The gig economy is not new for India and breeds our working poor; we need more wage employment
In the US, 31% of workers are now self-employed, freelancing or in gig economy work. But India is ahead of the US; about 75% of our labour force meets the same criteria. Uber is in the news for the wrong reasons but platform companies like it have already changedlabour markets in rich countries and the model will influence even poor-country labour markets like India in the long run. But we’d like to make the case that a) India’s huge self-employment is not a feature but a bug because not all entrepreneurship is viable and not everybody can be an entrepreneur, b) employment is changing globally but formal employment is not about to go extinct and there is such a thing as bad self-employment, c) policymakers in India should focus on increasing formal wage employment and good self-employment. Let’s look at each point in more detail.