America’s self-reliance obsession makes it more acceptable to applaud working yourself to death than to argue that doing so points to a flawed economic system.
“Long-time Lyft driver and mentor, Mary, was nine months pregnant when she picked up a passenger the night of July 21st,” the post began.
Within the ghoulishly cheerful Lyft public-relations machinery, Mary is an exemplar of hard work and dedication-the latter being, perhaps, hard to come by in a company that refuses to classify its drivers as employees.
Perhaps, as Lyft suggests, Mary kept accepting riders while experiencing contractions because “She was still a week away from her due date,” or “She didn’t believe she was going into labor yet.” Or maybe Mary kept accepting riders because the gig economy has further normalized the circumstances in which earning an extra eleven dollars can feel more important than seeking out the urgent medical care that these quasi-employers do not sponsor.
At the root of this is the American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system.
Also published on Medium.