Do Uber et al Stifle Entrepreneurship?
T here are many industries that rely on self employment & entrepreneurialism of the individual in order to function; these are the mini-cabs, despatch riders, food delivery drivers name a few. They all require a basic wage in order to survive, which varies from city to city.  We will keep our observation to what is currently occurring in London.

A driver needs to earn a minimum amount before driving for a day becomes financially beneficial. Given the fact that it now takes far longer to drive far shorter distances in the past ten years; and the fact that the number of PCO registered cars and drivers has increased exponentially in that time, coupled with the increased competition and downward pressure on prices. Have the likes of Uber and their industry competitors driven down the earning potential thus increasing work times and reduced overall quality of life for those that work in the industry?

So we live in a gig economy? We only get paid for the work we do? Its fine if the work you do is commensurate to the time that you spend doing said work and the money you earn covers overheads such as rent, fuel, maintenance, insurance, and living expenses. The fact is that the drive to attain greater value for the consumer has driven down costs to such an extent that it is now  become borderline. The gig economy will only work if the gigs pay and conditions match the time and effort required to do the gig, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is not.

So, if a student that would like to earn a little income opts to work on a pizza delivery round for an app such as Deliveroo or would like to work part time as a mini-cab driver due to family or other work commitments, but find they have to work longer for less, what is the point? 

When something is unregulated and geared towards the consumer of products and does not factor in the producer or deliverer of goods or service, when does it become exploitation? There are many a mini-cab driver that use it as a supplementary income to boost their family incomes but now find it increasingly difficult. When did the ability to improve oneself and ones circumstances not become a reality but a pipe dream?  Is the purpose of flexibility of work become overly advantageous to the employer of said workforce boosting their profits placing ever more stringent working conditions on the workers?

We have heard issues arising with employers such as Sports Direct, and Amazon fulfilment warehouses where agency staff on zero hour contracts are regarded as self employed but are in fact tied labour, with little or no right to reply; in the case of the latter, having to pick a certain amount of items per hour to fulfil efficiency targets which leave little time to take comfort breaks outside those designated reducing the worker to becoming little more than a drone.

Have we come to a point where, efficiency, value for money, and the customer is king mentality taken precedence over that of the individuals' that work in those industries? Is it making a flexible workforce back to the days when there were queues of day workers outside factories of Victorian Britain in the hope of earning a days wage, only now we do not see the queues because its via phone apps?

Self employment and entrepreneurship is viewed as for the brave and innovative, it gives freedom and independence for the risk takers who mainly want nothing more than to be their own boss; from a market trader, mini-cab driver, despatch rider, odd jobber, or day trader on the stock markets. Have we lost a little independence with the increased availability of choice increasing competition for the same amount of within the same area?

Are the very freedoms that the digital age has brought also increased the ability to be controlled and subjugated in ever increasingly ingenious ways?


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