Thierry PICARD, Uberisation = É conomie déchirée ? Editions kawa. France, Mai 2015, 81pp.. 16.

(20) outperform humans at any task13”. However in our time, digitization of the economy is still the biggest danger since it is the term that encompasses innovation both in terms of technology and user’s experience. It may represent either economic success for a company if the adaptation is fruitful, or failure if the implementation of new strategies doesn’t pay.. Today, not a sector or job in the entire economy is exempted of technological displacement. The shift from traditional societies, where technological improvements meant also new work opportunities, to hyper-specialized ones had as a direct consequence the accrued pauperization of semi-qualified and under-qualified workers. The extreme opposite to these Amazon Mechanical Turks are the relatively few over-qualified consultants and advisers. 治 政 大 once The career guaranties. with several professional certificates, high technical expertise and encyclopedic knowledge in the different fields of science.. 立. offered by companies and. universities to an entire generation of graduates and employees are now limited to target those. ‧ 國. 學. individuals or groups with the right know-how, to rightly deal with the most challenging and profitable projects left on sectors that still haven’t yet been disrupted by innovation. “Become. ‧. your own boss, deliver whenever you want and as much as you want14”, is the slogan proposed by Amazon for a second micro-tasking model consisting of an on-demand service for which. Nat. sit. y. the independent service provider is paid for each delivery that he or she makes. Announced on. er. io. 29th September last year, the move, which has not made public, is the latest sign that the world’s biggest e-commerce company wants to have more control over its standard packages,. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. before finally adopting the use of drones that the CEO Jeff Bezos wants to implement to get them reach his customers.. engchi. Amazon Flex, we read in a Reuters article published in February this year, “works like on-demand ride-hailing service Uber. Drivers use the app to sign up for shifts to pick up packages at small warehouses near metropolitan areas –as opposed to Amazon’s massive fulfillment centers– and deliver them to customer’s doors15”. Available in less than 20 cities in North America so far, the entire service is of course on its way to Uberize the entire traditional delivery services raging from the United States Postal Services to that provided by companies like UPS, FedEx and Estafeta. The only requirements asked to applicants are to be older than 21, to have a car as well as a valid driver license, and a smartphone equipped with Android operative system. Flex drivers can make between $18 to $25 dollars per hour, but are not 13. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/063c1176-d29a-11e5-969e-9d801cf5e15b.html#axzz42v8Czyxy http://www.lemonde.fr/entreprises/article/2015/09/30/amazon-invente-flex-le-travail-a-la-demande_4777417_1656994.html 15 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-logistics-flex-idUSKCN0VR00O 14. 17.

(21) subject to any health or social insurance benefit. Car insurance and gas expenses are the responsibility of the drivers also. It is also the same kind of work status that permits Uber and its independent drivers to lower its prices and keep expanding rapidly into new markets. This pronetarianization of the jobs –as Joël de Rosnay describes it in his book La Révolte du ponétariat– is the result of the new division of work into hyper-cognitive and rudimentary-manual, which helps to explain the creation of a new class of digital employees who are able to produce, diffuse and sell digital services through the tools given and principles imposed by the digital economy. It includes of course the Uber drivers and Amazon Turks that were previously mentioned, but also a plethora of other independent service providers. All this is because consumers don’t trust anymore the usual providers in a wide range of sectors and. 治 政 大 what music to hear (from radio taxis to Uber), where to eat (from a Restaurant to Deliveroo), 立 how to communicate (from phone to Skype), what to read and TV to Spotify and Netflix), industries: when it comes to choosing where to stay (from hotel to Airbnb), how to move (from. ‧ 國. 學. (from books to Kindle). The consequences of this democratization of choices is that it reduces jobs to micro-tasking; a modality of work seen by many critics today as modern slavery, since. ‧. it doesn’t actually give “free-lancers” a free choice and on the contrary makes them dependent of only one kind of retribution.. Nat. sit. y. Indeed, concludes Rodney in the same line of thought that was used in the. er. io. beginning of this thesis, “the massive and collaborative production by this new pronetariat represents a revolution as important as the one that took place in the beginning of the industrial. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. age, symbolized by the steam engine, intensive mechanization and automation. Nowadays. engchi. though, thanks to the new tools brought by the digital and the Internet of things, the latest revolution is disrupting the old paradigms; in parts thanks to its virtues but also in spite of them. A new Industrial Revolution is leading the way but this time with inadequate means of repression, legislation and information.16” It has also been prescribed in the introduction of this paper that trying to stop the Industrial Revolution in turn, i.e. Uberization, would be as futile as it was for the followers of Ned Ludd to smash mechanized loom back in 1811, as a way to oppose destructions of the classic textile jobs by the means of automation. The age when someone like the emperor Vespasian, who was able to stop the advance of technology by forbidding the construction of a rustic machine, as we learn from the Roman historian Suetonius, is long dead, and humans need to learn more than ever to adapt to the new realities resulting of from late inventions and practices. 16. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronétaire. 18.

(22) Having devoted the first section of this thesis to the description of the most basic concepts related to Uberization of the economy, so as to know what’s the difference between on-demand and sharing economies for example, or disruptive technologies and technological displacement for instance; the second section that follows now will be dedicated to the politico-economical analysis of the origins and effects of technological advances, as well as to its direct and more important consequence: the progressive disappearing of jobs. For this, a historical review of the most important theories or hypothesis from major economists will be offered in the first place. On a second place, a parallel of the evolution of technology will be drawn. The final part of this second section will help to illustrate what is the current situation of the employment sector of the economy, which will be useful as a transition to the third and last section, where the case of Uberization of the economy in France is to be described. A final. 治 政 For this coming part, the main references to which 大 we will have recourse are Joseph A. 立 and Democracy; The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin; Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism. conclusion in which the key proposition to face digital disruption will be outlined subsequently.. ‧ 國. 學. Joseph A. Stiglitz’ The Great Divide; Le monde est clos et le désir infini, by the French economist Daniel Cohen; two books from MIT Sloan School of Management professors Erik. ‧. Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee: Race Against the Machine and The Second Machine Age; Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford; as well as a history book of political economy, Histoire. Nat. n. al. er. io. sit. y. vivante de la pensée économique, written by ESCP professor Jean-Marc Daniel.. Ch. engchi. 19. i n U. v.

(23) 2. Critical historical review & evolution. I.. The political-economy review a. Creative Destruction from the classics’ perspective It was shortly after the Luddites began smashing the machinery they saw as the. mother of all their evils, that the father of the classic economy, David Ricardo, conceived the abstract model that showed for the very fist time the possibility of technological displacement. At the end of the XVIIIth century, the English economist had imagined that technology might be salutary for the entire economy for basically the same reason why modern analysts believe. 政 治 大 automation permitted to lower production costs, as well as to raise the offer of cheap 立 merchandises: it all would eventually results in more purchase power, growth of markets and. technology make productivity more dynamic. The optimism came from the idea that as. ‧ 國. 學. industries, and creation of new jobs and high salaries. It is this same ideology that represents the pillar of most of the economic policies of all XXIst century industrialized countries. It is. ‧. also this creed that has dragged us inexorably towards more technological unemployment in. y. Nat. the last decades, as well as to a record decrease in purchase power from consumers worldwide,. sit. and cyclical economic crisis.. er. io. The original theory according to which these spectacular benefits generated from the. al. n. v i n Cless for the masses of workers through products, more jobs and increase in wages, is h eexpensive ngchi U. mix of technological progress and increase in productivity ultimately end up being profitable. attributed to the French economist Jean-Baptist Say. According to him, the accrued offer of cheaper merchandizes sooner or later creates its own demand. In more precise words, the low prices resulting from the productivity processes eventually stimulate the demand of available products and services. The accrued demand naturally pushes towards supplementary production and ends ups supporting more demand, in a virtuous cycle of ever growing production and consumption. Furthermore, the accrued volume of sales guaranties that any loss in the work force initially caused by technological improvement will be rapidly compensated by new jobs to satisfy higher production levels.. Jeremy Rifkin tells us that one of the corollaries of the trickle-down theory is that even if workers are displaced by the new technologies, the unemployment problem will somehow be. 20.

(24) solved by what caused damage in the first place. History seems to supports the idea that a raising number of jobless people in the labor market pulls the salaries down; employers usually respond to this situation by hiring more people instead of taking the risk of buying more expensive machinery, which moderates the impact of technology on jobs overall. A less optimistic approach to the classic and neoclassic theories sustaining that technology is salutary for the economy thanks to the constant renewal of the working force that it implies, came with the arrival of the socialist revolutions that took place in Europe throughout the XIXth century. Karl Marx, largely inspired from Ricardo’s views, partially understood that economic progress brought by the mechanization within capitalist societies, could also mean turmoil. He affirmed that the effort from employers to continuously reduce costs and control de means of production by replacing the employees by machines, anywhere and as often as possible, would create. 治 政 大forms of work, and being capitalized The transfer of value coming from the traditional through the automation of立 functions, inspired the German philosopher to believe that the. more problems than generalized value than expected.. ‧ 國. 學. elimination of the human factor from the production equation –having as a direct consequence the creation of an army of reserve– would lead capitalism to its end. It is the case nowadays. ‧. that consumers in most developed nations, as well as in some developing economies, are spending less and less, and that the acquisition power of most of households has considerably. Nat. sit. y. stagnated. This fact will be discussed more in detail in the next section, but what is important. er. io. to retain here is that the same debate that has been taking place for the last three decades, concerning labor precariousness or the fear technological displacement for a large segment of. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. the industrial population, was already a main concern for the young European industrialized. engchi. societies two centuries ago. Something interesting about Marx theory of immiserization, points out Joseph A. Schumpeter, is that “the base of the ‘industrial reserve army’ [concept], i.e., of the unemployment created by the mechanization of the process of production, [was almost entirely] based upon the doctrine expounded in Ricardo’s chapter of machinery17”.. The basic difference between Ricardo and Marx theories, tells us the famous Austrian economist, on the one hand, “Ricardo had at first been inclined to share the view, very common at all times, that the introduction of machines into the productive process could hardly fail to benefit the masses. [The English economist later] came to doubt that opinion, or at all events, its general validity and with characteristic frankness revised his position18”. He 17 18. SCHUMPETER, Joseph A., Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Harper, p. 35. Ibid., p. 38.. 21.

(25) later produced an example well known to modern economist thanks to which he showed that mechanization could also turn out to beneficial to labor. Marx, on the other hand and less skeptically, assumed that along with the constantly diminished number of employments, as well as that of “magnets of capital who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself”. Famously as he is remembered, the German sociologist predicted that this centralization of the means of production, but also the imminent socialization of labor would at last reach a point where they became incompatible with the capitalist needs and mechanization irrelevant.. 治 政 大 studied the effects of the Second mechanization, having personally experienced and deeply 立 place first in Europe, but almost immediately in the United Industrial Revolution that took Even more notably and less extreme in his views; more conscious of the effects of. ‧ 國. 學. Stated: Schumpeter predicted better than anyone else before him what the causes and the consequences of the “cooperation” between technology and capitalism on the modern societies.. ‧. It is worth taking the time to make a more detailed analysis of the main ideas that can be found in Part II of his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, so as to better understand why we. Nat. sit. y. arrived to the economic point of inflexion in which we currently are. “Capitalism, he tells us, is. er. io. by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary […] The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. comes from the new consumers’ goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the. engchi. new markets, the new forms, of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates and of course the new technologies.” The emeritus Harvard professor prophetically explained that “the opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such […] illustrates the same process of industrial mutation –if I may use that biological term– that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism 19 .” An organic process indeed, in which modern economies are embedded more than any other industrial societies ever since the arrival of the First Industrial Revolution. We are able to assess “both as a fact and as a threat, that the 19. Ibid., p. 83.. 22.

(26) impact of the new things –new technologies for instance– on the existing structure of an industry considerably reduces the long scope and importance of practices that aim, through restricting output, at conserving established positions and at maximizing the profits accruing from them.” An observation that has become, in the turn of the XXIth century, the philosophical base behind the hypercompetition model that a well-known business strategy experts such as the Richard d’Aveni use as a referential mantra. In his book: Hypercompetition: Managing the Dynamic of Strategic Maneuvering, this Dartmouth College professor argues that competitive advantage for companies is no longer sustainable over the long haul. Advantage, he affirms, is continually created, eroded, destroyed and recreated through strategic maneuvering (we will come back to this later)20. Less notorious, or at least subordinated to his most preeminent concept of. 治 政 大 economic practices, Schumpeter’s the current context of entrepreneurial behaviors and modern 立 monopolies will also help us to understand some of the roots theories about rigid prices and. Creative Destruction, but maybe even more noteworthy given their numerous applications in. ‧ 國. 學. and consequences of Uberization. In the same line of thought as Ricardo, for whom as it was mentioned before, the effects of technology in the labor market were unpredictable:. ‧. Schumpeter defines rigidity as “a price […] if it is less sensitive to changes in the conditions of demand and supply than it would be if perfect competition prevailed.” He tells us that there are. Nat. sit. y. no major instances of long-run rigidity of prices and asserts that “whichever manufacturing. er. io. industry or group of manufactured articles of any importance we choose to investigate over a period of time, we practically always find that in the long run prices do not fail to adapt. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. themselves to technological progress –they fall in response to it.”. engchi. Employment vulnerability is, in a period of economic uncertainty, more than anything else the real cause of price rigidity, being this one “motivated precisely by the low sensitiveness of demand to short run price changes within the practicable range. People who in depression worry about their future are not likely to buy a new car even if the price were reduced [for example] by 25 per cent, especially if the purchase is easily postponable and if the reduction induces expectations of further reductions21.” So the elemental question that arises from this asseveration is to know if the lack of rigidity in prices that we’ve witnessed for the last decade is the fruit of the newest digitalized technologies, and if this digital revolution has been more beneficial than harmful for consumers, seen also as employees. But before we get to this analysis, which will be useful either to prove or deny the expectations of those optimists 20 21. http://www.strategy-business.com/article/14886?gko=c7ef4 Ibid., p. 95.. 23.

(27) who believe that the exposition of the markets to the new technologies will eventually result in the traditional deflationary effect in favor of the consumers, lets get familiarized with the second scenario. For historical reasons, a more pessimistic scenario that reconsider the detriment caused on the supplier’s side in terms of competition, as said in the introduction of this paper, comes from the idea that a lack of it –of perfect competition– has always been detrimental for the economy as a whole, at least in the long term. Schumpeter, skeptic as he always was and as prophetically as ever, tells us about this plausible situation which “the introduction of new methods of production [technologies] and the new commodities is hardly conceivable with perfect –and perfectly prompt– competition from the start. And [that] this means that the bulk of what we call economic progress is incompatible with it”. Furthermore, he affirms that “there are advantages. 治 政 fact secured only on the monopoly level, for instance,大 because monopolization may increase 立better, and decrease the sphere of influence of the inferior [or the sphere of influence of the which, though not strictly unattainable on the competitive level of enterprise, are as a matter of. ‧ 國. 學. simply] because the monopoly enjoys a disproportionately higher financial standing.22” We will come back to this analysis given almost word-by-word by some of the modern pioneers of. ‧. the Third Industrial Revolution, whose ideas both in economics and technology have paved the way to disrupt industries such as banking, the entire automobile sector and, even more. Nat. er. io. sit. y. impressively, aerospace.. The author of this eminent book that is Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy,. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. whose careful reading is precious for the good understanding of what has configured our. engchi. contemporary societies both from a unique perspective that synthesizes marvelously prudent political analysis and exhaustive economic research; also tells us how certain situations emerge in that process he called the creative destruction turmoil, in which many firms that could’ve been able to survive had they weather the first storm that separates the weak from the strong, might have to perish in favor of the latter. This veiled remark, which in more modern words doesn’t mean anything different from the term technological Darwinism already employed, illustrates a reality that can be only tolerated by democratic governments under the disguise of public concessions officially recognized by governments. On the author’s own words: outside the field of public utilities [fiscal monopolies for instance], the position of a single seller can in general be conquered –and retained for decades– only on the condition that he [the seller] does. 22. Ibid, p. 101.. 24.

(28) not behave like a monopolist23.” And yet the first thing that is thought to the future generations of entrepreneurs is that practically any investment must entail a minimum of safeguarding so as to make the project we are working on attractive for investors in the first place. As it was the case for the rigidity of prices, Schumpeter concludes, “long-range investing under rapidly changing conditions, especially under conditions that change or may change at any moment under the impact of new commodities or technologies, is like shooting at a target that is not only indistinct but moving –and moving jerkily at that. Hence it becomes necessary [for entrepreneurship at least] to resort to such devices as patents or temporary secrecy of processes or, in some cases, long-period contracts secured in advance. But these protecting devices which most economists accept as normal elements of rational management are only special cases of a larger class comprising many others which most economist. 治 政 of the optimistic or大 pessimistic. condemn although that do not differ fundamentally from the recognized ones 24 .” What we know for sure, independently. 立. views we’re incline to. sympathize with, is that any project or enterprise would in most cases be implausible if it. ‧ 國. 學. wasn’t for a minimum set of exceptionally favorable situations, only likely to arise in a proper context and time; but also and more importantly at the risk of a minimum amount of collateral. io. sit. Nat. b. The price to pay for economic progress. y. ‧. consequences that most of the time are suffered buy employees as we’ll see.. er. Ever since the luddites launched the first organized public revolt against. al. n. v i n C h Their contemporaries, effects of automation on the labor market. experts in the fields of a still engchi U. machines in the first decade of the XIXth century, workers have worried about the adverse. nascent science called economics (tributary of a more ancient discipline known by French physiocratie), have tried to reassure them of the salutary effects of a trickle-down theory that states, instead, that new technologies rime with creation of new jobs while the old ones that are not suitable for our modern societies as a whole are naturally destroyed. And yet if it is true that for over 200 years these experts were right, this logic is not valid for a new generation of employees who, as it was mentioned in the beginning of this paper, see the end of the nine-tofive and the long-term contracts as the new normal. The main problem today, as Nobel Prizewinning economist Paul Samuelson proved, is that just like outsourcing and offshoring do not necessarily increase the welfare of all workers, it is also a proved fact today that technological progress is not a raising tide that automatically raises all incomes. “Even as overall wealth 23 24. Ibid., p. 99. Ibid., p. 88.. 25.

(29) increases, as tell us Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee from the MIT Center for Digital Business, there can be, and usually will be, winners and losers. And the losers are not necessarily some small segment of the labor force like [.] In principle, they can ne a majority or even 90% or more of the population25.” The problem nowadays, as Jeremy Rifkin attested in his extensive study on the causes of The End of Work, is that this theoretical pillar of capitalism doesn’t stand as firm as it did for the last two centuries. As economist defended the idea that productivity enables companies to produce goods at a lower price and in higher quantities; that these same products being cheaper would consistently stimulate in exchange more demand; and that this same demand, in an already known virtuous cycle advocated by the adepts of the laisser-faire, laisser passer doctrine would be ever-lasting: jobs are being decimated as productivity keeps. 政 治 大. reaching historical records, this time affecting even the most developed economies and the most sophisticated professions.. 立. ‧ 國. 學. In his famous preamble to the 2006 edition of his major book so far, Rifkin. ‧. gives the name of productivity enigma to the situation the world has faced for the last 3 decades ever since the first neoliberal reforms were adopted in the US and the UK, but also. Nat. sit. y. other regions in the yet non-industrialized world. He argues that although certain observers. er. io. blame globalization and the lower cost of labor in developing countries, and cheap imports, what he actually considered as being the fundamental cause of unemployment pretty much. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. everywhere is the spectacular increase in productivity, as well as the most recent advances in. engchi. technology. Taking as a reference the period that goes from 1995 (year in which he published The End of Work) and 2002, he tells us that according the a study made by the Alliance Capital Management, in a time where industrial productivity has augmented by 30% worldwide jobs in manufacture have decreased by a 16%, which according to him is just a hint of what the correlation between these two factors might be a in near future. Referring to the myth so in vogue during the last decade that a manufacturing hub such as China that was until recently undisputable in terms of cost and output, even this Asian giant was not except from the effects. 25. BRYNJOLFSSON, Erik and Andrew MCAFFE, Race Against the Machine. How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation,. Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, Digital Frontier Press, Lexington, Massachusetts, 2011, 92pp.. 26.

(30) of the productivity enigma since it also represented for the country the loss of 15 million jobs in the manufacturing industry, or 15%26 of the total sector of activity. The services sector on the other hand, that we also know by the name of whitecollar sector, goes through a similar situation of precariousness as smart technologies have signified a rise in productivity representing that an equivalent number of employees in activities as varied as banking, insurance, wholesaling and retailing are more and more exposed to the new paradigms. The observers from Alliance Capital Management had of course estimated that the white-collar jobs would chase the same curve as manufacturing or blue-collar sector within the 40 years that followed the submission of the report. These predictions lead Paul Safo, director of the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park California, to point out that until the 1980s the world of business was symbolized by men who would talk to. 治 政 大 question that comes to mind is to with machines without human intervention . The obvious 立be satisfied by machine consumption. know if the new demand will men indirectly through machines –the new normal will be more and more machines dealing 27. ‧ 國. 學. In another famous book that he calls The Age of Access, The New Culture of Capitalism, Where all of Life is a Paid-For Experience, Jeremy Rifkin prophesizes that. ‧. intelligent machines –a mix of informatics, robotics, nanotechnologies and biotechnologies– will progressively replace human work in all sectors going from the most rudimentary such as. Nat. sit. y. agriculture, to the heavy industries of manufacturing and the most subtle service activities. er. io. some of which we have mentioned already. The XXIst century will see an ever-rising number of workers from the physical as well as the intellectual, but also from the most repetitive tasks. n. al. Ch. i n U. v. to the most conceptual or sophisticated ones to be done by machines that will be cheaper and. engchi. more effective than human beings28. By the mid XXIst century, according to his previsions, what he calls the merchant sphere will have the technological means and the organizational capacity to supply abundant good and services to an accrued base of the population by using only a fraction of the resources and energy utilized by the work force that feeds us and entertain us today. Alea iacta est: “by 2050, only 5% of the world adult population will likely be employed in the more traditional industrial sectors29.” New technologies destined to become the workforce hereinafter: new products, coupled with new services will depend upon new skills and qualifications that will in this fashion be reserved for a new elite of professionals who are still hard for hew companies and 26. RIFKIN, Jeremy, La fin du travail, Éditions La Découverte, Paris, 2006, p. XXXII.. 27. Ibid., p. XXXIV. Ibid., p. XXXV. Ibid., p. XXXVI.. 28 29. 27.

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