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Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Delivery apps and on-demand services are in trouble + A moment of silence for Internet Explorer + Pixar’s Lightyear has been banned in Egypt

Is the gig economy really the ‘servant’ economy’? Ultra-fast delivery apps and on-demand services and the gig workers they depend on have been termed “the servant economy” by the Financial Times’ Sarah O’Connor. Critics have signaled that the rise of these apps reflect a resurgence in inequality as companies often play up how servile their employees are, with slogans such as “everyone’s private driver” and “democratizing the right to laziness.”

The grow-at-all-costs model has played its part in this: For years, companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Deliveroo have struggled to make returns due to offering these services at a cost that’s less than what they pay. This has often led to gig economy workers being overworked and underpaid.

The current climate may be changing this: Amid high inflation, gloomy growth forecasts, and higher interest rates, investors are beginning to shy away from loss making companies. Paying workers less or cutting down on jobs will be difficult in a time of worker shortages as well as increased employment rights and protections for gig workers. Meanwhile, charging higher prices to customers will be tricky too as higher inflation eats into their straggling bottom lines, O’Connor writes.

Pixar’s Lightyear has been banned in Egypt and 13 other countries: Walt Disney has failed to receive approvals to release its new film — which features the Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear — in a number of Arab and non-Arab countries, producers tell Reuters. Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, and others are among the countries who will not be showing the children’s movie due to a brief scene that portrays a moment between a same-gender couple.

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