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I think you have to compare (and I hate this word...) ecosystems to get an accurate picture.

The Internet doesn't create jobs in the traditional sense, with full-time pay and benefits. What's happening instead - and what Lanier's book is about - is that content companies like Apple, Google and Amazon can crowd-source temporary and part-time pseudo entrepreneurs by grabbing huge tracts of content space and collecting tolls for content sold there.

So suddenly Apple has a legion of app developers and musicians, Google has video makers and bloggers, Amazon has writers (and video makers soon) who are effectively on the content production lines but have none of the security of a traditional job.

And there are hordes of support workers - designers, editors, marketers, and so on - who are either employed or hired by the content people.

Some of the content people are creating real jobs. Some are doing very well, financially. But a lot aren't.

For a fair comparison with e.g. GM you'd have to include all the support workers - mechanics, spares companies, petrol stations, cabbies, other professional drivers - who work(ed) in the space created by the car industry.

I think it's clear the Internet has been worse at creating both kinds of jobs than the old industrial economy. But I also think the biggest change has been a new emphasis on turning everyone into an heroic Galtian entrepreneur with a strong personal brand, etc, etc, and a brutal indifference to those who don't do well in that kind of environment.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 06:50:19 AM EST
I would not say the Internet creates unsure jobs per se, rather that a lot of unsure jobs are created now. Telephone sales operators often get payed per sale, giving low average salaries (though some can net high sales), previously secure jobs are being privatised and unpaid internships being introduced as stepping-stones in more careers.

In a way there is a similarity with how industrial jobs got started with unsafe working conditions and low payment. It also went hand in hand with enclosure and population increase that undermined the position of the peasants.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 09:08:45 AM EST
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