Blog 5

Sharing Economy vs Collaborative Consumption


I think that a difference exists between a sharing economy and collaborative consumption. A sharing economy in my opinion is something that has existed for long periods of time where collaborative consumption is something that is quite new. Both have grown rapidly in recent times as a result of the Internet and the ease of access of so much information from around the world.

Companies that were mentioned in the interview that I consider being part of the shared economy where participants interact peer to peer include Couchsurfing and Airbnb. The websites allow everyday people to share houses or space to another person where any exchange whether monetary or symbolic goes directly to the person providing the service. I have used both websites, Couchsurfing while traveling around Europe and Airbnb for my parents to stay over the upcoming graduation weekend. These website have taken the concept of lending people a favor and have been able to apply it throughout the world as a result of the Internet.

couch surfing

(Couch surfing)

Collaborative consumption I think is slightly different, similar to the shared economy, the Internet has played a large role in the distribution of the idea. Companies such as zip car and capital bike share do encourage the society to share a resource however utilization of their resources, cars and bikes, benefits the company providing the service through financial means.

I am aware that it could be argued that they are the same but for me there is something different about a company providing a service for their own economic gain and a service where people are sharing what they have. Regardless of how new the concept actually is I do think that is extremely beneficial to society. If people have things that they aren’t utilizing at the time why not let people use them. If risk to a possession is minimized with both parties agreeing to the terms of use collaborative consumption and a shared economy should be encouraged.

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6 thoughts on “Sharing Economy vs Collaborative Consumption

  1. Marty, I too see a difference in a shared economy and collaborative consumption. I was wondering how your parents, people of a different generation, viewed the concept of Airbnb and couchsurfing.

    • My parents haven’t actually stayed in Airbnb just yet, I have just booked them a place to stay for graduation. Couchsurfing was just something both my sister and I have done at various stages while traveling around. I didn’t have any problems with it and was at no stage concerned about safety. My biggest criticism of couchsurfing is that people sign up for it and promise a lot on their pages however don’t use it frequently enough that they actually come through with providing you accommodation

  2. It is much clearer for me to understand sharing economy and collaborative consumption after reading your blog. I used to think they are just two phrases with same meaning and different words. Your idea of financial benefits v.s. doing favor really helps!

  3. I agree with your thoughts on the apparent differences that there seem to be between collaborative consumption and shared economies and it is interesting that the two are still categorized in the same boat. I had no idea that existing groups and companies such as couch surfing and airbnb existed before listening to the podcast and I found it interesting that they existed because I had always thought that in America nothing ever is really free.

  4. I just wanted to start off by saying I really enjoyed your blog, and the picture you included was spot on. As many other people mentioned, your blog cleared up the difference between sharing economy and collaborative consumption, and for me it had done the same thing. Like many other people I had no idea these things existed beforehand, and I think its really neat that you have been a part of both of these things? I wanted to ask how the experience was for you and your parents? Were there any worries about whom you would be staying with or no?

  5. Pingback: Blog Council Report: Build your Blogging Skills | B-Ethics

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