how Uber is turning customers into unpaid, ruthless middle managers
November 4, 2015 10:20 AM Subscribe
The rating game: How Uber and its peers turned us into horrible bosses. Josh Dzieza writes about how customer rating systems for "sharing economy" on-demand services like Uber, Airbnb and Taskrabbit has made already tenuous employment even more precarious. "We’re not just working for money," an Uber driver told me. "We’re working for ratings, but ratings have no value. Ratings serve only to prevent you from getting fired. Only bad things can happen to you. We’re scurrying like rats after these things with no value."
In March, when Judge Edward Chen denied Uber’s motion for summary judgement on the California drivers’ class action suit, he seized on the idea that ratings aren’t just a customer feedback tool — they represent a new level of monitoring, far more pervasive than any watchful boss. Customer ratings, Chen wrote, give Uber an "arguably tremendous amount of control over the ‘manner and means’ of its drivers’ performance." Quoting from Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, he wrote that a "state of conscious and permanent visibility assures the automatic functioning of power."
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