"Advances in technology and expanding global trade have created whole new areas of commercial activity and opened new markets for our exports," Clinton said, "but too often, they're also polarizing our economy, benefiting highly skilled workers but displacing or downgrading blue-collar jobs that used to provide solid incomes for millions of Americans."
The pros and cons of a "sharing economy," where the value of a good or service is heightened when information is used to increase demand, have been the subject of heated debate. Many sharing-economy jobs give Americans flexibility to earn extra money or set their own hours, but these jobs often don't have the health benefits and long-term career opportunities of full-time work.
Refinery29 reached out Uber, which declined to comment on the record for this article. Lyft and AirBnB have not returned Refinery29's requests for comment.
Alan Krueger, an economics professor at Princeton University and the former chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, is a fierce defender of the sharing economy.
In a highly cited paper
he co-authored on Uber's effect on the labor market, Krueger found that the company, whose drivers reflect the general workforce both in age and education level (about 25-to-44 years old with some college or an associate degree), "has increased total demand for workers with the requisite skills to work as for-hire drivers, potentially raising earnings for all workers with such skills."
These are the "high-skilled" workers Clinton referred to, whose ability to capitalize on technology's cutting edge leaves less educated, lower-income workers further behind. And that means that the gig economy could look a lot like profit-hungry Wall Street, the kind of place where wolves reign.