Are We Meme Yet?

In the comments in the previous post, Melinda (thank you very much, Melinda!)  puts a link to an Atlantic article “The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time” which is right in the core of what we are talking about here at EOW, enough so that I felt it should be in its own post.  (Are we “EOWers”?  Can we have T-shirts?  Dental?)  It looks like the piece is the beginning of a series that the Atlantic intends to do on how work is changing, again, something that dovetails with what we are doing here.  Even just reading it gave me ideas on whole new things that will develop in the economy.  I don’t doubt that many “freelancers” (an oddly romantic military term!) want many of the things that people had in a more institutional, industrial era, but we will want them in ways that fit how we work now, rather than forcing people to hew to the older standards.   Just as an enormous untapped set of markets alone…..this has tremendous possibilities!

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Are We Meme Yet?

  1. wj

    One of the interesting items I stumbled across is the Freelancers Union that the author founded. Among other things, it offers health insurance! http://www.freelancersunion.org/benefits/index.html

    As some of you may be aware, getting health insurance as an individual has two major drawbacks compared to getting it through an employer:
    1) the cost, when you suddenly see it for the first time, can be a bit of a shock.
    2) far worse, if you have anything that even looks like a pre-existing condition, you may not be able to get it at all. Or, if you can, at an enormously higher price regardless of whether that condition actually has a cost.

    With group plans, health insurance providers don’t even ask about pre-existing conditions! I am in a group plan for a very small group that a couple of us put together. Small as in 3 people . . . two of whom were “uninsurable” as individuals due to pre-existing conditions. Getting group insurance — No Problem. All they care about, and all that they base their premium on, is gender and age.

    If this indifference to ineligibility for groups makes sense to anybody, please explain it to me. And use short sentences and simple words, because I will need lots of help understanding.

    But this suggests a serious business opportunity. Set up an organization with some nominal rationale. That rationale doesn’t have to make a lot of sense, it just has to have a membership criteria minimally narrower than “anybody who comes thru the door.” And then offer health insurance coverage at a small markup over what the insurance company charges you. You can even offer multiple plans, depending on whether people want catastrophic coverage (i.e. very high deductables) or comprehensive coverage (minimal deductables).

  2. kngfish

    Hmmm…we could have “theme” insurance companies….like Star Trek? Try our “Federation” policy! It could have “Klingon” options! (high injury coverage!) You see where I’m going here…

    Old? Like Old Movies? Try “TCM Care”!

  3. WJ, I have health insurance through the Freelancers Union. I signed up last year when my COBRA ran out. It’s not as great as the United Healthcare plan I got through my previous employer, but the premiums are about a third of what it would have cost me to have a policy as an individual. It’s a PPO through Anthem Blue Cross.

    And at the time of my layoff, United had raised a lot of their premiums and co-pays anyway.

    • wj

      Melinda, I’m glad to hear that it’s working for you. I suppose that the next challenge is to get the word out to people that there is an alternative to spending a fortune on individual plans. I wonder how one goes about getting information like that to “go viral”…

  4. amba12

    I’ve been a freelancer since 1971. What does that make me?

  5. amba12

    P.S. The best thing Jacques ever did was join the Screen Actors Guild. I still have his health insurance, secondary to Medicare (unless I remarry). Right now the premium is a token $25 a month, though I’m sure they won’t be able to keep THAT up. So I don’t have to face that problem — only the long-term care insurance conundrum. Talk about expensive.

  6. amba12

    The kinds of networks Barbara Sher describes in her “Idea Party” and “Success Team” concepts, he calls “The New Mutualism.”

  7. Mother Theresa and the Buddha both got to the point where they no longer produced any karma. They did their jobs because they needed to be done. They were a cog in the wheel.

    I never thought of teaching as a job… it was too much fun. Dealing with institutions was often exasperating. That was a job. Now I don’t have to work, but do so because there is work to be done. My goal is to get others to do it… but so far that often takes more work than it takes to do the job itself.

    We were promised that our life would become meaningful if we worked. And we were also promised that when you were an adult there wasn’t too much else you needed to do. It is like the art student’s delusion—that it is enough to learn the skills. You don’t need to focus on that body of experience that gives you something to say. How do you get insight into the world (and self)? Where is that in the curriculum?

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