Blog 5

A Kindergarden Concept

Sharing is a fundamental concept. In fact it is a premise of our childhood. Could this concept really be taken to a new level and impact our economy? Arguably it is at the roots of economy itself. We have been providing goods that satisfy needs since the caveman era. “My rock for your club.”

The Rise of the Sharing Economy certainly has a nice ring to it. Its development has certainly been spurred by the decline in the economy. People get more creative as they try to save their pennies. It makes a lot of sense to share the goods we buy with others in order to save. This has been going on forever though, but mostly between family members and good friends and rarely at a cost.
I agree with the concept overall and certainly the podcast on To The Point does a great job of bringing in different sides to the story. I agreed with Derek and April that sharing is one of the world’s oldest behaviors and that there is so much idle inventory out there we can all benefit from sharing. I do have big concerns and doubts however.

Airbnb’s legal win, loss for New Yorkers

Airbnb is a company that is making it possible for people to rent out there homes and apartments to others when they are going to be away. However the concept has been deemed illegal by New York and Airbnb was involved in a legal battle supporting one of its customers. The article states that “the whole point of production is consumption and we should only take into account the interests of the producer where it is necessary to do so in the interests of the consumer…So, using Smith’s point we might say that the interests of consumers are advanced by the work that Airbnb is doing. At which point of course we’ve got to ask why it’s illegal. To which the answer seems to be no particular reason at all except that’s just not the way it has been done up until now…The final point being that the illegality isn’t really Airbnb’s problem. It’s really a problem for New Yorkers for they are being denied the opportunity to use the services being offered.”

The number of legal issues that will arise from this concept are going to be astounding. AS technology races forward and as our government continues to look back at historical precedents to make decisions, policy vacuums are going to be created and the answers to the questions about illegality and responsibility simply wont exist.

I would be anxious to participate in the sharing economy’s newer ideas like Milo talks about in the podcast. There are so many dangers out there and although people should have a certain level of trust for one another, and like Anna says, capitalism couldn’t function with some trust, it is scary in this day and age to let a stranger stay in your home. Personal space is too personal for me to be comfortable sharing, however I think ZipCar is a phenomenal cost saving idea.

But on top of personal fears I fear for the impact on the non-sharing economy. If people consume less, producers need to produce less to meet demand and that ultimately leads to job loss and could hurt the economy too much. If EVERYONE tried sharing, we could all consume less, but that seems impossible. And we can’t reduce our cost of living, decline our need for the dollar and reduce what we purchase because we have created the consumer economy and taking steps backward are going to negatively impact us no matter how we do it. This is a problem the whole country will need to get on board with and plan for the effects if we want to make change in my opinion.

8 thoughts on “A Kindergarden Concept

  1. I appreciate how you write, “Its development has certainly been spurred by the decline in the economy. People get more creative as they try to save their pennies.” This is extremely accurate. The shared economy has come about because of the Great Recession our country, and the world, is currently going through.

    During the Great Depression in the 1920s, Americans began to get creative and do whatever they could do save an extra few bucks. In today’s recession, with the advent of new technologies, it is easier for Americans to get together and share our goods to save money in tough economic times.

  2. I love your analysis in the last paragraph. I agree that the Sharing Economy could be a great thing, but everyone has to be on board. If everyone is not participating in the Sharing Economy, there will be groups of people that are hurt by it. I also think that this is probably a hopeless idea, because there are selfish people who will continue to use the consumer economy to best benefit themselves.

  3. Emily,
    I really liked how you talked about the potential negatives that a “sharing economy” could have on the “non-sharing economy.” I also agree with you when you talked about personal space being too personal to share. What do you think has caused other people to be so open with their possessions and personal space? Do you think that the rise in technology and social media has made people think it is more acceptable to share more?

  4. I think people are becoming more open with their possessions and personal space because they are interested in making a little money off of them. People will go a long way for a buck in my opinion. I think technology and social media certainly has made an impact but I believe it has given people a false sense of security. People think they are connecting with others and actually know something about them. But the internet allows us to be whoever we want. Brad Paisley’s song “Online” is a funny example, YouTube that. I think that people also feel more entitled these days to what the world has to offer and so there is a part of me who thinks the lazier people in this world have come up with a way to benefit from others possessions. A little “Hippie-dippie” in my opinion.

  5. I think the Forbes does miss one key point. There _is_ a reason you cannot take an apartment with no permanent residents and make it essentially a hotel. The neighbors. If I live in a NYC apartment building, it may be cool to have my neighbor have a friend from time to time stay there. But were it a business, it might provide all kinds of nuisances. THe point is that private property and its uses always exist in various states of compromise or negotiation BOTH with other people’s property and with common resources (hallways, elevators, a sense of peace, quiet, etc).

    So, there should be ways to let legal systems accomodate the “grey area” of Air BnB so it is not an unregulated hotel, but it cans till exist for its core purpose.

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