Preserving the Precariat in the Name of the Innovation Economy. Case Study: Online Motorcycle Taxis in Indonesia

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen; Lunds universitet/Graduate School; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Development Studies

Sammanfattning: This research explains the distribution of rewards within the innovative economic practice of online motorcycle taxi services in Indonesia. Those analyzed are online transportation platforms and their driver-partners. These two are analyzed using the theoretical framework of the innovation economy, which is conceptualized as cumulative, uncertain, and collective economic processes by Mariana Mazzucato. In building the analysis, this research focuses on conventional (non-online) motorcycle taxi services as underlying the online motorcycle taxi services, the legal framework of the online motorcycle taxi services, and the way the mobile application connects the platform and driver-partners. This research suggests that the distribution of rewards within the online transportation business includes short-term increases in income for the driver-partners and the establishment of the online transportation platforms’ market with the help of their driver-partners. However, the distribution of rewards has not shifted the informal status of the driver-partners, and thus they remain a part of the precariat. The critical analysis of the driver-partners’ precariat status is based on Guy Standing’s concept of the precariat and its theoretical framework. Aspects of the framework discussed include the precariat conditional setting, the definition of the precariat, and the nuances of the driver-partners’ class-based action. The analysis shows that driver-partners share the same insecurities but not the same aspirations regarding their precariat status. This affects their forms of collective action, which are divided into conventional street protests and social media engagement, and some driver-partners choose to not participate in collective action. Driver-partners also aim for recognition, more representation in the platforms’ policy-making process, and better income distribution.

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