The world of work and labour is being transformed in many ways by an array of well-known and documented forces. Much has been written about automation and robotization and how they have eliminated a multitude of tasks and dramatically changed many of the remainder. Here we focus on a largely ignored force that is having much the same kind of effect on the world of work and has served to amplify the effects of these other changes; the increasing importance of one type of prosumer, the ‘working consumer’. While consumers have always worked, a series of relatively recent changes (i.e. new self-service technologies; the explosion of consumption on the Internet) have served to highlight the importance of the working consumer, prompt- ing a recent expression of concern for the ‘overworked consumer’. Increasingly today, the consumer has little choice other than to work in order to consume. As a result, workers (this time the ‘consuming producer’ another type of prosumer) have become less significant in those contexts in which working consumers have been of growing importance. The basic principle is that the increasing amount of work being carried out by consumers rather than by paid employees is a largely invisible as- pect of the ‘work revolution’. These consumers offer many advantages over workers, one of which is that they often work for little or no pay. There is a growing requirement for working consumers which impacts, both negatively and positively, the paid worker market. The working consumer produces in order to consume whereas the consuming worker consumes in order to produce. It is argued that working consumers cannot be considered to be a part of a labour market, but that their work nevertheless is getting into conflict with paid labour. This has a series of consequences for both types of labour, which will be discussed conclusively.

The Increasing and Invisible Impact of the Working Consumer on Paid Work

Piergiorgio Degli Esposti;
2021

Abstract

The world of work and labour is being transformed in many ways by an array of well-known and documented forces. Much has been written about automation and robotization and how they have eliminated a multitude of tasks and dramatically changed many of the remainder. Here we focus on a largely ignored force that is having much the same kind of effect on the world of work and has served to amplify the effects of these other changes; the increasing importance of one type of prosumer, the ‘working consumer’. While consumers have always worked, a series of relatively recent changes (i.e. new self-service technologies; the explosion of consumption on the Internet) have served to highlight the importance of the working consumer, prompt- ing a recent expression of concern for the ‘overworked consumer’. Increasingly today, the consumer has little choice other than to work in order to consume. As a result, workers (this time the ‘consuming producer’ another type of prosumer) have become less significant in those contexts in which working consumers have been of growing importance. The basic principle is that the increasing amount of work being carried out by consumers rather than by paid employees is a largely invisible as- pect of the ‘work revolution’. These consumers offer many advantages over workers, one of which is that they often work for little or no pay. There is a growing requirement for working consumers which impacts, both negatively and positively, the paid worker market. The working consumer produces in order to consume whereas the consuming worker consumes in order to produce. It is argued that working consumers cannot be considered to be a part of a labour market, but that their work nevertheless is getting into conflict with paid labour. This has a series of consequences for both types of labour, which will be discussed conclusively.
The Future of Work
75
99
Piergiorgio Degli Esposti; George Ritzer
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/826567
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