Sharing economy is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of resources that differs from the traditional business model of companies hiring employees to produce products to sell to consumers. These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services.
- There isn’t just one, inevitable future of work. Let us apply the power of our technological imagination to practice forms of cooperation and collaboration. Worker–owned cooperatives could design their own apps-based platforms, fostering truly peer-to-peer ways of providing services and things, and speak truth to the new platform capitalists..
Companies like Uber and airbnb are enjoying their Andy Warhol moment, their $15 billion of fame, in the absence of any physical infrastructure of their own. They didn’t build that— they are running on your car, apartment, labor, and importantly, time.
Think Outside the Boss. Instead of counting down to next month’s apocalypse, let’s make the idea of worker-owned cooperatives using ride ordering apps more plausible... Is real social change only thinkable if you have Big Money on your side? ...The inability to imagine a different life is capital’s ultimate triumph. Teachout recently proposed that one of the pathologies of the current system is that it trains people to be followers. I might add that it trains people to think of themselves as workers instead of collective owners...
- Platform Cooperativism vs. the Sharing Economy, Trebor Scholz, Medium, (5 December 2014)
- An app with the basic functionality of UberX can be duplicated and improved upon by independent developers who are working in tandem with cooperatives...Why bother handing over the revenue to Uber, the middleman? Lyft and Uber have serious issues with attrition; the pay rates for drivers can (and have been) lowered from one moment to the next, workplace surveillance is constant, and drivers can be “de– activated” (fired) at any time for digressions as small as criticizing the Uber mothership on Twitter...Worker-owned cooperatives can offer an alternative model of social organization to address financial instability.
They will need to be: -collectively owned, -democratically controlled businesses, -with a mission to anchor jobs, -offer health insurance and pension funds and, -a degree of dignity.
- Platform Cooperativism vs. the Sharing Economy, Trebor Scholz, Medium, (5 December 2014)
- The “sharing economy” sure has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? As the saying goes, “sharing is caring.” Through Uber, the sharing economy’s poster-child, thousands of drivers have turned their personal cars into money-making vehicles. Homeowners internationally have earned extra cash by using another popular sharing service, AirBnB. These companies’ ads are filled with smiling people, caring about each other and just wanting to do good... It’s unfortunate then that these companies and the misnamed “sharing economy” are really just fronts for millionaires and billionaires to opportunistically ride off the backs of everyday people, while also exacerbating many economic inequalities.,, The premise is seductive in its simplicity: people have skills, and customers want services. Silicon Valley plays matchmaker, churning out apps that pair workers with work. Now, anyone can rent out an apartment with AirBnB, become a cabbie through Uber, or clean houses using Homejoy. But under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations. At its core, the sharing economy is a scheme to shift risk from companies to workers, discourage labor organizing, and ensure that capitalists can reap huge profits with low fixed costs. There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form. It’s Anything but Sharing Since when has paying for something ever been the definition of sharing?
- The premise is seductive in its simplicity: people have skills, and customers want services. Silicon Valley plays matchmaker, churning out apps that pair workers with work. Now, anyone can rent out an apartment with AirBnB, become a cabbie through Uber, or clean houses using Homejoy. But under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations. At its core, the sharing economy is a scheme to shift risk from companies to workers, discourage labor organizing, and ensure that capitalists can reap huge profits with low fixed costs. There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form.
- Avi Asher-Schapiro in Jacobin, quoted in: https://truthout.org/articles/the-sharing-economy-is-the-problem/ The “Sharing Economy” Is the Problem, Truthout] (19 November 2015)
- Taxi and Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees. As such, they are not guaranteed a minimum wage or other labor protections, nor can they unionize.
- Mary Hansen in YES! Magazine, quoted in The “Sharing Economy” Is the Problem, Truthout (19 November 2015)
- It’s no wonder, then, that Uber drivers in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and elsewhere have protested... upset about their industry being disrupted (a term the tech world loves) by a company offering low wages, stripping away worker protections, and bypassing regulations – all while stuffing the wallets of Silicon Valley executives.... As sharing activist Mira Luna puts it, “If greed was a major characteristic of the dying economy, sharing is a key element of the blueprint or DNA for the new economy.”...people should be able to use a service like AirBnB or Uber. But they should also own them cooperatively.
A cooperative is a business or organization that is democratically owned and governed by its membership. This membership can be comprised of workers, consumers, producers, and a combination thereof... Cooperatives exist all around world, as well as in almost every sector. In the bad times, members of cooperatives collectively share the burden. In the good times, members of cooperatives collectively share the benefits. They also democratically govern the organization – one member, one share, one vote. In short, cooperatives are means to voluntarily redistribute the wealth amongst the laborers and the producers... Already, cooperatives are breaking into the domain of the sharing economy – in theory and in practice – and many of the people leading the charge are those dissatisfied with what both the traditional economy and the sharing economy had to offer them.
- Are we now on the edge of a world where people are able to meet their needs without the exploitation of labor that leads to the enrichment of a few? There is much talk in the present period of an emerging “sharing economy” where people share what they have with each other, and need to buy less, and hopefully therefore work less, and use fewer natural resources. That idea holds much promise, but it has been hijacked by the titans of the Silicon Valley, whose bold new ideas all fit within the tired old paradigm of profit maximization... there is only one game they play... the game called “the one who dies with the most toys wins.” It is as if they studied engineering in college but never took a social sciences or humanities class...
Imagine a real sharing economy, where something like Uber is set up to facilitate the matching of drivers and riders where the drivers got the profits. Imagine something like Air B and B, where a platform was developed that took into account the needs of communities to not have housing taken out of the rental market and put into commercial use, but instead limited its use to people sharing their homes when they didn’t need them. What if platforms developed that respected labor and environmental laws, because its developers saw themselves as providing a service rather than as trying to win the game of the one who dies with the most toys wins?
- The Fortress World of Capitalism vs. the Beautiful Possibilities of Cooperation, Cynthia Kaufman, Common Dreams (7 July 2017)
- The concept of sharing is as old as human civilization. It has existed for centuries but has recently attracted a lot of attention focused on the ways in which digital technologies have opened avenues for sharing and collaboration. In cities, new digital technologies are revolutionizing the ways in which we use transport, housing, goods and other services – whether driven by economic or social reasons. Sharing has also changed the way we work. The sharing economy has virtually disrupted all sectors, creating a multitude of platform-based marketplaces that connect individuals, enterprises and communities at a peer-to-peer level. The sharing economy is making cities redefine land-use strategies, minimize their costs, optimize public assets and collaborate with other actors (for-profits, nonprofits, social enterprises, communities and other cities) in developing policies and frameworks that encourage continued innovation in this area.
- Gregory Hodkinson, Foreword, "Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to 'Sharing Economy'", World Economic Forum, (PDF). (2017)
- Beyond economic reasons, several social and environmental motivators are driving communities to behave collaboratively in sharing access to municipal spaces and other civic assets. City governments are also sharing municipal equipment and collaborating to provide municipal services, examples of which we have covered in this paper. The benefits of sharing go beyond enhancing the use of assets. Sharing encourages community interaction and can lead to greater social inclusion. The rise in the number of digital sharing platforms encourages micro-entrepreneurship, provides employment opportunities and improves digital literacy. However, the fallout of sharing, if not properly regulated and monitored, can be safety incidents, social inequality and concerns from traditional markets. Regulatory and tax structures need to be revisited to address these concerns as sharing platforms begin to scale across different sectors of the economy. At the same time, developing a culture of sharing within cities to improve services with accountability and transparency would go a long way in shaping the “sharing cities” of the future.
- Hazem Galal, Foreword, "Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to 'Sharing Economy'", World Economic Forum,(2017)
- Today’s urban environments present extraordinary opportunities for how we can share and collaborate... The approach of a sharing (and collaborative) economy marks a significant turn from our traditional methods of consumption. Choosing transport based on safety record, loaning household tools rather than buying them and getting home-cooked food from a neighbour rather than a restaurant are just some of the ways in which sharing practices are evolving in cities. While sharing may often decrease the cost of access, it also has the potential to address long-term societal challenges such as making cities more inclusive and building social connections between groups that might otherwise never have interacted. In experimenting with sharing practices, however, cities will also have to be agile in addressing externalities and disruption to their planning processes, policy formulation and regulatory structures.
- Cheryl Martin, Foreword, "Collaboration in Cities: From Sharing to 'Sharing Economy'", World Economic Forum, (PDF). (2017)
- While sharing platforms have taken some steps towards implementing mechanisms that establish trust and protect users, this does not remove the need for regulation. Governments first have to understand the intricacies of the specific operating model and its implications – whether economic (taxes, monopolies), legal (redefining labour laws that cater to freelancers) or social (protecting the rights of participants)... Cities have to address two goals when designing regulations for sharing platforms: encouraging innovation and competition, and protecting the interests of citizens.
- While the concept of sharing is as old as humanity, the full possibilities opened up by the digital tools of the sharing economy are often still not fully appreciated. Cities need to move beyond the regulatory mindset in this evolving landscape... They may also have a role in integrating/implementing solutions for sharing of (or collaborating on) public assets and services and/or collaborating with other cities, enterprises (for-profit or not-for-profit) and other stakeholders to make the most of a city’s assets. Harnessing these business models, cities can channel partnerships to influence and shape “sharing and collaborative” culture across all industry sectors – as they have with the mobility and hospitality sectors.,, Getting to grips with the pitfalls and potential of the sharing economy is critical. If managed well, the sharing economy promises to have a transformative impact on cities. It can boost the economy, nurture a sense of community by bringing people into contact with one another and facilitating neighbourliness and improve the environment by making the most efficient use of resources.
- A major theme in the early years of the sharing economy was that these new services were more environmentally beneficial than existing businesses, in part because they were using ‘idle resources’; Airbnb claimed it would reduce new hotel construction. Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft were expected by many to reduce car ownership, increase the number of passengers per ride, and reduce carbon emissions. However, it has been difficult to assess these claims because the companies will not provide their data to independent researchers. But there are strong reasons to believe that platforms are increasing, rather than reducing environmental impacts, and especially climate emissions.
The evidence is hiding in plain sight: lower prices lead to more demand. In the lodging sector, cheap accommodation increases miles travelled and trips taken. Furthermore, Airbnb enables hosts to rent out their homes when they travel, so that lodging is essentially free. (We also find some hosts travel specifically to rent, to take advantage of price arbitrage – they can rent out their homes at a higher rate than the places they stay at.) Similarly, in the US ride-hailing apps appear to be taking people away from lower-carbon modes of transport. A recent study based on survey data finds that had there been no transportation app, 49–61% of ride-hailing trips would have either not been made at all, or been taken via walking, biking or transit (Clewlow and Mishra 2017). Furthermore, this study finds that there is no reduction in car ownership as a result of ride-hailing.
- Juliet Schor "The platform economy", University of California, Berkeley, (17 May 2018).
- As we face the current crisis, let’s think about all the ways to share and support each other. This includes doing everything we can to act in solidarity with workers at companies like Amazon and DoorDash as they counteract the influence of the executives. It also includes seeking out local and ethical aternatives where we can. A true sharing economy could emerge at the other end of the crisis if we collectively shift profits from Amazon, Uber and other digital behemoths to ethical alternatives that cater to all of us while uplifting their workers. This kind of sharing economy will enable the majority of us to be safer, healthier and more prosperous.
- Whether you use a taxi or a rideshare app like Uber, you’re still going to get a driver who will take you to your destination. But consumers view an employee of a taxi company differently from an independent driver picking up riders via an app, a new Ohio State University study suggests. Consumers see themselves as helping independent providers like those on rideshare apps. When they use traditional firms, like a taxi company, they don’t view themselves as helping the employees – they’re just purchasing a service.
The peer-to-peer business model of firms like Uber or Airbnb is changing how consumers view some service providers, said John Costello, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in marketing at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. “Previous work has shown that consumers view employees as being an extension of the company they work for,” Costello said. “But we found that consumers see providers for these peer-to-peer companies as separate from the company – as people just like themselves.”
- The sharing economy is an economic model defined as a peer-to-peer (P2P) based activity of acquiring, providing, or sharing access to goods and services that is often facilitated by a community-based online platform... involves short-term peer-to-peer transactions to share use of idle assets and services or to facilitate collaboration...[It] often involves some type of online platform that connects buyers and seller...
- Sharing Economy, Investopedia, (3 October 2020)
- Communities of people have shared the use of assets for thousands of years, but the advent of the Internet — and its use of big data — has made it easier for asset owners and those seeking to use those assets to find each other. This sort of dynamic can also be referred to as the shareconomy, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, or peer economy. Sharing economies allow individuals and groups to make money from underused assets. In a sharing economy, idle assets such as parked cars and spare bedrooms can be rented out when not in use. In this way, physical assets are shared as services.
- Sharing Economy, Investopedia, (3 October 2020)