The ‘Dark Side’ of the Sharing Economy…

The ‘Dark Side’ of the Sharing Economy…

Much of the emphasis we have given on Two Cents shared articles with regards to the Sharing Economy is towards its appeal and benefits, but there are also a growing number of voices [and not just those who look to lose from the growth of it] who are beginning to voice their concerns and cautions at a considerably increasing volume.

Two articles in particular stand out for me in this:

The first, by Anya Kamenetz, titled, ‘Does the Sharing economy have a shadow side?’ attempts to alert us to the fact that “sharing isn’t always rainbows and bunnies.” Fortunately the heart of her post was a lot stronger than that metaphor and begins to pose some questions regarding ‘The informal, good-vibes nature of the participatory economy’ which ‘can run afoul of regulations designed to ensure safety and fairness, both for those who provide goods and services and those who use them.’ 

Neal Gorenflo, in his article titled, The Dark Side of the Sharing Economy: Could Airbnb Accelerate Gentrification? shares some questions that begin to look at some of the possible down sides to the sharing economy, referencing Anya Kamenetz and others as he also poses a  question or two relating to the Sharing Economy. What is interesting with Neal though is how he has framed his questions as a sense of value gained or lost, suggesting that whatever decisions are made going forwards, there will be tradeoffs attached and it is up to each of us to decide what we are willing to hold on to and let go of as this new form of doing economy is embraced or shunned.

These are not lengthy articles and I encourage you to read them both. It is crucial that we do not get so mesmerised by the exciting potential of the Sharing Economy that we miss some of the potential pittfalls that it will bring with it. In light of Gorenflo’s article, what would you say are some of the tradeoffs that come to mind when considering moving towards a general economy that focuses a lot more on the sharing of resources aspects we have been looking at? 

Brett Anderson

Brett "Fish" Anderson from South Africa (the country) is passionate about seeing the church live out what it says it believe in all areas of life. He is married to the beautiful Val (tbV) and hates raiSINs with a different kind of passion.
  • John Toler

    I have a couple of concerns about a large sharing economy. None of my concerns are as intelligent as the two previous articles because I don’t know enough about the details of large scale economics or enough about the full details of a sharing economy. So my concerns are simply based on what I understand. My concern is that if we create a sharing economy on a large scale that looks similar or is based on the principles of the early church’s sharing economy than it will simply dilute the impact of a local church practicing a sharing economy among the local body of Christ (Church). A sharing economy on a large scale that is shared with Christians and non-Christians simply becomes the next way of doing economy and gets labeled under socialism or even get’s it own title but is considered another way. Instead of capitalism or socialism you have a sharing economy. As the lost world looks at the church having a sharing economy they say, oh well they just adopted the worlds version of a sharing economy and it becomes no big deal that brothers and sisters in Christ are sacrificing for and sharing with one another. Christian leaders with the intelligence to come up with sharing economy ideas need to educate the local church and help them establish a counter cultural way to share that would cause the lost world to take notice. Yes, economically we need to help the poor, and the widows and the orphans but not everybody. The New Testament is clear on a emphasis of brothers and sisters in Christ sharing each others burdens as an example to the lost world. If we create a sharing economy that helps everyone as long as they are also willing to share I believe it dilutes the example the Church should have on a lost world.