COVID-19 has torn through the fabric of our lives all over the world - with over 20M cases and nearly 1M deaths, and a global collapse in GDP that is historically unprecedented. Will it have long term impact, and what will that look like - economically, politically, and socially?
Coronavirus will impact our economiesShow moreShow less
We are already feeling the severe effects of coronavirus on the economy.
Zero-hours contracts, and 'Gig' work had become common practice before COVID-19. The pandemic has destroyed much of that economy, in the process highlighting how vulnerable gig workers are in the absence of any workplace safety net.
The gig economy makes up an increasingly large proportion of jobs. In the UK, the gig economy employs roughly one in ten people, and it shows no signs of stopping. For those in the gig economy, there is no job security or benefits, making them far more susceptible to the economic impact of something like coronavirus.
This also has knockon effects for other people and the spread of coronavirus as a whole. Gig economy workers are unlikely to be able to stop working, even if they get sick. But as more and more people become largely confined to their homes, delivery workers will be relied on more than ever, making it possible that these gig workers could become super spreaders.
Conversely, services from gig economy companies may become extraordinarily expensive if workers elect to isolate themselves, exposing the ways in which we heavily rely on the gig economy with no measures for its continuance in an emergency.
[P1] We are increasingly reliant on gig economy workers.
[P2] Gig economy workers have no protections.
[P3] These things combine mean an emergency like coronavirus could have a serious effect on both gig economy workers and those who have come to rely on them.