Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The sharing economy should be renamed

I'm all for the sharing economy. I am sure that mobilizing idle resources and sharing them is a way to create more value for less. But parts of the sharing economy is rapidly moving away from the local, person-to-person exchange with an emphasis on the social value of interaction. Instead, some services are becoming billion dollar companies, which happen to operate platforms for sharing, but are driven with a much stronger emphasis or even a starting point in accumulating money.

I think that coordinating exchanges is a perfectly valid business model, but the ideological facade is starting to look a bit deceptive. My inner cynic rises when I see videos like this one, from Peers.org - it's pretty thick, IMHO:

I am not alone in feeling that the "sharing" part of this new economy might be a misleading word. Personally, I prefer the "We-economy" or "The participatory economy".
Tom Slee, a Canadian blogger, regularly writes scathing posts describing what he sees as the hypocrisy and even sinister aspects of the sharing economy.
The tone is a bit harsh, but I'm with him for long stretches:
Check his post: Why the sharing economy isn't
or: Some obvious things about internet reputation systems

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