A large spectrum of online resources provide an emerging global cast of mobile workers with digital resources – everything from finding the right visa for their purposes to booking accommodation and coworking spaces. This way, mostly western professionals, such as IT-workers, writers and marketing specialists work remotely in countries that allow for better living conditions, provide leisure time events, and facilitate connection with peer workers, all at a fraction of the cost they might pay in their home countries. To accommodate this fraction of “digital nomads”, which has increased during the pandemic despite lockdowns and travel bans, many countries have scrambled to build (legal) infrastructure which will attract their movement. At the same time, closely related questions of social policies for these foreigners remain ambiguous: for example health protection, taxation, worker protection. In theory, these nomads will spend their comparatively high-spending-power salaries in the local economy, thereby compensating economic losses suffered due to lack of regular tourism flows – a theory which is supported by groups such as the OECD and the Islands Economic Cooperation Forum. However, these attempts to harvest “reverse remittances” as foreigners spend money in the local economy go along with issues such as transnational gentrification, rising expenses for locals, and elite spaces which exclude the local population.
Prof. Dr Beverly Yuen Thompson (Siena College, New York) presents her book Digital Nomads Living on the Margins: Remote-Working Laptop Entrepreneurs in the Gig Economy.
Prof. Dr Daniel Cockayne (University of Waterloo) comments on the book of Prof. Dr Beverly Yuen Thompson and speaks about discoursive practises and narratives going along with digital work.