The uberization of our lives is perhaps nothing other than the expression of our desire to return to the infant stage. This time when our desires were orders, when we were the center of the world.

Yesterday, I saw a lady, who must have been nearly 70 years old, trying to explode, with her cane, an electric scooter in which she had just tripped. On the sidewalk opposite, two people watched him as they climbed into the back of a car parked in double line. Car ordered via an application whose slogan is: “Move freely!” In the distance, a man in the prime of his life, cool bag on his back, was pedaling valiantly. On his T-shirt, a sentence: “Your favorite restaurants delivered in one click!” The energy of the young cyclist corresponded perfectly to that which the septuagenarian put in wanting to pulverize the scooter which had almost cost him his neck of the femur. Scooter reserved via an app whose catchphrase is: “Boost your daily life and take full advantage of the city!” We boost, we enjoy, we are free, all in one click.

Thinking back to this scene, the idea comes to me that the uberization of our lives is perhaps nothing more than the expression of our desire to want to return to the infant stage. This time when our desires were orders, when we were the center of the world. It was enough to emit a sound for things to appear. I scream, and hop, I’m handed: a breast, a bottle, a pacifier, milk, water. I cry, and presto: a bath, a diaper, a kiss, a security blanket. At that time, we couldn’t wait, everything was done to satisfy us in the moment. And nothing was asked of us in exchange, no reimbursement, no reciprocity, total gratuity which seemed obvious to us. A dream !

Apparently, we miss this fantasized world of childhood where nothing cost anything, where the world ordered itself as if by magic. We always want to believe that objects appear and disappear by the simple fact of our desire. We take them, we throw them away, imagining that, in the night, little elves carry them to a magical place from which they will return in the morning, recharged, available, ready to be used as we see fit. We want, we order, and hop, it’s there. Not tomorrow, not in a week, no, right now. The king is us! We want a taxi, it’s there. Better, we want a taxi with a very nice driver who wears a tuxedo, offers us a bottle of water, gluten-free vegan candies and plays our favorite radio station without us having to ask him. No problem. And of course, all for 3 euros, the ideal being 2. The paradox of this wonderful world is that the magical little elf who will store the scooters that we throw all over town is in fact (spoiler alert!) one person, paid 5 euros per object. And it is quite possible that this person is us or someone who could be us.

Executioners and victims, we use apps that use us in turn, in an endless cannibalistic chain, where only the creators of these algorithms are sure not to be devoured. They are the only ones to get out of it, moreover, every time they win. And, like in magic tricks, while we’re busy feasting on an 8 euro dish delivered in less than ten minutes, we don’t think about the person who pedaled to bring it to us. This person is not an employee, he is a “partner” to whom we offer “work in complete freedom, flexibility and independence.”“Discover all the facets of your city while making deliveries” we promise him on the site. Sightseeing while working, isn’t it wonderful? A dream ! The term “partner” is important since the sine qua non for applying in the Ubermonde is to be self-entrepreneur. The delivery person is no longer a delivery person, he is the company on his own. The idea is brilliant. The risk now only weighs on those who work. Until then, there was on one side the employer and on the other, the employee. One took the risk of the investment and the other provided his labor force. But, now, no more employees, no more bosses, we are in a win-win situation, a win-win situation. The scooter elf is a “partner”, he pays to work while, on the other side of the app, we collect at a lower cost. And all that, thanks to us and our demands as child-kings. So, I propose a revolution, let’s get out of our prams and take back power. Finally, it’s quite simple, just stop clicking.

This column is provided alternately by Thomas Clerc, Camille Laurens, Tania de Montaigne and Sylvain Prudhomme.