每日英語跟讀 Ep.K233: The Winners of Remote Work
Who wins and who loses when companies can hire from anywhere?
Some employees and freelancers who can work remotely will have vastly expanded opportunities and the possibility of significant increases in pay, but remote workers in general figure to face more competition and have a higher dependence on luck.
One thing that seems unavoidable, research suggests, is an intensification of inequality.
In his 1981 paper, “The Economics of Superstars,” Sherwin Rosen described the impact of recording and broadcasting on the incomes of athletes and entertainers. As technology enabled individuals with specialized skills to reach a giant market — one hour of work in a single location could suddenly reach many people across the country — fewer stars captured more of the rewards.
Rosen expected that over time many other professions would follow a similar pattern. A teacher’s income, for example, was traditionally limited by the number of students who could fit into one classroom. But today on Udemy, an online learning platform, teachers like Chris Haroun have earned millions from courses they created, especially after COVID-19 lockdown pushed enrollments on the platform up by 425%. The vast majority of teachers on Udemy don’t come close to Haroun’s earnings, however, resulting in an extremely unequal distribution of income between superstar teachers and everybody else.
A meaningful shift in the distribution of income can also be seen in platforms where remote instruction is more similar to traditional teaching. On Outschool, an online marketplace for virtual classes for children, hundreds of teachers earn more than $100,000 a year, and dozens earn over $230,000. But most Outschool teachers earn far less, partly because they treat online teaching as a hobby or side hustle, and partly because they haven’t yet figured out how to attract students.
The adoption of remote work is also affecting more traditional institutions. Scott Galloway, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, told me in April, “Because all my classes are remote now, the school asked me, ‘Can you go from 160 — dictated by the size of Stern’s largest classroom — to 280?’ That’s 120 fewer seats for the other marketing professors to fight over.”
遠距工作也影響到更多傳統機構。紐約大學史登商學院教授蓋洛威4月告訴我：「因為我現在所有課程都改為線上，學院問我，『你可以從一次教160人（史登商學院最大教室座位數）升級到一次教280人嗎？』那還比其他行銷學教授爭取的學生數少120人。」Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5786890