This chapter addresses the two important themes that we believe characterise how the platform-based gig economy operates. The first of the two themes explores the shifting boundaries of the triangular business model and its place within the wider, evolving capitalist structure. The triangular business model is the foundation of the platform-based gig economy and consists of the digital platform, the producer/worker and the end consumer. The digital platform acts as the intermediary and provides a market for exchange of goods and services between the workers and the end consumers. The fluidity of the triangular relationship has left the platform-based gig economy beyond the reach of the traditional neo-liberal regulatory system leading to the blurring of employee and employer relations. The second theme is based on the exploration and application of the Marxist concept of surplus value creation and its appropriation within the gig structure. Here, the authors seek to show the exploitation of the worker as a participant in the triangular business model. Given that the worker bears the majority of the entrepreneurial risk and provides capital they ought to receive a proportion of the surplus value created from the transaction. The authors have established the increasing dominance of platforms within the triangular business model and the enhanced scope for exploitation of workers in form of poor remuneration standards due to employee status ambiguity and the appropriation of a disproportionate amount of surplus value flowing to the platform owners.
The authors are grateful to Prof Vassilis Fouskas for his helpful reviews and comments.
Roy-Mukherjee, S. and Harrison, M. (2020), "The Shifting Boundaries of Capitalism and the Conflict of Surplus Value Appropriation within the Gig Economy", Page-Tickell, R. and Yerby, E. (Ed.) Conflict and Shifting Boundaries in the Gig Economy: An Interdisciplinary Analysis (The Changing Context of Managing People), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 45-62. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-603-220201005
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