Furloughing — the biggest universal basic income experiment and one the US said would never happen – has happened.
But what does it mean post-pandemic and what’s next for labor mobility? Does the gig economy match the current economy, and what lies in store for the workplace when the 26% boost in productivity thanks to remote working is realized?
CEO Marc Coleman presents the UNLEASH Giants quarterly Economic Series, which looks to reveal unique insights and analysis on the latest work and economic trends happening over the next twelve months.
World-leading global economist Mark Blyth is our special guest for a four-part series this month. Blyth, who predicted Trump, Brexit, and Biden is also a professor of international economics at Brown University.
“We may have just had the biggest labor burst of productivity in human history.
“We may have just had the biggest labor burst of productivity in human history,” Blyth proclaims.
“On average it takes you an hour to get to work and an hour to get back. We know that people are getting up on average 10 minutes earlier to start work and even then they’re putting in a bit of an extra shift. If you add all this up, every employer who can shift themselves online has basically just got a free day of work.
“Throw into the mix that many companies have also cut their staff wages. So they are getting a free day of work and cutting staff costs. The old deal was that pay and productivity went together but they’ve just got a huge productivity boost and they are taking money out of the pay. This is where it gets problematic.”
In part three of our exclusive UNLEASH GIANTS Economic Series Blyth brings together insights, examples and future predictions about what 2021 will hold for both employers and big business.
He says: “A fascinating example of this is what Uber did in California with the proposition that they did in the election. Essentially what they did for the cost of $200m is to write the labor law that they wanted to see in the state.
“That’s astonishing if you think about it. It’s a complete abdication by the government for maintaining labor contracts. Uber says we should have this, they voted it. Uber gets exactly what they wanted. So we’re already in a very different world, and it seems like all the power thus far is going to go to companies, I don’t think they even understand how much power they’ve got and how much extra productivity they’ve got yet.”
But Blyth is already thinking about what this means longer down the line.
“The question now is how do they manage that? If they manage that well, and in a way that works for everyone, this could be awesome and totally brilliant. Who wouldn’t want an extra day of work for free? But if they try and take all of the extra gains for themselves, and especially at a time where top tech bosses have been held over the coals in Congress, then this is not going to end well.”
So, what’s next for this faster, harder working, real-time economy, and how long will it keep accelerating for?