I agreed much more with the speakers throughout the podcast that favored a sharing economy, or the collaborative consumption movement, as it is phrased. Speakers Derek Thompson, Anna Bernaseck made really strong points about how a sharing economy can benefit people that are looking to access products but do not want to own them. So many people that own certain products, such as cars that sit in the driveway or rooms in houses that remain idle, can make better use of these resources or “build an enterprise” off of them as derek Thompson says. Companies like zip car and relay rides supply people cars or rides, so that they can have access to rides and cars, and have these abilities without having to pay the $30,000+ for a car and gas on a regular basis. I think companies like this would be so beneficial because it gives people who have needs affordable access to certain amenities that would otherwise go to waste. I agree with the points these speakers make about eliminating waste and being more useful in our consumer economy. I found that the weaknesses in a sharing system that Milo Yiannopoulos tried to bring to light needed to be taken more with a grain of salt because the issues he mentioned were possible in capitalist institutions.
One thing he did talk about however, that I felt I could understand was regarding the dangers that came with a shared economy. He questions how a person can know whether the person staying in their house, renting their car, and using their utilities is trustworthy. Thompson responded that these indiscretions can and do happen in capitalist establishments as well. While illegal activity can happen in both shared economy businesses and regular consumer establishments, I think that people trust capitalist establishments more because their name is at stake. If you check into a hotel you must use your real I.D and credit card information, are these actions also taken in shared economy businesses? How can a person who lends someone valuable areas of their house trust that they are receiving the true identity of the person in which they are doing business with.
Anna Bernaseck talks about how trust is an essential part of our market economy now and also is an essential part of a sharing economy. Background checks and user ratings can help the suppliers of the shared thing know who they are dealing with. Collaborative consumption is not something that will be forced upon people, nor will it turn our consumer economy into an egalitarian society where everything is shared, it simply will provide easier and cheaper access to goods that people cannot afford to , or do not own.
Other questions that I have are how is insurance applied to these shared objects? Rentable bikes in cities such as DC and New York City were mentioned as objects that are part of this shared economy revolution, and this made me think about this how many Citibikes I witnessed people renting in New York City this past summer. While renting a bike temporarily made it cheaper and easier for New York City citizens to get from place to place, many of these bike riders were not fully capable or aware of the biking zone rules on New York City roads. They also were not accustomed to sharing lanes with the jerky unpredictable driving of new york city taxi drivers. Rentable helmets were only installed in July of this summer. Consequently, many people suffered stolen bicycles, dangerous accidents, medical issues, and none of them were insured. While a shared economy is a great idea, there are many fine print situations that leave it unreliable and full of danger.
I think that if there was more of a reliable and trustworthy reputation associated with certain shared economies, my self and more people would be more likely to be regular customers and users. I think rentable items need to be insured, or there needs to be some greater sense of responsibility or legal punishment associated with committing untrustworthy actions while using a shared utility.
As the podcast mentions, many new businesses are starting up in different countries in the past couple of years but in a way can’t ebay or craigslist, two websites that have been around for a very long time, be seen as sharing economies? People use craigslist to rent apartments, find babysitters, buy concert tickets, and borrow and use many other things. People use ebay to buy things, things that often the seller has no use for anymore. Aren’t these amenities that would otherwise be going to waste if there was no medium for people to communicate about the things they need and the things they can provide.
I think that so many more types of sharing economies are sprouting up because people are becoming more and more aware of how much we waste on a daily basis and how many necessary needs there are in the world waiting to be satisfied. Modern technology gives us the ability to see the greater picture as a population. How much food do we waste? How much food are other countries in need of? How much energy do we use, how much pollution do we cause? These are all things that can be measured and publicized in mass quantities due to technology and media. Life is becoming more expensive each and not everyone can afford a car to get to the places they need, but they can afford to temporarily rent cars. People are seeking to use collaborative consumption to satisfy needs in an affordable way
is the sharing economy all that new? why now?
Would i participate in the sharing economy?