I work on and off as a freelance designer, had had jobs were I received a 1099 instead of a W-2, and recently my fiance has recently been hired as an indie contractor as well. There's many pro's and con's to it but sometimes I get the foolish notion that maybe we should just abolish traditional employer/employee relationships altogether and make all jobs independent contractor jobs.
It's not something I think about seriously, nor do I think it will magically fix all our problems with the economy. I'm pretty sure it would exploited to hell by employers desperately looking to weasel their way out paying out benefits, livable wages, retirement ect. to their workers. Blah, blah...
HOWEVER, since it is such a huge problem for employers to cover all the cost that comes with having employees, conservatives are always complaining about how it hurts the economy, and liberals complain about corporations mistreat their employees, sometimes I wonder why don't we just go the opposite extreme and just make everyone an independent contractor. Everyone. Every single last worker. From janitors, to teachers, to doctors, to CEO's. At the very least everyone who works in the Private sector.
At the very least it would be... different. Different as in not better or worse, just... a huge change. One thing that would be different, or should if done right, is that it would change how employers relate to their employees. Workers would have more power and equal footing, more-or-less, with their employers since they're no longer their bosses, per se, but their clients. They wouldn't be confined to a schedule or even a workplace, necessarily. And a worker can always hire someone else to do their work for them. As an indie contractor, you're getting paid for the end result. Who does it and where does not matter.
The downside is that you don't get any benefits, such jobs are only temporary, and I'm pretty sure your client can break your contract and essentially "fire" you for any damn reason at any time they please. And there's probably a whole bunch of legal headaches that go in to that as well. However, maybe at least some of these would be offset by the fact that with everyone as a contractor, the job force will be highly mobile. You might lose a job more easily but you might end up finding another just as fast. And if you do good enough work, it might speak for itself. You might end up working for several clients instead of just one employer.
Hopefully this would encourage people to work harder, since they'll feel empowered by having more say in what their pay is, when, and where they'll work, even if the burden of their training, healthcare, and retirement falls squarely on their shoulders.
As crazy as it sounds, I think it could work. But then again, I can see it falling to pieces rather quickly. There's already a huge misunderstanding on how independent contracting is suppose to work. For example I've seen companies try to claim someone as a independent contractor when in reality they were enforcing a lot rules and expectation on the worker that would only be appropriate if they were an employee.
In any case, it would be interesting to see.