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Thursday, February 04, 2016

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Ken Cooper

Nice post, George, on a subject we've discussed before. I know there are associations of freelance writers like me, but I don't think any of them have much leverage with publications. There's such a labor surplus in what I do (pros downsized out of jobs like me, amateurs with little or no training) that it's hard to see how one of the freelance writers groups could gain leverage. Too bad. I'm a member of a couple groups on LinkedIn that do share valuable information about rates, payment practices and the like.

Chanson de Roland

Workers and firms in so many fields find that their bargaining leverage for their goods and services and, thus, their economic prosperity and even security is greatly impaired in today's economy. And the reason for that is the Internet. While enabling new types of work and industries and providing for many other benefits to society, the Internet has been far from an unalloyed blessing. Unfortunately for many workers and firms, the Internet has either made them obsolete or, what is perhaps worse, let them survive but has commoditized their goods and services; impaired, if not destroyed, their intellectual property rights in their work, or placed them in savage competition with very low wage domestic and foreign workers; or all of the foregoing. And the Internet has done these things at such rapid pace that neither individual workers, firms, or society can make an orderly adjustment in its laws, its institutions, its social safety net, or culture to what the Internet has wrought and is continuing to work upon us. The Internet has been particularly hard on freelancers, though it has at least initially benefited some others.

The urgent questions before us are: Will the unregulated, unabated Internet be net positive for society? And what can we do to make certain that the Internet provides economic equity, security, and prosperity for workers and firms and is a net benefit for society and the vast majority of its members? We don't have answers to these questions, yet the Internet and its modalities not only proceeds unabated; it is accelerating in its capabilities and effects.

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