Why platform capitalism is not the future of work

This article examines the assumptions behind the sociology of work and industrial relations literature on online labour-based platforms. This literature has critically examined working conditions and worker resistance in platform work, but it has done so without criticising what we call the ‘metanarrative of the platform economy’. This metanarrative enables a weaving together of platform work with broader trends such as precarisation, neoliberalisation, financialisation and marketisation, but it makes it difficult for scholars to explain the small size of the platform workforce or to understand the diverse forms that platforms take. We argue that in order to understand the limits and diversity of platforms it is important to understand the inherent problems of platforms as capitalist business models. We suggest a research agenda that decentres some of the better-known platform models (ridesharing and food delivery) and carries out in-depth studies of work and exchange in other sectors. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/273241721X16666858545489






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