Increasing global connectivity and, in the wake of the Great Recession, persistent un- and under-employment worldwide have contributed to the rapid growth of digital labour, particularly that which falls under the umbrella of the so-called “online gig economy.” Both companies and countries have welcomed the rise of the online gig economy as means of cost-savings and as a solution to unemployment and sluggish economic growth, respectively. While the growth of the online gig economy undoubtedly presents a number of exciting opportunities, it is also accompanied by more than its fair share of pitfalls, including a lack of worker protections, the potential to exacerbate inequality both between and within countries, and the low quality of much of the work involved. Instead of ignoring existing imbalances in favour of the tempting vision of digital labour as a panacea for unemployment and economic growth, I argue that policy makers must acknowledge the numerous risks concomitant with the growth of the online gig economy, and act to ensure that the inevitable rise of digital labour helps rather than hinders future development.
How to Cite:
Fu, S., 2019. Rethinking digital labour for development. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 7(1), pp.59–75.