What’s mine is yours – kind of.

Michelle Leong

It’s time to speak the truth about the sharing economy – and the truth is that mankind has never been particularly amenable to “sharing”. After all, when the Americas were discovered nearly 500 years ago, the British, French, Dutch, Spanish and Ottoman empires weren’t exactly clambering over themselves to “share” the new colonial territories. And in the late 1920s, when capitalists in the car-manufacturing industry suggested making “breakable” goods in order to increase sales numbers, it certainly wasn’t the idea of “sharing” that drove their new business models.

The U.S. Department of Commerce issued a report in June 2016 about “digital matching firms”. They use this cute little phrase, of course, not to be painfully politically correct, (contrary to popular opinion, they are trying to do something worthwhile in between covering their own asses) but to narrow their coverage to the likes of Uber and AirBnB. Otherwise, phrases like “the sharing economy” and “collaborative consumption” are simply far too ambiguous, so instead the Department of Commerce chooses only to discuss “digital matching firms” that fulfill the following four criteria:

  1. They (the firms reported) use information technology (IT systems), typically available via web-based platforms, such as mobile “apps” on Internet- enabled devices, to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions.
  2. They rely on user-based rating systems for quality control, ensuring a level of trust between consumers and service providers who have not previously met.
  3. They offer the workers who provide services via digital matching platforms flexibility in deciding their typical working hours.
  4. To the extent that tools and assets are necessary to provide a service, digital matching firms rely on the workers using their own.

So for the sake of argument, I will use the above characteristics as well, to further my coverage of the newest, and perhaps most popular, niche of the “sharing economy” – the digital matching firms.

 

The essence of the sharing economy

[jamatto-premium]

Anti-consumerism

The anti-consumerism discussion is not new, but its popularity is. Nearly a century after the call to hyper-consumerism (think white picket fence, white-collar jobs, white no-crust sandwiches), it seems that we’re finally sick of that frenetic consumption. Indeed, now that we have too much food and too many celebrities earning millions by virtue of being celebrities, we are now a generation afflicted with “lifestyle diseases” the likes of Type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, certain types of cancer, and renal failure. Yes, you read that right – our kidneys are failing because we’ve got it too damn good.  

In all seriousness, though, the shift towards anti-consumerism is much more than a passing trend. This is reflected in the shocking sales numbers for Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (an instructive book, by the way, for those who desire the 20-inch TV sans the clutter), which bagged top spot in the New York Times for 27 weeks. This isn’t just an American quirk either, because over 2.1 million copies were sold in Japan (where Kondo first published), and over 1 million copies are now sitting on well-worn shelves of many a reader scattered across the world.

The people have spoken. They want to tidy the (consumerist) hell out of their lives.
Here is another example, in case you’re still not convinced: in 2010, two corporate rats, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (both of whom had oversized cars and houses and TVs) decided to get rid of “all that stuff”. They experimented with minimalism, and – would you believe it – ended up as poster boys for the movement. To date, they’ve held seminars at the Harvard Business School, Apple, SXSW, TEDx, and the World Domination Summit. In May 2016, their documentary, Minimalism, hit over 400 theatres in the North Americas, opening as the #1 indie documentary of the year.  

Their message – of de-cluttering, simplifying, cutting back and cutting down – drives, and is enabled by, the advent of digital matching firms like Uber, which has grown exponentially in population-dense cities like L.A., Moscow and Doha,

Let it be noted, in no uncertain terms, that it is also these metropolitan cities that birthed the likes of Kondo and Millburn-Nicodemus, who continue to host their own conferences, write their own books, and inspire indie documentaries about ways of living that resolutely turn away from that unfortunate, inherited philosophy of “newer/bigger/more is better”.
Mere coincidence? Unlikely.

Trust Economy

Companies like AirBnB and Uber maximize what’s called “reputation capital”. Reputation, my friend, is the currency you’ll need if you want to become an accommodation host on AirBnB or a vehicle driver on Uber. This means that your clients get to review your services and collectively determine your overall reputation score. The better your reputation the more likely it is that you’ll receive repeat business and/or new customers

This concept of “trust”, though isn’t new, surely? Think of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850, which chronicles the collective shaming of young Hester Prynne by making her wear a scarlet “A” on her dress. Think of business partnerships, and verbal contracts made on little more than reputations. Think of Althusser’s ideological state apparatuses. Each of these encounters between man and man is possible only because there is a transaction of “trust” within the relationship.

The difference in today’s “trust economy”, as compared to that of 10, 50, 200 years ago, is that your reputation – now manifest online for all to see – brings about very real, very immediate effects to your business. In fact, having a poor review (or, worse, a negative one) is not much better than having no reviews, and there are Uber drivers who would rather you not review them at all.

The same business model is utilized across a myriad of older e-commerce platforms as well, such as Amazon, Ebay, and Asos, but what’s different about the digital matching firms that have risen in popularity in the last 2-3 years is that their economic “trust” model is based on more than just reviews. AirBnB, for example, allows users to link their social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.), and Uber drivers are required to provide proofs of identity (car license, driving license, etc.). This lowers the risk of prior performance for the consumer, and puts the consumer in a position of control. Compared to older P2P, B2C and B2B e-platforms, which usually require the customer to pay before the goods/services have been provided, the customer now has a hand on the steering wheel too, and is no longer blind nor dumb.

Generation Y

Rachel Botsman, pioneer and advocate of the collaborative consumption era, author of What’s Mine Is Yours, recently publicly opined that the collaborative economy is driven by Generation Y, who are largely habituated to sharing. She says:   

[…] things are changing, and one of the reasons why is the digital natives, or Gen-Y. They’re growing up sharing — files, video games, knowledge. It’s second nature to them. So we, the millennials — I am just a millennial — are like foot soldiers, moving us from a culture of “me” to a culture of “we.”

Based on the demographic findings by researchers Juho Hamari, Mimmi Sjöklint and Antti Ukkonen, it certainly appears that Rachel Botsman’s observation can be substantiated. Hamari and his team collected demographic information from 168 registered users on Sharetribe, and found that 68% of users were between the ages of 20 and 35 (those born between 1981 and 1996). In fact, the 20-25 age group took home the biggest share of the pie, coming in at nearly 40% of total users on Sharetribe.

And so it seems that after the disaffection and aimlessness of Generation X, it is Gen-Y that has saved us from the 2008 economic crash – by embracing the “collaborative” paradigm.

The Shift to Green
Given that Generation Y is the primary demographic group propelling the collaborative economy forwards, it should be noted that they are also the very ones who grew up watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc. The media emphasizes climate change and the need to cause lower environmental impact have become significant intrinsic motivators for millennials who engage in collaborative consumption.

Collaborative consumption and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Based on their research, Hamari et. Al. concluded that collaborative consumption typically engages consumers who are conscious of their own environmental and ecological impact. In other words, the perceived sustainability of the collaborative economy is precisely what sustains it.

Thanks to mainstream media coverage on diminishing natural resources and the debilitating effects of pollution (air, water, sound, etc.), the perceived sustainability of the collaborative economy offers great incentive for attitude and behavioral change. Participation in the collaborative economy, in this instance, offers not only communal and social connection, but also – and perhaps more importantly – a shared ideological cause.

In other words, by participating in the collaborative economy, you’re doing good. As such, you get psychological license to feel like you’re contributing to the overall wellbeing of the world, and people generally like feeling this way.

Technological Progress

Ten years ago, the most exciting thing about the Internet was that Internet Explorer could run multiple tabs on a single browser. Sure, things had moved on from the dial-up modems of the late 1990s and clunky CPUs now looked like storage boxes rather than a small house, but in the mid-2000s it was still about Yahoo and AOL

Today, only your grandfather owns a “dumb” phone; everyone else’s is smart. In 2017, it’s about Google and Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. It’s about embedding gifs, memes and Youtube clips into your blog post. It’s about UX and UI.  It’s about convenience, speed, and apps.

Make no mistake about it – it’s the leaps and bounds that we’ve made with technology in the last ten years that has made this possible.

Globalisation

There’s one another factor behind today’s collaborative economy that nobody seems to talk about, and that factor is globalization. It’s worth considering how the seemingly unanimous, worldwide acceptance of neoliberal capitalism has contributed to the momentum of collaborative economy today.

Take, for instance, the linguistic imperialism that enables AirBnB strangers to communicate more than “hello” and “goodbye” to one another. In The Linguistic Imperialism of Neoliberal Empire, Robert Phillipson dubs English as the current global lingua franca.

Now that English has been adopted as the communicative meeting point between otherwise distinct cultures, people from opposite corners of the world are equipped with cultural and institutional links with which to perform economic and social transactions.   

Academics tend to be critical of neo-imperialism be it linguistic or otherwise. Nevertheless, whatever the moral judgement may be, it is true that linguistic imperialism has powered the engines of global digital matching firms. After all, the ability to “collaborate” and “share” implies a certain degree of trust and shared values between two parties, as well as the ability to accurately communicate said values. “Global” English fulfills that purpose.

Conclusion

There are, as with any other trend that sweeps the masses, fears about the collaborative economy. There are people who oppose, resist and restrict its influence, but they will probably not get very far. There are shifts – psychological, emotional, technological – happening, and these work primarily in the service of a collaborative economy.

It seems to make sense, at least to the majority of urban netizens, to participate in the new “trust economy” that encourages the maximization of “idle” goods. Thanks to technology, anti-consumerism, Generation Y, environmental awareness, and globalization/neo-imperialism, your car isn’t just an ornament in the porch – or even, more damningly, a status symbol. In the climate of collaborative consumption, your car could serve a greater purpose too.

[/jamatto-premium]

(Visited 235 times, 1 visits today)

Comments

  1. Pingback: Is Uber Pro-Emerging Markets? : Move Forward – In-depth international coverage of future trends in mobility

  2. Rocky

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN! http://www.BoycottBitches.com I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women? American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least. This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

  3. Zachery

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN! http://www.BoycottBitches.com I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women? American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least. This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

  4. OtiliaVillal

    I see your site needs some fresh content. Writing manually
    is time consuming, but there is solution for this
    hard task. Just search for; Miftolo’s tools rewriter

  5. Gordon

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN! http://www.BoycottBitches.com I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women? American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least. This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
  6. corburterilio

    I have not checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I?¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
    2. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
  7. one day trips from marrakesh

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
  8. molybdenum wire

    I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site 🙂

    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
  9. free 3 credit reports

    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you actually realize what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also discuss with my site =). We will have a hyperlink exchange arrangement between us!

    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
  10. اختبار الذكاء

    Hello this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Kandungan penulis

    Hello there, I discovered your blog via Google while looking for a related matter, your web site came up, it appears to be like great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  12. thc distillate

    obviously like your web-site however you need to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very bothersome to tell the reality nevertheless I?¦ll certainly come back again.

  13. http://melbourneairporthotel.org/

    I have been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this website. Studying this info So i’m glad to express that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I so much without a doubt will make certain to do not disregard this site and give it a glance regularly.

  14. maserati rental

    I discovered your blog website on google and test a couple of of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the superb operate. I simply further up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Searching for forward to studying more from you in a while!…

  15. links

    I think other site proprietors should take this web site as an model, very clean and magnificent user friendly style and design, let alone the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  16. catchalldiscount.com

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

  17. mr coffee frappe maker

    Someone essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I’d state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and so far? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual submit extraordinary. Excellent task!

  18. آموزش 3ds max

    Hi would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a fair price? Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  19. avis flybe

    In this great pattern of things you get an A for effort. Exactly where you actually lost me was first in your facts. As it is said, details make or break the argument.. And that could not be much more correct right here. Having said that, let me reveal to you exactly what did work. The authoring can be quite engaging and this is most likely the reason why I am making an effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, although I can notice the jumps in logic you make, I am definitely not certain of just how you appear to connect your points which in turn produce the actual conclusion. For the moment I will yield to your position however wish in the foreseeable future you actually link your dots much better.

  20. AIIMS MBBS Exam

    Great work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on Google for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and visit my website . Thanks =)

  21. black magic specialist in pakistan

    What i do not understood is actually how you’re not really much more well-preferred than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You recognize thus considerably in the case of this matter, made me individually consider it from so many numerous angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved unless it’s one thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. All the time maintain it up!

  22. heart specialist in delhi

    I have been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So i’m happy to convey that I’ve an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most certainly will make sure to do not forget this web site and give it a look regularly.

  23. Compare Man with Van

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I am hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming as well. Actually your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own web site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings fast. Your write up is a good example of it.

  24. healthcare market research reports

    I’m impressed, I have to say. Really not often do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the difficulty is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing referring to this.

  25. Macau Bet Online

    You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really something that I believe I’d never understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely huge for me. I’m looking forward on your next put up, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

  26. Aegis Law Firm

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  27. Agen BandarQ

    I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  28. Agen Domino 99

    When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Bless you!

  29. Domino 99

    Thank you for every other informative blog. The place else could I am getting that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a challenge that I am simply now running on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

  30. Bola88

    Hiya very cool blog!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds alsoKI’m satisfied to search out so many helpful info here within the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  31. road trip planner attractions

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  32. seo and ppc in dubai

    I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The website style is wonderful, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  33. www.writeessaypedia.com

    I’m also commenting to make you be aware of of the extraordinary discovery our girl encountered studying your web page. She realized plenty of things, with the inclusion of what it is like to have an awesome helping style to have a number of people with ease comprehend several complex issues. You actually exceeded our own desires. I appreciate you for supplying the useful, safe, revealing as well as cool tips on your topic to Janet.

  34. Things to do in Sydney

    Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What a perfect web site.

  35. Geld verdienen

    I simply could not leave your site prior to suggesting that I extremely loved the standard information an individual provide on your guests? Is going to be back steadily in order to check out new posts.

  36. Gore Tex boots

    Good ?V I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, web site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  37. Geico insurance quote

    I?¦ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts in this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site. Studying this information So i am satisfied to convey that I’ve a very just right uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I most undoubtedly will make certain to do not put out of your mind this web site and give it a glance regularly.

  38. mirrors

    whoah this blog is wonderful i love reading your posts. Keep up the great work! You know, lots of people are looking around for this info, you could aid them greatly.

    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
  39. geico life insurance

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  40. geico.com

    What i don’t realize is in truth how you are now not really much more well-liked than you may be right now. You’re so intelligent. You recognize thus considerably relating to this topic, produced me personally imagine it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men are not involved unless it’s something to do with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. All the time care for it up!

  41. why not find out more

    I just want to say I am just newbie to blogging and actually enjoyed your web page. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You surely come with amazing articles. Cheers for revealing your website page.

  42. company website

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

  43. photos

    I’m impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you could have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the difficulty is something that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my seek for one thing relating to this.

  44. usa news today newspaper

    Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    1. Profile photo of hamilton Post
      Author
  45. Bola88

    I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again!

  46. thailand travel blog

    I was recommended this blog by means of my cousin. I am now not certain whether or not this put up is written by him as no one else know such distinct about my difficulty. You’re incredible! Thank you!

  47. MA Area area codes ND

    Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you¦ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What an ideal site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *