sharing

What if this Sharing thing takes off internationally?

As the sharing economy receives increasing attention from the media and public, a valuable debate is beginning to emerge around its overall importance and future direction.  So begins this article titled, From Sharing Cities to a Sharing World which poses some interesting and necessary discussion beginning with the conclusion that the old idea of the American dream is no longer tenable in a world of rising affluence among possibly 9.6 billion people by 2050. The video referenced by the article, titled ‘The High Price of Materialism’ is worth taking 5 minutes on. I especially appreciated the bigger picture look at intrinsic values it gives towards the end – we are trying to grow and introduce good and healthy habits instead of just railing against or trying to minimise the bad: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGab38pKscw] I really love the phrase that seems to have become a bit of an anthem for the movement: ‘Sharing more and owning less’ is the ethic that underlies a discernible change in attitudes among affluent society that is being led by today’s young, tech-savvy generation known as Generation Y or the Millennials. As this article manages to highlight a number of the exciting possibilities of taking the sharing economy across traditional borders, it does also mention and highlight some of the more obvious pitfalls and concernes. This is clearly not going to...

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sharesomesugar

Commodifying our Humanity

This week I came across an interesting thought related to the so-called Sharing Economy – that vast and growing collection of  startups, non-profits and cooperative structures that are moving services and goods from the formal sector to a more peer-oriented personal economic system. Think Craigslist and Airbnb, SideCar and SupperKing.  Rachel Botsman describes the sharing economy, or collaborative consumption, as a social revolution that allows people to “create value out of shared and open resources in ways that balance personal self-interest with the good of the larger community.” Why wouldn’t you want to help someone out, if you could earn a quick buck while doing so? It seems that perhaps the sharing economy has at its core a basic human desire for connection. It sits a little uneasily then to think of these new organizations as capitalizing on our desire for contact, connectivity and community, to coin a couple of dollars. But essentially that is what is happening; we are increasingly monetizing goods and services that were once available for free. SupperKing is a “mobile app that allows people to share home-cooked meals with a trusted community”. The startup sets out to “enhance the dining experience by adding a social friendship layer to an otherwise solitary event”. But let’s not pretend this is all altruistic since “how much money a host can make depends...

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darkside

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...

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The ‘Sharing Economy’ or Sharing Econo-you? [some thoughts from Europe’s LeWeb conference]

              ‘The idea behind this year’s central theme, “The New Sharing Economy”, turns the principle of capitalism on its head, proposing consumer access to goods and services is more important than owning them.’ Although the idea of sharing resources and services is not particularly new, what is new is how mainstream it is becoming in certain sectors. Although this comment from Jeremiah Owyang [an analyst at Altimeter Group, named as one of 2010’s “Five Most Creative Small Businesses” by Fast Company] brings up one of the topical questions at the moment: “The sharing economy is actually the next phase of the internet. The first phase of the internet, people shared information. The second phase people used social media and anybody can share. Now we’re here today with the sharing economy which is the third phase of the internet. People use the same tools to share products and services and it is actually a very disruptive trend to existing corporations, governments and businesses.” Is big business going to take this lying down or what kind of backlash or counter-attack can be expected? In this previous post we featured here on Two Cents, we shared how New York regulators and courts were in the process of shutting down or taking legal action against a number of...

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Sharing is Scaring?

‘May hasn’t gone so hot for some of the sharing economy’s most promising entrepreneurs. 2012 might have hinted of challenges to come, but so far 2013 has over-delivered. In the last two weeks, New York regulators and courts have essentially shut three of these companies down, at least temporarily.’ And with that opening paragraph, Susie Cagle begins her article titled, ‘Is the sharing economy skidding out?’ and as dramatic as her title is, it really only begins to give a hint or taste of what might be some of the larger questions facing the sharing economy communities. What is important for us as we explore collaborative giving is to understand some of the parameters that exist as well as some of the obstacles we might face. It is often not merely enough to have a good idea [Smoking is bad for you – let’s stop people smoking!] but you sometimes need to be aware of whose toes you might inadvertently be stepping on as you try make your good idea a reality [So what do you think of the electric car, big oil companies?] You can read the rest of Susie’s article here. As we look to become more involved in collaborative communities through sharing resources and combining network activities, what kinds of barriers might be come up against? Are there any...

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