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a more recent development supporting that financial agenda

Exhausted, Broke and Still Hustling: The New Normal

By ahmadPublished 2 months ago 2 min read

is a more recent development supporting that financial agenda.

We’re told that Side Hustles represent a new, empowering freedom to choose your own adventure. In reality, they are symptomatic of a system that has financially trapped huge swathes of the population. Being forced to drive for Doordash or Uber because your main job doesn’t pay a living wage is not an exciting story of following your dreams — it’s evidence of exploitation.

We don’t need Side Hustles. We need thriving wages from our primary jobs or a Universal Basic Income.

People should be financially secure enough from normal 8-hour work days that they have the capacity in their free time to develop skills, start businesses, invest in personal passions, follow artistic dreams for their own sake, and spend time with family and community — not just desperately try and monetise every waking moment to pay bills.

When we take a hard look at the way our system of economics functions, it becomes quite clear why corporations fight so viciously against any attempts to redirect more profits to workers or limit executive pay. Their strict allegiance is to share prices, not communities or employees. Attempts to change that reality clash directly with the fundamental values around which our current system was designed.

Powerful interests have too much at stake to give ground easily. Achieving a more equitable balance of compensation tied to growth and productivity will require collective action from everyday people — advocating locally, putting pressure on politicians nationally, and coordinating globally with allied movements.

The historical playbook for these struggles is long and storied. From the 80-hour work week of the 19th century to the fight for the 40-hour standard that became a global norm to the emergence of weekends as a right for rest and leisure — all were hard fought through solidarity. And the opposition was fierce every step of the way. Industry barons pushed back relentlessly, yet eventually, a thriving middle class did emerge.

As rampant corporate greed and the skyrocketing cost of living again push huge numbers of working families to side hustles and financial precarity, the time has come to resume that unfinished fight from last century. The work week should trend downward. The minimum wage must become a living wage, period. We need a renewed focus on workers’ rights and collective bargaining to redistribute the lopsided balance of power in employment.

Most of all, we have to debunk the cultural mythos suggesting that individual hustle and grind are the paths to prosperity in a system designed against economic mobility. As long as corporations can rely on the side hustle trap to boost their profits, they have minimal incentive to change.

The rigged game and its thinly veiled serfdom must end. It is time, as it has been before at pivotal moments in history, for us to rewrite the rules.

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About the Creator


Hello, my name is Ahmed, and I love reading and writing. Most of my time is by reading stories and articles

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