Uber Advertising Analysis

2336 Words 10 Pages
While I sitting on the couch watching TV and grading, an advertisement for Uber popped across my TV. The advertisement was remarkable in a few ways. First rather than trying to encourage consumers to use their product, it was recruiting employees. Second, the campaign was built around the slogan “get your side hustle on.” I focus on two different ads for Uber. The first titled “It 's Time,” features a montage of clips of various individuals driving for Uber. The voice over tells the story of their increased earnings. The commercial opens with the question “what if your car could make you money?,” promises “extra cash whenever you feel like driving,” and notes that “you might already have a great job, but this is a new way to earn.”
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Accounting for the production of wealth under capitalism, Marx notes that the profit made on any commodity is decided on the outcome of the tension between necessary labor time and surplus labor time.[1] Necessary labor time refers to the amount of labor required for the worker to reproduce themselves as a commodity. That is to say, it is how much money a worker needs to continue performing their tasks as a laborer. Generally, Marx notes the wages a worker accepts reflect the monetary value of necessary labor time. However, to profit, companies need a worker to work more than necessary time, without increasing wages. This extra time is surplus time and is the source of profit. In an attempt to clarify, lets run through an example. Pat works at a book factory and needs 700 dollars a week to maintain their standard of living. Consequently, when Pat took a job at the factory, they accepted a salary for this amount. While working Pat’s labor adds 200 dollars of value to the raw materials a day; the company can sell the books Pat makes each day for material costs, machine depreciation, etc. and an additional 200 dollars. Under this math Pat brings in 1000 dollars of added value to the company over the course of five day work week. The first 3.5 days Pat is engaged in necessary labor time – producing the value needed to survive. However the other 1.5 days …show more content…
In this way, it intensifies what Marx identifies as the real subsumption of labor under capital.[2] This term refers to the tendency of capitalism to not only maximize its control over the traditional spaces of labor and exchange, but also its need to valorize those moments that used to be outside the expectations of commercial exchange. In the frame of the sharing economy, one is not sufficiently “hustling” if there is a product or waking that cannot be transitioned into a valorized product – your car is wasting money when it is in your driveway. Thus while the popular vernacular frames Uber drivers as independent contractors, because they are driving for the profit of a company, we must remember that they are still wage laborers – albeit without many of the protections afforded to other laborers. In intensifying the real subsumption of labor under capital, the sharing economy is turning hard-fought-for leisure time into the imperative to work beyond the 40-hour week merely to establish the necessary

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