Beclouded Work in Historical Perspective
The Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal is publishing a collection of papers on the “gig” economy and labor law, edited by Valerio De Stefano of the International Labor Organization. This paper places what is seen as an innovation in a larger historical context. It compares “gig” work to the putting-out system that was a feature of manufacture from early modern Europe forward to modern times. It explores the economic, social, and technological basis of both and teases out the larger implications of what seems to be genuinely new by virtue of the global reach of information technology.