Sometimes I get lost into my own thoughts imagining crazy scenarios, then waking up. The problem comes when I Google my crazy imaginations only to find that a crazier someone had not only done the imagination, but also went ahead to try implementing the craziness. One crazy imagination was when I had this self talk: “If our thought processes are made possible by neurons firing electrical impulses, does it mean we could someday replace the neurons with transistors? If so, will it be possible to achieve immortality of consciousness?” When I reached home that evening, I Googled that craziness to stumble upon Mind Uploading, which allowed me to later write the article Technological Immortality A similar journey occured when I imagined about a freelance economy.
Investopedia defines freelance economy, or gig economy as “a labor market consisting of a growing number of short-term contracts. Companies hire self-employed workers to undertake specific jobs in return for an agreed-upon payment, rather than offering them permanent positions”. Freelance economy has been on a growth path for several decades. I personally tried the freelance content writing (Academic Writing) way back in 2005 when we were on a very long holiday thanks to a nation wide lecturers strike, and the much I earned from that helped me settle some of the fee balance I had accrued at the University. Several years after that we have come to witness freelancing expanding from academic writing to photography, videography, software development, design, and recently ubanization of several services.
Today we have uber for taxi hailing services, ubanization of public bus transport services, pharmaceutical services, food delivery services, dating/sex services (Tinder), massage services, and a raft of many other services. The question is, can every single job be ubanized so that we have a 100% freelance economy? To answer this question, one needs to ask another, “Is there an industry that cannot be ubanized?”.
An industry that is easy to come to mind is the health sector. Health services work best when people setup hospitals that employ health workers that include doctors, nurses and administrators. Can these people work freelance? This is the question that a short film seeks to address in a sci-fi kind of setup.
In the sci-fi short film, a freelance paramedic is faced with a moral dilemma – whether to follow instructions from the paramedic sharing company, or to uphold the freedom of choice for the patient. You can watch the film below.
Technically it shouldn’t be impossible for every job to be outsourced, including certain administrative jobs. In large companies, the jobs that might turn out to be impossible to outsource will be managerial jobs and record keeping jobs.
Is freelance economy good?
A 100% Freelance economy may seem absurd, but from human development perspective and from company profitability perspective, a freelance economy might turn out to be the best way to ensure everyone is productive. With freelance economy, individuals will be given the freedom to specialise in those things that they are passionate about, instead of being chained onto some permanent jobs that bore them to death.
There has been push for entrepreneurship as a means for the youth to generate income, instead of them sitting around waiting for someone to give them that permanent job. Entrepreneurship however cannot work for everyone as majority of the entrepreneurs will end up in retail businesses selling goods and services that everyone else is selling. If the economy was however 100% freelance, the youth would be free to innovate within their service sectors in order to be competitive, hence value addition and variety will collectively work together to progress the world forward.
Companies may find 100% freelance economy undesirable because hiring the best talent from a free market will mean they’ll have to pay more for a service they could have gotten close to free if they had that top talent in their payroll.
Can you think of any downside to 100% freelance economy? Let me know in the comment.