Two Narratives of Platform Capitalism | Frank Pasquale

Frank Pasquale (2017) “Two Narratives of Platform Capitalism,” Yale Law & Policy Review: Vol. 35 : Iss. 1 , Article 11; landing, landing.
Frank Pasquale, is a Professor of Law, University of Maryland.

tl;dr → Economists, as a self-conscious class, are storytellers in service to the governing class; their stories are wrong. The Rent-Seeking Behavior obtains. Michel Foucault is invoked. Diagnosis & Nostrum. The Salubious Result obtains. Q.E.D.
and → gig work is sucky work undignified; guaranteed employment is better.


  1. [Conventional] Narrative: Market is good.
  2. [Herein] Counternarrative: Gig-market is bad


Mainstream economists tend to pride themselves on the discipline’s resemblance to science. But growing concerns about the reproducibility of economic research are undermining that source of legitimacy. These concerns have fueled renewed interest in another aspect of economic thought: its narrative nature. When presenting or framing their work, neoliberal economists tend to tell stories about supply and demand, unintended consequences, and transaction costs in order to justify certain policy positions. These stories often make sense, and warn policymakers against simplistic solutionism.


  • narrative == story.
    story == parable.
  • The bible is full of parables
    Footnote  34 cites Ecclesiastes 9:11 to remind about the nature of chance (serendipity, luck): To wit:
    <quote ref=”KJV“>I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.</quote>
  • <quote>These stories often make sense, and warn policymakers against simplistic solutionism.</quote>

Platforms increase discrimination by identifying customers with picture-based profiles which reveal their race or racially-identified names. Ranking and rating systems can also reinforce bias.

Conventional Narrative Counternarrative
Platforms promote fairer labor markets by enabling lower-cost entry into these markets by service providers. Platforms entrench existing inequalities and promote precarity by reducing the bargaining power of workers and the stability of employment.
Platforms reduce the impact of discrimination by increasing the number of service providers in transportation, housing, and other markets. Platforms increase discrimination by identifying customers with picture- based profiles which reveal their race or racially-identified names. Ranking and rating systems can also [always & everywhere] reinforce bias.
Regulators of platforms are likely to [always & everywhere] reflect the biases and interests of incumbent providers (like taxis and hotels) thanks to incumbents’ political ties. Large platforms now command so many resources that their own lobbying efforts can easily swamp those of fragmented and uncoordinated incumbents.
Large digital platforms have gained massive market share because of the quality of their service. Large digital platforms have gained massive market share because of luck, first-mover advantage, network effects, lobbying, strategic lawlessness, and the unusually low cost of investment capital due to quantitative easing.
Platforms promote economic growth by drawing the un- and under-employed into the labor market. Platforms undermine growth by reducing wages as workers scramble for gigs by offering to complete them for lower wages than their competitors.
Platforms promote flexibility by breaking down jobs into tasks, enabling workers to piece together work at their own pace. Low-pay gigs and piecework force workers to be “ready for duty” constantly lest they miss an opportunity to work.
Using data-driven profiles of users, platforms can preemptively channel them to the workers they are most compatible with. Users may experience loss of agency when serendipitous or unpredictable options are effectively hidden or obscured


There are 39 references, appearing as footnotes in the legalistic style.


The Suitcase Words
  • economists,
    mainstream economists
  • themselves,
    pride themselves,
    pride themselves on the <snip/> resemblance <snip/>,
    pride themselves on the discipline’s resemblance to science.
  • reproducibility
    the reproducibility,
    the reproducibility of economic research
  • undermining
  • source of legitimacy.
  • narrative,[
    the] narrative nature
  • economists,
    neoliberal economists
  • supply,
    supply and demand
  • unintended consequences
  • transaction costs
  • positions,
    policy positions.
  • solutionism,
    simplistic solutionism.

and more in the main corpus.

A Memo From MMT’s Legal Department | naked capitalism (New Economic Perspectives)

A Memo From MMT’s Legal Department; ; In naked capitalism, syndicated from New Economic Perspectives; 2017-07-18.
Devin Smith, staff, an economist, Corps of Engineers, United States Army.


  • 1st International MMT Congress, 2017-09
    to be held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
  • A recital of
    • affiliated persons
    • promotional events


  • Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)
  • Job Guarantee
  • Tax obligations create money
  • Tax obligations require wages.
  • Modern Money Network
    • founded 2012
  • Federal Reserve System
  • Rethinking Economics New York
    • a conference
    • Student-organized
    • Sponsors
      • Law School, Columbia University
      • Law School, New York University
      • Economics Department, The New School
  • Association for the Promotion of Political Economy and Law (APPEAL)


Has a moneyness sense

Treasury currency
Commodity Futures Trading Commission commodity
Internal Revenue Service property


<quote>“[A] renewed emphasis on a key legal insight (the government cannot default on debt it issues in its own currency) can lead to an adjustment to economic theory (MMT), which in turn informs a new legal proposal to get past the current, futile […] debate.
It’s a movement from legal insight to economic insight back to legal insight, or L – E – L.
… The legal foundations of MMT make it both scientifically, and normatively, a better theory of our economic system than the dominant paradigms of monetary policy.”</quote>, attributed to Frank Pasquale, circa 2014.

<quote>“Modern money theory explains that political and legal systems for creating, regulating, and distributing money are fundamental to economic prosperity and stability, necessarily shaping (not “distorting”) and facilitating private exchanges of goods and services.
… the economic costs and benefits of public money creation depend on the contingent, complex value-laden questions of how that money is spent and invested and how effectively taxes and other forms of regulation help steer economic and political activity toward the productivity, stability, and legitimacy that will help maintain currency value.”</quote>, attributed to Martha McCluskey, circa 2016.


  • Rania Antonopoulos, Alternate Minister for Combatting Unemployment, Greece
  • Marshall Auerback
  • David Bholat, staff, Advanced Analytics Division, Bank of England
  • Richard Clarida, (former) Assistant Secretary, U.S. Treasury
  • Mathew Forstater
  • James K. Galbraith
  • Philip Harvey
    • Professor, Law, Rutgers University
    • (author) Rep. John Conyers H.R. 1000 towards full employment
      Versions: 114th Congress and many others
  • NAME Innes
  • Stephanie Kelton
  • NAME Knapp
  • NAME Keynes (surely you jeste)
  • Martha McCluskey, Professor, Law, University at Buffalo
  • Frank Pasquale, Professor, Law, University of Maryland
  • Zoltan Pozsar, (former) Senior Advisor, U.S. Treasury Department
  • Amar Reganti, ex-Deputy Director, Office of Debt Management at United States Treasury
  • Beardsley Ruml, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, once upon a time (at least in 1946-01)
  • Joseph Sommer, Legal Counsel, New York Federal Reserve Bank
  • Pavlina Tcherneva
  • Alexis Tsipras, (now-)Prime Minister, Greece,
  • Adair Turner, (former) Chairman, U.K. Financial Services Authority
  • Matias Vernengo, (former) Economic Research Director, Central Bank of Argentina.
  • Randy Wray


On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs | David Graeber

David Graeber; On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs; In STRIKE! Magazine; 2013-08-17.
Teaser: Ever had the feeling that your job might be made up? That the world would keep on turning if you weren’t doing that thing you do 9-5? David Graeber explored the phenomenon of bullshit jobs for our recent summer issue – everyone who’s employed should read carefully…

The future of jobs: The onrushing wave | The Economist

Editor; The onrushing wave; In The Economist; 2014-01-18.
Teaser: Previous technological innovation has always delivered more long-run employment, not less. But things can change