Blog 5

The Sharing Economy


While listening to the podcast, I found myself mostly agreeing with the dissent’s arguments made by Milo Yiannopoulos. I agreed that some of the sharing economy sectors, specifically the Airbnb, seemed potentially dangerous for both consumer and lender. As Yiannopoulos said, you don’t know who you’re dealing with. Regarding the Airbnb, for all intensive purposes you are blindly going into someone else’s home.  On the other hand, the lender has no idea who is entering their home, and what they will do there.

There were times that I agreed with April Rinne’s arguments. I agree that people should have access to goods without ownership. For example, I understand a student using a Zipcar, or a city resident renting one for a weekend trip. It is cost saving because a car is not essential in their everyday lives. But, for someone who does need a car more often than not, I am curious if the cost of owning a vehicle will still be greater than the cost of using a Zipcar.

In my opinion, many of the programs spoken about such as Zipcar and Capital Bike Share seemed to be rental agencies. I did not feel the idea of a sharing economy is something new, the exception being Airbnb. At the same time, I know plenty of people who rent out their lake houses in the Finger Lakes for various time periods when they are not there. While they are posing the same risks as the Airbnb hosts of having random people come into their homes, in most cases the family renting has been recommended by a friend, or has interviewed with the owners.

I would participate in certain sectors of the sharing economy such as renting a bike or car. This is not a new industry though. Rentals have been going on for a long time. One thing that I would never participate in is the Airbnb. I personally find it sketchy and would never enter into a random persons home without knowing them. While it was argued that dangerous issues may occur in a hotel setting also, I still feel much more at ease at a Major hotel, where it is someone’s job to secure my stay. At a hotel I do not fear someone coming into my room in the middle of the night.  Maybe its the fact that I’ve seen the movie Taken a few times too many, but all I imagine is someone who has keys coming into the home and things ending very poorly for the renter.

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2 thoughts on “The Sharing Economy

  1. I completely agree with you! Most of it sounds like renting to me. Just as you explained, there are some blatant holes in the Airbnb argument. I wonder if anything dangerous has happened since Airbnb has been in business. The image of a stranger copying my keys and coming in for a quick sandwich (or a quick B and E) is terrifying. It makes sense that you want to know who is sleeping in your house, and you need to be able to trust that person. Are we all of a sudden not good sharers if we don’t trust every stranger that wants to sleep on our couch?

  2. I agree that a large part of what was discussed was just modern day renting. In your post you talk about renting your lake house out, predominately to family and friends. Is not true that large numbers of people rent out their houses to complete strangers through the use of rental agencies. I am writing this post in a downtown house of a woman who I have never met that lives on the other side of the country. She doesn’t/will hopefully never know that there is a mixer occurring in my house right now or that I won’t steal or break anything.

    I understand the concern for safety but I think there are measures in place, or are at least available, to minimize the potential damage that can occur. I think that people are to often concerned that others are out to get them. People on websites such as Airbnb and couchsurfing are genuinely excited to show you where they live and hear stories of where you have been and what you have experienced. While yes some danger may exist I think assuming that people have malintent is a negative way to view the world. If safety is your main concern I advise you never step foot in a car or go near Chuck Norris (http://list25.com/the-25-most-likely-ways-you-will-die/)

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