What Microtasks Mean for the Economy

By Deane Barker on August 13, 2012

Capitalism’s Brave New World: Here’s an analysis of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program, and a deeper look at what the effortless outsourcing o microtasks means for the world of capitalism.  In essence, the author claims that severing the link between geography and work will change everything.

Yet it’s this geographic link that the remote freelancing revolution threatens to sever. The problem it poses isn’t just that American companies will offload low-skill, microwage jobs to Mexico (or India or Vietnam or Cambodia). The rise of remote, freelance microtasking means that the relationship between business and America becomes a one-way street: Americans provide a welcoming social order for business, and business is still welcome to fish in the global labor pool for the cheapest workers.

When you combine these two transformations—business’s evolution from the individual to the corporation and its newfound ability to exist in, but not of, the place it physically inhabits—you create an environment where a business is less like a citizen and more like a virtual state. A semi-sovereign. A parasite, the hippies might say.