Are we living to work, or working to live?

Riddled with moral debates and exerts of ethically compromising conditions, this chapter provides a balanced exploration into the precarious nature of digital creative labor. Exploitation in the media and creative industries is complex yet increasingly prominent, as not only are exploitive standards dependent on personal perspectives on working standards but also on economic and political geography. Referencing the downfall of photography giant Kodak, this chapter highlights the two-sided nature of the digital revolution. Whilst many major contributors to the media industry have become immersed in the ‘phenomenon of disappearing jobs’, this chapter proposes that the issue often lies within the perspective of the observer, suggesting that dispersal is all too often mistaken for substitution.

Whilst identifying both the moral and economical issues surrounding the rise of the content creation industry, a balanced perspective is maintained as the writer highlights the ‘much more precarious future’ threatening other areas of the national workforce such as the automotive and agricultural industries. Analyzing the rapidly changing field of digital technology and the newly found grey areas that border formal media enterprises and informal employment, the content creation industry is critiqued for becoming too detached from formal employment practice. Discussing issues such as employee exploitation, the devaluing of journalism and the economic burden of entrepreneurial cultures, the conflict between the traditional and emerging modes of employment practices are foregrounded as critical issues.

As a media student progressing into the media industry myself, this reading provides relative insight into the competitive environment that awaits. Questioning how one can ‘distinguish work from pleasure, and pleasure from self-exploitation’, the ever-growing conflict between ambition and self-assertion is triggered.

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