After listening to the podcast, something definitely irks me the wrong way. I think I am feeling Milo Yinnopolis’s notion of guilt mongering. Honestly, I want to believe in this shared economy concept. It sounds really nice—something Mr. Rogers would promote in his Neighborhood of helping and caring…and don’t we all want to live in a place where we share our resources to benefit someone else? I sure do! But my neurotic, skeptical, risk-adverse side is throwing up red flags left and right.
However, there are two things I am very concerned with: safety and privacy. Ana Bernasec makes the point that trust is essential to any type of economy, including capitalism. She says that we think about our economy as mostly self-interest based and rarely recognize how we cooperate with each other to create wealth. While I agree with this blanket statement about trust’s value and the benefits of collaboration, I am not completely convinced this theory has a place in our practical world. Listening to this podcast made me almost forget that we live in a dangerous world—people are not always looking out for your best interests, people are not making the best decisions and there’s always our fickle friend, chance, to get us in the end. I would love to truly believe in the white picket fence and window box existence that Ana and April Rusi seem to live in.
For the transportation companies, such as Zipcar and Citibikes, I understand the shared idea. I think it’s great if more people are benefiting from the access to idle resources. However, the extreme company concepts of Couchsurfing and sharing leftover food, I have my reservations. It seems that there is no way to screen enough to know if the stranger to come and live on my couch free of charge is not looking to harm my family. Is there any regulation to the food swapping—allergies? Poison? And in the end this concept of technology progressing the shared economy just sounds like renting.
Lastly, the idea of privacy and ownership are cornerstones of a healthy life and good well-being. Our world seems to be more and more obsessed with “being social”. But is updating our Facebook profile pictures really social? Is Instagramming our sushi rolls really reaching out to the community? Isn’t it just another form of vanity? Aren’t we just all competing for the most likes to boost our egos? If I value my privacy and prefer to meet my friends face to face, am I not cool? Is this technological wave of social media too much to the point that if I am not sharing my mom’s lasagna with a stranger on cookening.com will I be considered out of touch? What does this say about society’s emerging values? Why are we really sharing?