I am extending this line of thought today because I’m curious to see what everyone else has to say. By participating in this project, we are creating a culture and market, and I want to encourage everyone to create it mindfully. Once again, I really appreciate all the stories that have been left above and they are totally helpful to me. I’m really glad that THS opened this forum - it’s a great addition to the site.
My concern is this: a form of service that used to earn money for me no longer does. It’s hard to get away from the feeling that my skills and my labour have been devalued by the emergence of this network and the widespread willingness of people to work in exchange for only accommodation. If I don’t want to do any particular job, someone else will. Pardon my pun, but it does seem a bit…dog-eat-dog?
And to double-down on the animal metaphors, I think there’s an elephant in the room here: the global housing crisis. None of us would be interested in working for accommodation if accommodation wasn’t so expensive and hard to find. The balance of power between sitters and homeowners can become a bit sticky, and I hope that we’re all going to be kind to each other.
I’m not out to cause trouble - I’ve had some great experiences with THS and I just paid my annual subscription fees again. I understand the basic truth that if I don’t like it, I can leave. We all have to move with the times.
THS has sort of done the same thing with pet care that Spotify did with music: created a smooth, centralized platform for two things that used to be monetized, and changed it to a subscription format to divert some of that money into their own pockets. As on so many online platforms, you and I are the products being sold here, my friends.
I’m a young person. I don’t have a pension, I don’t own property, I don’t have investments. If this network and this format are one step in the direction of moving us toward a post-work, cashless economy that values community flourishing, mutual cooperation, and generous exchange, then I am all for it, but as long as I have to pay with Real Money for my food, education, clothing, etc. I am going to be somewhat concerned about making sure that I get paid or at least tipped when I perform labour.
I have other streams of income, like everyone here, but based on how this next year goes, I’ll probably make a decision about whether or not I belong in this volunteer role going forward.
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