Could Automatic Tipping Innovate the Uber Economy?

Companies like Uber get a lot of hype, but they may need to innovate their policies to become real changemakers in the new economy.

Uber is a giant among the pack of companies leading the gig economy. The company is rapidly expanding throughout U.S. cities — it recently opened up shop in six new Maryland locations for example. Uber is also expanding internationally, including a recent announcement that it will invest $250 million to widen its operations in the Middle East. Uber’s rapid expansion means that it has come into the public eye in a big way over a few short years.


Given all the attention and popularity that Uber and similar companies enjoy, it might be true that they can play a role in innovating the economy. But what if their current policies and practices aren’t actually allowing them to do that?

Some argue that Uber’s actual impact on employment is fairly small. For example, half of all Uber drivers work 10 hours or less a week, often not even adding up to their most significant portion of income for the month.

Part of what makes Uber so prominent are the differing opinions about the impact that it and similar apps have on the economy as a whole. Some argue that Uber’s actual impact on employment is fairly small. For example, half of all Uber drivers work 10 hours or less a week, often not even adding up to their most significant portion of income for the month.

Others think that digital economy companies could revolutionize the market and provide a new source of good jobs moving forward. They call on gig economy companies to launch initiatives to improve the quality of life and wages for the workers using their platforms. Uber and several similar large companies were not among the first to sign onto the pledge.

You can count author and entrepreneur Andrew Keen as one of Uber's major doubters:

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