The costs of creation

Think tank: Demos

Author(s): Ciaran Cummins

July 14, 2022

This report from UK think tank Demos looks at what is a fair and desirable future for monetised online work and volunteering?

There is growing awareness that the web comes at a cost, be that from the selling of our personal data, to proliferating paywalls. The wider social costs are becoming clearer too, from the exploitation of workers, to the designing of platforms to swallow up users’ attention. All this makes the question of how the online world ought to be financed ever more pressing. Answering this means wrestling with further questions in turn. What would it mean to pay the various kinds of online work fairly? And as the drive to “grind” and hustle in the digital world is ever more present, what shouldn’t be paid for or considered work online anyway? To get to the heart of these questions, Demos brought together people in the UK who are on low or no pay for their online work, to understand what they think a fair and desirable future for web monetisation (the process of turning site visits into a revenue stream) would look like.