Star-lottery industries and worker exploitation all the way down?

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I read The Unglamorous, Punishing Hours of Working on a Hollywood Set after seeing it shared somewhere. Stitching together two excerpts from comments obtains “No other industry works like this. But You’re making movies!!!”

Contrary to “no other industry”, the complaints seem to me very similar to those commonly voiced by people involved in academia, sports-academia, games, fashion, music, illegal drugs, and doubtless many others in which contestants “living the dream” take on punishing hours in pursuit of status or riches that very few will achieve. In such industries the expectations for giving all go down to low levels in which there is zero chance for participants to “make it”, but they can bask in the glow of being in an industry in which stars exist.

Political campaigns seem to have a similar dynamic, though I’ve not read characterizations of campaign work as exploitation.

There are other industries with some of this dynamic, but missing all of it. For example, punishing hours are sometimes expected in non-gaming software, consulting, and law, but participants are typically being paid very well and expectations for punishing hours do not extend to those who are not. Punishing hours are also sometimes expected in cultural activities for which nobody is making much or any money at all, e.g., local theater.

Why go on about this here? I wonder if there isn’t correlation between (and indeed causation in the direction of) star-lottery industries and exploitation (real and perceived) of workers down to low level participants.

If such causation exists, wouldn’t good public policy mitigate rather than exacerbate star-lottery characteristics? Copyright is surely on the exacerbation side, as it allows a few winners to capture huge rents.

Pointers wanted on all of these questions. If I recall correctly, increasing returns to a few stars enabled by cheap copying in conjunction with copyright is covered by the likes of An Economic Theory of Avant-Garde and Popular Art, or High and Low Culture but I am unfamiliar with literature on the labor market implications of this.

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