A motorcycle driver with Indonesian start-up Go-Jek waiting for customers along a street in Jakarta. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY
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Some 80 percent of the global population lives in emerging economies – defined by informal markets and fluid employment structures. The SHIFT: Commission on Work, Workers and Technology invited groups in five cities across the United States to imagine four scenarios along two axes of change – more or less work, and more jobs or more tasks. Participants were divided as to the amount of future work, but almost all foresaw the continuing disaggregation of jobs into tasks in both low- and high-end work, from driving to lawyering. That is the reality in emerging economies today.Examining work patterns in these diverse countries yields three key lessons. Second, platform economies are emerging rapidly and build on traditional networks. Finally, these work patterns often go hand in hand with dramatic income inequality.A key difference, however, is that in emerging economies flexible networks of individuals or small businesses take the place of formal employers.The 2017 Economic Survey in Kenya showed that the Jua Kali generated 747,300 jobs the previous year, whereas the formal sector added only 85,600 .Nonetheless, informal markets in developing countries provide a vast field for experimentation to transform a patchwork of jobs into a steady upward path for workers.
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