While taxi drivers and hotel owners are not happy (to say the least!), many think we are moving into a new era called the sharing economy, or, at least, someone finally came up with a solution against the cabbies lobby’s crazy fairs policy.
But is it really good for everyday life?
Apps and the sharing economy
Airbnb and Uber are just a few example of apps that facilitate a sharing economy. There’re apps where you can share skills, cameras and cars with neighbours. Akippa, a Japanese startup, allows people to share under-utilised parking space using smartphones. This app will finally free you from wasting time and petrol trying to find the last remaining parking space by reserving and paying in advance. If you have extra space in your garage, you can rent it out temporarily (TechinAsia). If you are not a car person, there are also apps like Spinlister where individual people can share bikes.
There is even an app called leftoverSwap – that literally lets people swap their leftovers. Are you sick of eating the same food for the next couple of days? No worries, your hungry neighbours can help you finish your food.
“Some people are shocked and find the concept absolutely disgusting while others love it and some wonder whether it’s real,” according to the co-founder, Dan Newman (see The Guardian). Apparently, they have 10,000 users in cities in US, Europe, Australia and Asia and it seems to be growing.
Today, the households in the advanced markets are ‘wasting up to 40% of their food’ says the Guardian. There are people who genuinely want to share their hand-made dinner that they can’t finish. If you have the excessive resources, why not share it instead of dumping them into the bin. (Besides, there are starving kids on the other side of the world. Yes, still.)
Utilising your extra resources while making money and saving the planet at the same time? Sound almost too good to be true, doesn’t it.
Is sharing economy really good?
A recent article by the Guardian pointed out serious pitfalls of sharing economy. Such businesses not only break the law but also make the government lose the main source of tax revenue. Unlike hotels, Airbnb users don’t pay the taxes. In addition, the safety issue for the users is critical. Unlike hotels, private rooms and houses are not subject to regular inspection. So who will be responsible for the potential risks?
Happiness is only real when shared.
When society is in the transformation, the existing law will become obsolete and irrelevant. But there are often new ones taking over and addressing new concerns.
In order for a sharing economy to thrive, we need the relevant law first to protect us from accompanied risks. The bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with sharing. Actually the concept has many positive social aspects.
Eventually, we can all benefit from the world where people are comfortable with sharing their Wi-Fi connections, cars or pets.
Remember, ‘‘happiness is meant to be shared.’’
What do you think?
Appnova is a digital agency specializing in web design, UX, e-commerce, branding, digital marketing and social media.