“I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine”, sounds like a great deal for both parties and who doesn’t love a massage? But when the person on the other end is a complete stranger, the deal doesn’t sound as enticing. There’s just as good of a chance I’d get a massage from a super model as there is a 300 pound sweaty homeless man, and that is not a risk I am willing to take. Unfortunately for this stranger, I am even less willing to offer them my home for a week than I am to scratch their back.
After listening to “The Rise of the Sharing Economy”, I was very intrigued by the idea but I had my reservations. In an ideal world, we would have a “peer-to-peer” economy, maximizing our ever decreasing resources. It allows access to transportation, food, and housing to a much larger portion of society. Individuals can save money, and use their finances towards essentials or other opportunities that were not previously available. A “sharing economy” would also have a positive impact on society, leading to the preservation of many more resources and materials. But then again, this is in an ideal world, one which I do not see in the future.
My issue with a “peer-to-peer” economy stems off of the need of trust for the system to work. As a society we are inherently untrustworthy. We naturally don’t trust anything and how can we? Like one of the speakers said in the podcast, regulations are required due to lack of trust and honesty. Regulation on a corporate level is generally easy to enforce, but not on a personal level. Yes, the Federal and State laws of the United States do regulate our “personal actions” but not to the extent that I would ever be comfortable offering up my home to a stranger. Even with insurance policies in place, it will cost my time and effort at a minimum.
I am also very skeptical that a “peer-to-peer” economy will gain enough momentum to be on a large scale. I believe enough have the same reservations I do, and there has been, and will continue to be backlash from other businesses. Another doubt I have is that these companies aren’t truly “sharing businesses”. They are essentially rental companies, offering new products. Rental businesses have been around for years. This business practice is far from new, they are just offering new products. Although many see great potential in the “sharing economy” I believe it is reaching its potential. It might be the dominant economy in the future, but I don’t see that being for decades down the road.