After listening to the KCRW podcast I found myself very intrigued by the whole concept of shared economy and collaborative consumption and the different ideas that came with it. Although it seems as though these are new concepts, I find myself agreeing with the people on the podcast that both of these ideas have existed for a while now and aren’t as new as we think they are.
I believe that the one thing that has been so crucial to both sharing economy is the vast advancements in technology over the past few decades. With just the click of a button people can now find things that never seemed possible back then. With the increase in technology, product and service availability has skyrocketed. Couchsurfing and the idea of the zip car are just two examples. By just surfing the web, one can find a place to stay at another’s house, and also a place to rent a car so easily. The availability of products and services available out on the web today exceeds anything of that of the past. My question is though, is this an ingenious idea, or do the risks outweigh the benefits?
While both couchsurfing and the zipcar do seem like good ideas in theory, there are negatives and risks that come along with them as well. In terms of sharing economy, I am not quite sure how I feel about the whole idea of “peer to peer” sharing. Couchsurfing seems great and good way to help people that need a place to stay, but what risk does one take when doing that? Not knowing the person beforehand or who you are staying with seems extremely risky. There are insane people out in the world, and truthfully you don’t know who you are staying with or who’s staying with you or what can happen to you if you offer up your home like that. While all of this increased technology seems great, we must also now be wary and aware of the risks that come with it.
I believe trust becomes a major factor with the idea of sharing economy. Not knowing what you are receiving can be a very dangerous thing. It can lead to things like fraud or even death if its someone dangerous staying at someone’s home through couchsurfing. Its an ancient concept that trust must be earned, but it seems like nowadays with the Internet and the idea of sharing economy, that the idea of trust is thrown around a lot more and not taken as serious, and that’s what leads to many problems.