sharing economy is growing at an impressive rate across the globe. Yet scholars
working in the organizations and natural environment field have barely
scratched the surface on shared economy business models and their implications
for companies, cities, and natural environment. (…) Shedding light on the topic
can serve to stimulate other scholars to pursue interesting theoretical and empirical
lines of research."
Cohen & Kietzmann (2014)
As Schor (2014) advocates, and I agree with her, there is potential in the Sharing Economy for creating new businesses that allocate value more fairly, that are more democratically organized, that reduce eco-footprints, and that can bring people together in new ways. In fact, that is why there has been so much excitement about the sharing economy. The emergence of P2P communities that share goods, space, and labor services can be the foundation of a new household model in which people are less dependent on employers and more able to diversify their access to income, goods, and services. But, as also alerted by Schor (2014), the early stage goodwill from the big platforms will dissipate as they become incorporated into the business-as-usual economy. Thus, we are at a critical juncture in which users’ organizing for fair treatment, demands for eco-accountability, and attention to whether human connections are strengthened through these technologies can make a critical difference in realizing the potential of the sharing model. There is an enormous amount of new economic value being created in this space. It is imperative that it flow equitably to all participants. After all, that is what we ordinarily call sharing (Schor, 2014).
To synthesize, as Schor
(2014) argues, the sharing economy has been propelled by exciting new
technologies. The ease with which individuals, even strangers, can now connect,
exchange, share information, and cooperate is truly transformative. That’s the
promise of the sharing platforms about which virtually everyone agrees. But
technologies are only as good as the political and social context in which they
are employed. Software, crowdsourcing, and the information commons give us
powerful tools for building social solidarity, democracy, and sustainability.
Cohen and Kietzmann (2014), on the other hand, refer that it seems the sharing economy may be the next stage in the evolution of fundamentally restructuring how economies work. They go further and argue that the sharing economy has the potential to move the needle in assisting a radial shift in global and local economies toward sustainability.
Now our task is to build a movement to harness that power!
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