Friday, July 19, 2013

Cyberflanerie: Tabarrok on the Emerging Servant Boom

Over at Tyler Cowan and Alexander Tabarrok's excellent & ever-effervescent Marginal Revolution blog, Tabarrok notes the emerging servant boom. 

My take on this issue: Yes, it looks like economic polarization is sending us back to the Victorian age, somewhat, which does not bode well. But there's a big difference between now and the 19th century: cheap information changes everything.

Ponder the implications:

1. When a US family member had to have a live-in nurse, this nurse, who happened to be from a small town in the Philippines, casually mentioned that she had, from her cell phone, uploaded a photo of my relative's "super cute" dog, which was resting on the bed, to her facebook page. 
2. I live in Mexico City where most of the maids come to work with a cell phone. Increasingly these have cameras and wifi capabilities. 
3. Emerging information-rich intermediaries may change the dynamics between employer and servant and quite dramatically in the direction of customer and peer provider. I am not just talking about the growth of age-old British nanny providers and home health care agencies, but Task Rabbit. And one big service in this category is dog walking. Read what the NYT had to say about adding information to that. The other is Ikea furniture assembly. Of all things.