So enterprises are attempting to address these requirements by becoming lean and agile. Which means they are keeping costs to a minimum while seizing any opportunity that looks remotely achievable. Sure, I can do that, being the requisite answer to any query involving the potential exchange of goods and services.
The problem is the one that Henry Ford identified over a century ago: if you dont pay your employees or associates or colleagues enough to buy your product, or otherwise make it worthwhile for them do so, you can assume that there probably arent a lot of others around who can afford it either.
The implication is that all those independent contractors are only embracing the opportunity you proffer because they dont have any better options. And that they'll ditch you as soon as one comes along, understanding that you'll do the same to them in a trice.
To those who claim this is about competitiveness, the question would be, for what? Because the contractor scrambling for some hours is also the consumer who has to make judgments about what he or she can afford. Which is exactly why Walmart and McDonalds now find themselves with declining revenues.
The issue of who is an employee - or not - will be settled in the courts, because that is the way we do business now. But the question of what is best for the economy will be settled in the marketplace and separating the winners from the losers is far from certain. JL
Scott Kirsner reports in the Boston Globe:
If the innovation economy produces companies that have hundreds of thousands of “non-employees” who love the lifestyle, but don’t have unemployment insurance or retirement plans, we’re going to have problems as a state and society.