The Servitude Bubble – some good comments on the ‘sharing economy’ (Umair Haque)

 Read Umair’s piece here

– some pretty hard-hitting observations here!

 A chat app bought for one fifth of the US educational budget. An Uber for dog-walkers. An app to have your trash taken out for you. On-demand butlers. On-demand massages. On-demand pedicures. On-demand private jets. On demand gardeners, plumbers, and private chefs. A fitness tracker that gives you electric shocks. “Concierge” apps to get “VIP service” at restaurants….bars…club… The Servitude Bubble is creating “jobs”, sure — but only of the lowest kind: low-end, deskilled, dead-end, go-nowhere “service” jobs — that don’t only crush your soul, damage your psyche, and break your spirit — but waste your potential. Not “service” as in doctors and therapists— “service” as in pedicurists, trash-pickers, and dog-walkers….The Servitude Bubble is condemning people who might be doing amazing, wondrous, and miraculous things to be butlers, maids, dog-walkers, neo-servants — or, perhaps worse, code-monkey enforcers who, chasing their own little payday, make people into neo-servants.

    Service is responsibility; servitude is subjection. Service is obligation; servitude is obedience. Service is assistance; servitude is indulgence…  We’re all a little worse off when society’s resources are misallocated on a vast scale to the Servitude Bubble — to creating armies of servants that can walk the dogs, paint the nails, and drive the cars of the coddled, carefree rich — instead of towards finding solutions to the very real, very urgent problems of education, healthcare, climate change, finance — to name just a few.

    Technology, techne, is transformative, fundamental, magical — because it is the sudden joyous explosion of skill at mastering yourself….That’s the greatest tragedy of the Servitude Bubble. It asks us to waste our lives being people we are not. Posers, performers, hustlers, clowns…making armies of chauffeurs, butlers, maids, servants…on-demand, ever-ready, always-vigilant. To obey nothing more, greater, truer, than idle whims . The Servitude Bubble is made of hundreds of thousands of person-years of wasted human potential.

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