Choke the “gig economy,” gag workplace innovation

Amazon is hiring on-demand drivers to implement its Amazon Flex same-day-delivery service. Given the confused state of federal wage-hour FLSA law as inherited from the 1930s, and the ever intensifying legal pressure from class action lawyers and various levels of government, will this arrangement eventually be upheld as legal? Who knows? “By the time courts and Congress take a decade to reshape labor law, the companies will have moved on to the next thing.” [Ira Stoll, Future of Capitalism]

Or is even this too optimistic a view? The premise is that the labor law apparatus would like to catch up with the cool new economy, but is just too klutzy and slow. But the sad truth may be that catching up isn’t the point: the public officials in charge of the system, and the unions that back them, don’t particularly mind whether they choke off innovative forms of work organization.

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