The future of work; social media and the copycat effect; and more.
Tech and the presidentials: Speaking at Civic Hall this morning, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said in a prepared speech that “both parties were to blame” for not innovating fast enough to keep up with the “on-demand” economy (his preferred descriptor). He also decried regulations lobbied for by incumbent interests like the taxi industry and the hotel industry for blocking the growth of companies like Uber and Airbnb.
Rubio also touted Handy, which helps self-employed trades professionals get jobs, for enabling “upward mobility” and offering people greater flexibility to choose their work hours, noting that the average Handy worker makes $18 an hour. He said it was “shameful” that the “biggest obstacle to growth” of this company was “our very own government.” He concluded: “We have to change the way our political establishment thinks about the new economy.”
During a Q&A session with Civic Hall founder Andrew Rasiej, Rubio declared that he wasn’t in favor of eliminating the federal minimum wage (contrary to prior reports) but that he opposed raising it.
Asked about the U.S. Digital Service and whether he would continue it were he elected president, he said “If it proves that it’s something that is effective and that it can attract the brightest minds to improve how government works, then that’s something we should definitely continue.”
The future of work: The Guardian’s Alex Hern argues it’s time to stop referring to “the sharing economy,” saying that the “gig economy” is a much better descriptor for what’s actually going on: “a dependence on tenuous labor, particularly that provided by individuals working as third-party contractors rather than full employees.”
A recent survey by the Freelancers Union found that nearly 54 million people, or one-third of the work force, are doing freelance work. According to the survey, “86 percent of the nation’s freelancers are likely to vote in 2016, and 62 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports freelancers’ interests.”
As Katie Benner reports for the New York Times, politicians are turning more to gig economy startups like Thumbtack, Munchery, and Managed by Q, for advice on how to address their needs.
Related: On October 7, Michelle Miller of Coworker.org is co-hosting a White House town hall with President Obama to discuss the future of work and the “importance of worker voice.” You can submit a question in advance here. (Here’s Coworker’s Jess Kutch speaking at PDF 2015 last June about “the power of employee-led online organizing.”)
Brave new world: An in-depth report by Mother Jones’ Mark Follman on data-driven efforts by “threat assessment professionals” to intervene before mass killers take action includes this troubling news: “When I asked threat assessment experts what might explain the recent rise in gun rampages, I heard the same two words over and over: social media. Although there is no definitive research yet, widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that the speed at which social media bombards us with memes and images exacerbates the copycat effect.”
Self-described “budding young journalist” Eve Peyser managed to interview notorious pharmaceutical price-gouger Martin Shkreli by swiping right on his profile on the Tinder dating app, as she details in this piece for Mic.com.
Exile watch: Edward Snowden has offered to go to prison in the U.S. as part of a plea deal that would allow him to come home, but as Ewen MacAskill reports for the Guardian, he says he “won’t serve as a deterrent to people trying to do the right thing in difficult situations.” But, he adds, the U.S. Justice Department has made no effort to contact him to discuss any plea deal.