MTurk: Redistribution of Wealth or Race to the Bottom?

A publication in the UK called Management Today recently wrote about the ‘new economy’  and cited a McKinsey study that predicted that by 2025 some 540 million workers will have used a platform like MTurk to find work. There are about 3 billion workers in the global workforce, and that means that about 1/6 will be using some type of digital platform to find work in the next decade. From the article:

“Champions of this crowdsourcing model claim it as a powerful force for the redistribution of wealth, bringing a fresh stream of income and flexible work into emerging economies such as India and the Philippines.

Critics say it’s a ‘race to the bottom’, with workers in Mumbai or Manila able to undercut their peers in Geneva or London thanks to their lower living costs. Economist Guy Standing warns of creating a ‘precariat’ of workers with no financial security, job stability or prospect of career progression. And it’s not just unskilled labour that will migrate to these platforms, says Standing. The knowledge economy is subject to the same forces of routinisation, division of labour and contracting out as the industrial and service economies.”

We talk about this in much more detail in our book Mechanical Turk for Academics which is now on sale for 20% off at Amazon!

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