Althea Erickson: What if the Etsy Economy Prevails?

Jul 22, 2014

The Next American Economy project brought together 30 experts from various disciplines to envision tomorrow's economic and political challenges and develop today's solutions. Their assignment: be bold, and leave the conventional wisdom -- and their own opinions -- behind. Their goal: not to provide a researched analysis, but to stimulate debate on critical questions. In today's video, Etsy Public Policy Director Althea Erickson imagines a future economy based on digital entrepreneurship.

Althea Erickson, Public Policy Director for Etsy, describes a possible future in which the "Etsy economy prevails." Over the next 20 years, she says, as the costs of entrepreneurship decline, more and more people will leave low-wage jobs for the gig economy. After an initial period of intensive price competition on market platforms like TaskRabbit and Etsy, the platforms will start serving as organizing institutions and will drive incomes up. Eventually, market platforms will begin to provide services to reduce the economic uncertainty of the gig economy -- the kind of benefits once offered by steady employers, such as retirement savings, health care options, training opportunities, and so on.

"Overall, we will live in the utopian dream of a micro-gig economy where people are self-actualized," Erickson speculates.

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