12 May 16

In the United States, the sharing economy is accelerating toward a “freelance society,” explains journalist and spring 2016 Holtzbrinck Fellow Steven Hill, wherein tens of millions of workers will find themselves with no regular jobs or steady work, lower pay, and a weaker safety net. Hill asked in his May 10 lecture, “The Future of Work: How the ‘Uber Economy’ and Runaway Capitalism Are Threatening Workers’ Livelihoods,” if the sharing economy might work better in a place like Germany — here, as he notes, the welfare state is more developed and a stronger tradition of labor unions and government regulation has fostered more broadly shared prosperity. What might Americans learn from this model of what Hill calls “the visible hand of government.” A close observer of political institutions and practices in Europe since the 1990s, Hill proposes several policy-based solutions and reforms that would encourage American economic policymakers to adapt to this new reality.