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Greening the Gig

The initial hope for the digital platform-based "sharing economy" was that it would both empower workers and reduce the broader economy's carbon footprint. Neither has happened under corporate ownership; but ample research shows that alternative cooperative models could reclaim the sector's original promise.

BOSTON – The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep socioeconomic fault lines in many countries, including poor occupational conditions for the app-based gig workers who drive, shop, deliver, clean, run errands, and, more recently, provide care work. Many gig workers have reported difficulties accessing personal protective equipment, sick pay, and medical care. Demand for ride-hails, care work, and other services has collapsed, compounding chronic problems in the sector, such as low pay, oppressive algorithm-based supervision, and arbitrary dismissal.