Is income inequality being driven by the effects of new technologies?

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Tech unicorns exploit gig economy workers.

The contractors of Uber, a company that uses software to assemble and distribute drivers, do not do well financially despite the company being valued at $82 billion. The Guardian reported that in New York, 2 in 5 Uber drivers rely on Medicaid and almost 1 in 5 on food stamps.

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Insecure work is a growing trend, and it's contributing to income inequality. App companies are partly to blame.

Around the world, insecure work is on the rise and app companies are partly to blame. In the UK, ONS data shows that between 2008 and 2018 there was a tenfold increase in the number of people on zero-hours contracts (from 143,000 in 2008 to 1.6 million in 2018).

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Automation has decimated manufacturing employment in the USA.

There are 5 million fewer manufacturing workers than there were in 2000—yet American factories are far more efficient than they were in 2000. The reason is that factory work is becoming automated.

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While automation may be a contributing factor, there are other reasons for the decline in US manufacturing jobs.

Study shows that job losses are to do with global trade. Chinese imports and multinational offshoring have meant job losses, as has real appreciation of the dollar since 2000.

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Labor union membership has declined by half since 1983 (during which time income inequality has grown rapidly).

In the USA, membership of unions was around 20.1% of all workers. In 2015, the percentage was 11.1%. Unions can help workers gain more in compensation for their labor.

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