Digital Platforms, Gig Economy, Precarious Employment, and the Invisible Hand of Social Class

Int J Health Serv. 2018 Oct;48(4):597-600. doi: 10.1177/0020731418801413.


Digital platform capitalism, as exemplified by companies like Uber or Lyft has the potential to transform employment and working conditions for an increasing segment of the worforce. Most digital economy workers are exposed to the health damaging precarious employment conditions characteristic of the contemporary working class in high income countries. Just as with Guy Standing or Mike Savage's "precariat" it might appear that digital platform workers are a new social class or that they do not belong to any social class. Yet the class conflict interests (wages, benefits, employment and working conditions, collective action) of digital platform workers are similar to other members of the working class.

Keywords: digital platform work; gig economy; platform capitalism; precariat; precarious employment; precariousness; social class; working class.

MeSH terms

  • Employment*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Social Class*
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • United States