What's mine is yours, for a fee
The sharing economy is another possibility for a more efficient use of resources and therefore for the creation of a Circular Economy.
In a Sharing Economy people can rent beds, cars, boats and other assets directly from each other, co-ordinated via the internet. By using an online platform to connect users and providers, this system puts a modern spin on old-fashioned bartering, swapping, borrowing, and trading and greatly expands the scope and scale of potential exchanges.
Sharing economy companies include:
- Airbnb (rent a room or your house),
- Uber (provide rides),
- TaskRabbit (do chores for others), and
- Instacart (be a personal grocery shopper).
There were an estimated 80 million sharers in the United States in 2013, with revenues estimated from $3.5 billion in the U.S. in 2013 (Forbes) to $335 billion globally in 2025 (PricewaterhouseCoopers).
A Sharing Economy puts both people and planet at the heart of the economic system. Value creation, production and distribution operate in synergy or harmony with the available natural resources, not at the expense of the planet, promoting the flourishing of human life within environmental limits.
Read the following article from The Economist on the rise of the sharing economy and share your thoughts with your fellow learners.
“Just as peer-to-peer businesses like eBay allow anyone to become a retailer, sharing sites let individuals act as an ad hoc taxi service, car-hire firm or boutique hotel as and when it suits them. Just go online or download an app. The model works for items that are expensive to buy and are widely owned by people who do not make full use of them. Bedrooms and cars are the most obvious examples, but you can also rent camping spaces in Sweden, fields in Australia and washing machines in France. As proponents of the sharing economy like to put it, access trumps ownership.”
After sharing your own thoughts you can compare your answer with the one of the other learners. Do you think that the sharing economy in the next 20 years will:
- Grow and include new typologies of product and services
- Stay stable at current levels, without increasing its shares
- Reduce its importance because if the rise of new business models
© University of Warwick