The Sharing Economy Was Always a Scam

Article The Sharing Economy Was Always a Scam

‘Sharing’ was supposed to save us. Instead, it became a Trojan horse for a precarious economic future.

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Adults teach children the virtues of sharing and so, to capitalize on that altruistic notion, proponents touted the rise of the “sharing economy.” Building peer-to-peer transaction platforms enabled companies like Uber and Airbnb to turbocharge a new business paradigm that pundits contended would bring great social and environmental benefits. But that’s not how it's worked out. Instead, as journalist Susie Cagle points out in this insightful critique, investors and the public have come to recognize the serious negative consequences that these enterprises have unleashed.

Summary

Companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb popularized the idea that people could make the world a better place by offering rides, apartments and other products and services directly to each other rather than through existing corporate and retail channels. Participating in a noble “sharing economy” would create new sources of income for individuals while fostering communities based on mutual trust. Additionally, the thinking went, these start-ups would reduce demands on environmental resources through the more efficient use of goods and services. But the realities of ...

About the Author

Susie Cagle is a journalist covering politics and economics.


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