Podcast interview with Martijn Arets - platform economy expert

In our latest Gigapod, we had an exciting and fruitful conversation with Martijn Arets. He is a Dutch author, speaker and expert within the collaborative economy space. Martjin shares his learnings gained over the years of advising governments, trade unions and platforms on the nuances on how the new economy can participate sustainably in the wider economy. Martijn defines himself as an independent consultant of the platform economy, making a bridge between workers, platforms and stakeholders. 

His first point was to draw attention to the topic that the platform economy is part of a bigger economical discussion. And in the recent years, and specially with the Covid pandemic, the role and responsibility of the platforms are rising more and more.

He states that there is no quick win solution for the regulation and rise of the gig and platform economy. Rather, this indicates that the debate should be focused on how can the platform economy empower the individuals to be more autonomous and not on the status of the workers or their employment conditions.

The biggest problem he mentions is that the current discussions are around the systems in place, not the workers that benefit through the system.

In Martijn’s opinion, the consumers of the services provided by gig workers in the platforms, play an important role on how to make a sustainable platform for the workers. The consumers need to make a decision if they will support this kind of labour - and therefore, help this group by paying what their service it’s worth. It is a political decision.

The governments also play an important role since they are the ones creating policies for the economy - however, they usually lack the digital force to participate in this discussion. 

Martijn is working on developing a portable ID for workers. Since the threshold to work on platforms is low in comparison to the traditional employment system, the gig economy is far more inclusive than labour markets. Therefore, creating a data portability where we could store the information and history,would give better access of these group into the labour market.

Right now, the problem is that we can't figure out what to do with this data. He is working on how to create a digital to improve this, where is accessible to everyone. 

He also mentions the work the Swedish labour union is doing to improve the use of platforms to benefit workers by exploring the opportunities they can bring to the table. 

Thank you Martijn, for the great discussion!! Make sure to check the full conversation here

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