[文摘] 世界重回封建時代?-從 Uber 談起

Do you really think UBER a good thing that healthy for our economy? For while I believed so, until insights from economic realists such as this article revealed to me the opposite!

摘譯這期《國家》周刊封面故事,未來式的講了一個尚未被廣泛認知的圖像:名為「共享經濟」的科技創業,如UBER、AirBnB、TaskRabbit、Mechanical Turk 等,過去總讓我們以為是「充分利用閒置社會資源的好東西」,我們因此願意透過 app network 及 gps 跟人共乘、代購、提供空房。


國家雜誌 Cover


從 Uber 即可看出,業主狡猾地規避對勞工與消費者的合法保障。甚至在美國大城市,Uber的收費也被業者不斷壓低,只有都市人均時薪百分等級25,以跟小黃車隊跳樓競爭(還不包括車子的折舊也車主自行吸收,因為Uber定義自己只是個「共享經濟」服務,而不是運輸業。)

AirBnB則在許多城市變成「黃牛經濟」。只需要「一張床」的大學生,在紐約租「四人房」,然後拉高價格分租其他三床,使自己的房租變成「免費」。代價是,想租「一間床」的租屋客,在紐約不少地段已經找不到地方住,而「只能」往 AirBnB一類的服務去,進而炒高整個地區的房價和租賃市場。

TaskRabbit 等服務,更養出一堆 Taskers,讓很多單位不再招聘正職人力,而是利用這些服務發包工作。這是 Karl Marx 當年所最不樂見的,勞動「剩餘價值」再度被掌握資產工具者瘋狂剝削的變形「資本主義」-

The sharing economy looks like a classically neoliberal response to neoliberalism: individualized and market-driven, it sees us all as micro-entrepreneurs fending for ourselves in a hostile world. Its publicists seek to transform the instability of the post–Great Recession economy into opportunity. Waiting for your script to sell? Drive an Uber on the weekend. Can’t afford a place to live while attending grad school? Take a two-bedroom apartment and rent one room out. You may lack health insurance, sick days and a pension plan, but you’re in control.


只是這回,我們每個人都要耕好多塊田才能補足收入了:早上接 task case幫代購、搞設計、接翻譯、或是順道用 Uber 開自己的車去接某個有錢人家的小孩放學、平日處理分租、晚上再出去開一趟車接喝酒應酬完的人回家。

如同 Airbnb 創辦者Chesky引用Thomas Friedman所說的:You may not have a job but you’ll have an ever more complex “income stream”—which in most cases is more likely to be a trickle than a torrent.

Despite the appeal to a green communitarianism, it became a nice way for rapacious capitalists to monetize the desperation of people in the post-crisis economy while sounding generous, and to evoke a fantasy of community in an atomized population.

In an arrangement that looks increasingly feudal. There’s the venerable TaskRabbit, founded in 2008, which was described by Wired as an “eBay for real-world labor.” It matches “Taskers” with “Clients”—firms or people with errands to run. Financially, TaskRabbit is a pipsqueak next to the giants of the sharing space; according to CrunchBase, it’s received just $38 million in financing.

Lugging a bag of dog food on a cold winter night gets recast as an act of neighborly generosity, even though money will change hands and the “neighbor” is unlikely to be seen again. Many Taskers are people who had good jobs until the recession hit; as of last year, 70 percent had a bachelor’s degree, and 5 percent a PhD. Now they’re running around town fetching stuff.

Comparable services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk allow workers to bid for the privilege of doing piecework online—filling out spreadsheets, doing graphic design, checking code for errors—at low rates with no accountability from companies, which can reject their work (and their invoice) if they deem it insufficient for any reason.

未來將是窮忙族、派遣工 vs. 科技創業新貴 的革命。

而要怎麼改變這種狀態呢?你可能沒發現,除了科技天分之外,答案就在於擁有與責任。「你只會擁有你想要負責任、覺得驕傲的東西。」人們不想負擔車子,於是寧願使用 Uber共乘服務;人們不想負擔房子,於是使用 AirBnB租屋服務。甚至你不想要小孩、不想擁有戀愛,當然也會有業者推出:計時情人、出錢代養的託管育兒服務等等。

Airbnb 創辦者Chesky 在 McKinsey & Company 的一個訪談中說:today’s generation sees ownership as “a burden.” People aren’t proud of their homes or cars; they’re proud of their Instagram feed.

In the future, people will own whatever they want responsibility for. And I think what they’re going to want responsibility for the most is their reputation, their friendships, their relationships, and the experiences they’ve had.”

我們可以說,當除了持有臉書或 instagram,人們已經不願再「長期持有」任何產業的時候,就是世界重回封建時代的開端。




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