Interesting Salon interview with Jaron Lanier titled The Internet Destroyed the Middle Class.
(Thesis: Kodak employed 140,000 people, Instagram employs 13. Thanks, internet!)
A good portion of his article (including the above quote) is about the economy’s shift to freelancers and “content creators,” and about how there’s this model that’s kinda working okay if you’re young and healthy but doesn’t allow you to build a life.
(Of course Lanier is both a successful freelance writer and a performing musician. But he’s talking about the *rest* of us.)
I both agree with what he’s saying - I can already see far enough down the line to know that a life of perpetual touring will become tedious in a year or so, and yes, I don’t get any paid sick days - and also want to say “but it was always like this!”
Because musicians have to sing for their supper for every meal, but so do hourly service workers and people who work mostly on commission and all the jobs like caterer or taxi driver or substitute teacher, all of which have existed long before the internet.
It’s not the internet’s fault that America doesn’t have legally-required paid sick days, and it’s not the internet’s fault that many jobs are difficult for older people to perform, and it’s not the internet’s fault that many jobs make it extremely challenging to both work and raise a family (even the “good jobs;” ask Anne-Marie Slaughter).
And yet people still have families and people still work when they are older and people still make this “biologically unreal” life work, mostly because they have to.
It might be the internet’s fault that there are fewer jobs. (We’d have to run some serious statistics on that.) But it’s not the internet’s fault that Lanier doesn’t get sick days and isn’t able to retire early. That’s the way it’s been for decades, and maybe it’s just Lanier’s first time figuring that out.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
You know nothing, AV Club Game of Thrones reviewers.