A new economy.
According to Arun Sundararajan, leading expert on the Sharing Economy, crowd-based capitalism will become the new centre of the economy. Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft already changed our daily lives for a better. In cities such as Brussels, the taking and Uber is much cheaper than regular taxi companies (and much safer due to a real-time map). In Malaysia, UberPOOL is even solving local traffic problems. UberPOOL does offer not only ride-hailing options but also car-sharing options to put more people in fewer cars.
Furthermore, it is possible to rent out spare bedrooms on Airbnb which allow more flexibility, enabling a quicker transition among cities without the need to see the property beforehand and without having to sign a one-year lease. For some, it might feel as if the Sharing Economy fosters irresponsibility. Nevertheless, the contrary is the case: the Sharing Economy makes the society trust again.
Trust is the new currency.
According to Natalya Zubova, Co-founder & COO at boataffair, “trust is the key for sharing economy platforms.” We live in a world where we can earn money by sharing with strangers.
In general, peer-to-peer exchange makes our lives more personal. In a world where online self-portrayal is everything, the Sharing Economy transforms online activities into an offline network of trust. Facebook profiles, ratings and comment systems help us to rate drivers, hosts, and users in a positive way – good ratings make people interact offline again by driving in an Uber car, sleeping in an Airbnb room, or to ordering Deliveroo food.
Also, Sundararajan expects the energy and health care industries to be ripe for platform-based disruption, especially in developing countries where existing infrastructures are less reliable. Distributed networks of solar-energy generation and storage allowing us to swap, trade and share electricity with each other, which could bring an end to “centralized power production and distribution.”
The Gig Economy in particular enables people to take back full control of their lives. This changes the views of the conventional need for a 9-5 job. Hence, you decide when and where you want to work.
However, non-millennials tend to be less active when it comes to participating in the collaborative economy: a national survey by Altroconsumo revealed that of over 1,000 Italians aged between 45 and 70 years old almost half (47%) have never heard of the sharing economy. Consequentially, the first Sharing Economy School recently opened in Milan.
New policy initiatives needed.
This disruptive system should not be stopped – it is the future. Policy makers need to build a system of worker protections, minimum wages, regulations and pension schemes and not find new legislations that hinder the sharing economy e.g. such as the case of Uber being banned in Germany. With every change some jobs will disappear, but new ones will come. Governments should be optimistic about the potential of sharing, as the success of sharing economy platforms speaks for itself.