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Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Economy, Work | 0 comments

The Expendable Worker: Looking for Hope in the On-Demand Economy

The Expendable Worker: Looking for Hope in the On-Demand Economy

“Low, low prices.” With that motto, a generation ago Walmart took over the world of retail. For years Walmart seemed untouchable; they could consume any competitor with volume, price and efficiency. Yet in the past several years, some have questioned whether the Walmart empire has a gaping hole in the center. Forbes reported in 2014 that “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing.” Americans for Tax Fairnessfound that “a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.” When hourly workers go on strike to demand higher wages, often they’re fired. Now, a recent New York Times cover story has highlighted the suffocating working conditions of Walmart’s successor: Amazon. Employing a sea of white-collar workers, Amazon has perfected the art of squeezing every ounce of productivity (and life)  from its employees. “One day I didn’t sleep for four days,” said Dina Vicarri, who sold Amazon gift cards....

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