Uber and Lyft drivers are striking across cities world wide to bring attention to their plight of low wages and long hours. An Uber driver mentioned that she works 70 to 80 hour weeks, but Uber still considers her to be a part-time worker. Let’s be real: if you are doing anything for that long, you are definitely not part-time. Like I would call myself a full-time sleeper if someone let me, but there are no wages in sleep, so I guess it wouldn’t matter. Though the Uber driver mentioned that she is considered a part-time worker, both Uber and Lyft consider their drivers to be independent contractors. Why would they do that you ask? Because calling their workers independent contractors frees Uber and Lyft from the pesky and costly task of providing insurance and sick leave to their labor force. And I’m sure they use that moola they save from letting their drivers see a doctor occasionally to do super productive things like, enriching themselves. As if not providing their drivers with easy access to a doctor isn’t Ebenezer Scroogey , Lyft and Uber have both recently changed their pay models, decreasing drivers’ hourly wages. Just in case, you know, they had enough money or time from their 80-hour work weeks to see a doctor who only takes cash. These ride-sharing companies are taking a bigger cut from the drivers’ earnings, forcing them to work long hours; some drivers even sleep in their cars. So, the reality is that Uber and Lyft are literally making money from depressing their workers’ wages and not providing them benefits. Yikes! This is garbage. And capitalism allows for this to happen, so that makes capitalism garbage.
Unfortunately, labor is the only factor of production that corporations are allowed to steal in order to profit. For those of you who don’t remember Econ 101, the four factors of production are land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship. Pay attention in class next time. Anyways, think about it. If a corporation tried to cushion its profits by refusing to pay rent (land), its ass would be on the street holding tightly to its keyboard and desk. I’m personifying corporations because the Supreme Court said they are people, too. If a corporation is built from fishy sources like the illegal drug trade, the government will arrest everyone in it (corporations are people, but they can’t be arrested? interesting) and confiscate all earnings. Making money from the legal drug trade however is perfectly okay; you can even have ads on TV, or take doctors on vacation so that they can prescribe your extremely addictive drug for their patients’ headaches. I digress. Human labor is the only factor of production that’s treated as annoyance, even though it’s crucial to the creation or expansion of capital. “Ugh! Isn’t it annoying that I have to pay these people who are making me money so I can build another helipad?” said every billionaire. What’s garbage is that labor continues to be devalued because billionaires pay for our elections and the government is waging a war against unions (the only significant power source of labor). Hence, capitalism is garbage.