Is the 'Sharing Economy' a New Paradigm for American Capitalism?

Last week, the nonprofit organization Peers co-hosted a two-day conference all about the "sharing economy" at the Marines' Memorial Theater in San Francisco. About 400 people attended. "The sharing economy is at a Members of Peers at last week's conference ||| Instagram photo by Natalie FosterInstagram photo by Natalie Fostercritical inflection point," Peers noted on its website. "This rapidly evolving model has global and local implications that are changing markets, cities, and lives."

So what's the "sharing economy?" As I argued in an article last week, even the movement's big thinkers aren't quite sure what the phrase means, but it's often used to refer to businesses like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Getaround, RelayRides, and EatWith. These companies are also sometimes described as "peer-to-peer" because they connect buyers and sellers through online marketplaces.

In a series of four videos, I looked at how these companies are providing consumers a way around bad government policies. They're also demonstrating how regulation often serves no purpose other than to protect existing players.

Click below to watch the stories.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This sounds like communism.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    Capitalism is all about mutually beneficial exchange. Calling it a "sharing economy" seems to be more about signaling how much you "care," despite the fact that you're doing the same thing other capitalists have always done.

  • SusanM||

    So, what's in a name? Besides, doesn't "signalling" sound a bit like "advertising"?

  • Caleb Turberville||

    True. But advertising has crass connotations. Using words like "sharing" is either an attempt to market their services or an attempt to make capitalism more politically correct.

  • SusanM||

    True, but maybe a little re-branding is in order. Even if it doesn't, I don't think the personal attitdes or philosophies of the owners of Uber should really count too much. If they want to offer a service for a voluntary exchange of money then does it matter if they want a Scrooge McDuck pool or to raise money to help little puppy dogs?

  • Agammamon||

    A little bit.

    I mean if they want a Scrooge McDuck pool so they can take the puppies they raise in their little puppy orphanage and drown them in money? Would you support that you heartless libertarian?

  • Agammamon||

    The 'Free Market' is all about mutually beneficial exchange. Capitalism is only the most common form of organizing for that exchange. And capitalism itself is not inherently free-market.

    I think it would do us good to work to separate the two in the public mind - we support *free markets*, regardless of how they are organized (capital, co-op, etc).

    Then, maybe, we could get the people who hate capitalism to understand that tearing it down doesn't have to mean that the free market goes along with it.

  • Acosmist||

    Thiiiiiiiiis.

    Capitalism has no ethic associated with it. It's purely a means of organizing (some) economic affairs.

  • robc||

    Your categories arent making sense. Capital/co-op arent different. Either way, the capital is being provided via the free market instead of via the state.

    I can think of nothing more capitalistic than a co-op grocery store (as long as the capital is provided by the co-op members).

  • Agammamon||

    Capitalism is capital being owned by one (or a small group of people) who then get others to work the capital (or rent it out to still others).

    Co-Op is *owners are the workers* style - like a commune, or the hippy 'organic' grocery store.

    There's no fine line between them, those are just points at the extreme ends of a line of ownership.

    . . . (as long as the capital is provided by the co-op members).

    Which is sort of the definition od a co-operative enterprise.

    'Capital' and 'Capitalism' are not the same thing. Capitalism is just one way to organize your capital to use it efficiently.

    My key point (muddy categories not-withstanding) is that we don't care how the *capital* is organized, as long as the markets are un-fettered and competition between producers is strong.

  • robc||

    Capitalism is capital being owned by one (or a small group of people) who then get others to work the capital

    You clearly have never owned a small business.

    Sure, you would like to have others working the capital, but that isnt the way it often works.

  • Ted S.||

    Calling it a "sharing economy" seems to be more about signaling how much you "care,"

    I get the feeling that there are going to be people trying to impose a "sharing economy" on us, with a definition for "sharing economy" not being close to free market.

  • ||

    I completely don't get it. I don't see anything new or innovative going on here. I see old fashioned business incorporating new technology.

    I dont understand why the word 'sharing' is used.

  • Agammamon||

    Eh, its *new* because in the modern 'ask permission' regulatory environment this sort of traditional business model has been mostly destroyed.

    Now its making a comeback but people can't just come out and say they *working*. Because then you need permission.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    I think you hit the nail on the head there. I think there are a lot of people who understand at a subconscious level that the current regulatory environment is pretty fucked, and that there is nothing wrong with making a buck providing someone with a useful good or service, but also haven't been able to tune out the SJW propaganda machine and thus use the term "sharing" as a way to resolve the cognitive dissonance they feel.

  • ||

    Agree.

    All that is happening is that new technologies are enabling people to more easily engage in the kind of commerce that they don't realize has been made effectively illegal by modern regulation.

    It's like people waking up and going "what the fuck? since when is it illegal to rent out a spare room? "

    And they are only doing that because technology has made it very very cheap and easy to advertise the availability of a spare room to a wide audience.

    100 years ago, you could make those things known through a church or word of mouth in a small community. But that became impossible with very large cities and long-distance rapid transportation. Now it is possible again.

    The industrial revolution made the world large, and now the internet is making it small again.

  • Edwin||

    impossible because of huge dense cities? It would be easier, not harder to advertise word-of-mouth in a dense city. How about became impossible because of an increasingly culturally balkanized society where groups of people turn inward and don't trust outsiders? Also obviously the regulations.

  • Edwin||

    //The industrial revolution made the world large, and now the internet is making it small again.

    OOOOOOH! THIS!
    Now THAT is a quotable!

  • Caleb Turberville||

    If calling it as "sharing economy" helps you get non-profit, tax free status, then go ahead.

    The wealthy are taxed based on the notion that they should be "paying back that which they took." Of course, this is bogus because all exchange is mutually beneficial for all of society. But if you can dupe the government into getting tax free status by pretending that you're doing something different, I guess I see that as a genius move.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Is the 'Sharing Economy' a New Paradigm for American Capitalism?


    No. This is literally the exact same thing that has been done throughout our country's history (and that of other free-market polities) for centuries, modified for new technologies. It's the same shit with a new label to make the progressive Puritans feel better about their choices whilst imposing burdens on people they don't like (also far from a new tendency in this country).

  • BoscoH||

    I miss Ride Cher Week.

  • x4rqcks3f||

    From the Peers website: We believe that by sharing what we already have — like cars, homes, skills and time — everyone benefits in the process.

    It sounds like their definition of the sharing economy is one which employs under-utilized resources under individual control. Personal vehicles, kitchens, bedrooms etc. Resources that aren't normally intended for use by more than the owner. It's not revolutionary, but it does seem fairly definable.

  • Agammamon||

    Its about as definable as the difference between capital and private property.

    This definition hinges on what you bought the stuff for.

    What if you by a house with the intention of using its kitchen and dining room to make money serving 'guests' food and drink while living in it to reduce your overhead?

    This sort of hairsplitting is what the tax man (and legislature) live for.

  • ||

    OMG! People! Living! In the same place they Prepare and SERVE FOOD! To others!

    THINK OF THE MICROBES!

    No! You must pay $1000/month to rent out a totally separate building!

  • ||

    "... the sharing economy is one which employs under-utilized resources under individual control. Personal vehicles, kitchens, bedrooms etc. "

    Any idea where all the farmer's daughter jokes come from? Are you familiar with them? This 'new' economy has been around since the first time the sun rose.

  • ||

    Are you saying that farmer's daughters are under-utilized resources?

  • LessIsMore||

    Well done. Seems like the comment section of this article is able to more clearly articulate the "sharing economy" idea than it's inventors/champions. Whether thats a testament to our commentariat or a knock on Peers, decide for yourself.

    I think the challenge will be getting some people who subscribe to this, but not to "capitalism", to see that this concept applies to everything in a free market. You own a building where you're not using some of the space, and rent it out? Boom, "sharing economy" in action. You own a business which owns some machinery you're not using all the time, and decide to rent it to another company without the desire/ability to purchase their own equipment? Oh snap, "sharing economy" in action again.

    Also, however, we need to ride a line here where ownership and it's benefits - whether individual, commercial, single, joint, etc. - are respected and it doesn't become "Citizen A, you are required to share your equipment because citizen B doesn't have enough money for his own". Pretty sure this "sharing" idea is a slippery slope.

    Beware not the true implication of "sharing economy", but it's perception in the eyes of the fervent.

  • ||

    I was just thinking of 'certificates of need' required by some businesses to purchase certain kinds of equipment . The kinds of people who think you need permission before acquiring certain things for business are the kinds of people who think they should command how you use resources you already have.

    In a word, fascists.

  • ||

    Yeah, the advocates of the "sharing" economy may one day decide it needs to be mandatory, and free.

    Got a power drill? You're required to register it with SnapGoods, citizen! Other people might have a use for that!

  • pmains||

    I had to look up SnapGoods. Apparently, they are relaunching (rebranding? transmogrifying?) as Simplist. Their inscrutable slogan is "Simple. People. Lists." I have no time for their riddles.

  • x4rqcks3f||

    What if you by a house with the intention of using its kitchen and dining room to make money serving 'guests' food and drink while living in it to reduce your overhead?

    This 'new' economy has been around since the first time the sun rose.

    Like I said, it's not revolutionary, but it's definable. If anything, I'd almost consider it a step backwards. Technology has given us enough wealth that we don't need to share. We can have things that are only for us. I don't want strangers in my house or car, and I make enough money doing what I do that I don't need to let them.

  • fuck you tulpa||

    .

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I believe John made this point on another thread, but it bears repeating:

    These people, far moreso than the Marxists who preceded them, are idiots. Ask any one of these shrubs, and they'll tell you that they believe that transportation should be centrally coordinated and managed in order to produce "just" and environmentally-friendly outcomes. Guess what, if you have these idiots running around car-pooling and such then that is directly contradicting the need to centrally coordinate and ration transportation resources in that manner. There is a reason that so many Marxist states had problems with private production, and it had to do with its problem in being able to run a command economy in a semi-effective manner. The old Marxists were murderers and tyrants, but I will give them credit for at least understanding their system and trying to make it work. These fucks want to control us based on a hunch, and a hunch that they haven't even bothered exploring intellectually. Fuck them: true justice demands that their precious regulatory state wring them for all they're worth in the name of the principles they espouse; let them be undone by the guillotines they have constructed.

  • GILMORE||

    You had me at "They're Idiots"

  • GILMORE||

    “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
    ― Albert Einstein

  • Agammamon||

    Uh, you give way too much credit to the old Marxists. If they truly understood their system and tried to make it work then they wouldn't have had '5 year plans'.

    Hell, the New Economic Policy would never have been tried.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If they truly understood their system and tried to make it work then they wouldn't have had '5 year plans'.


    I've probably read way too much Marxist literature, but the Marxist-Leninist rationale for NEP and the 5-year plans was that Marxism came too early to Russia and required a hybrid response from the vanguard (i.e. the people in charge) to artificially get Russia past the 'capitalist' phase into a state where it could proceed with implementing full-on socialism -- hence the forced industrialization and 5-year plans. NEP was more or less an opportunistic concession to the peasantry at a time when the Bolshies thought they might lose the Russian Civil War.

    Say what you will about those rationalizations, they at least illustrate that Marxists realized the gap between belief and policy, a stage in intellectual honesty that these assholes will never reach. (Of course, none of them is nearly as well-learned or intelligent as Lenin or Trotsky, so there is that.)

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I mean, either Trotsky or Lenin referred to NEP as "state capitalism" when it was unveiled; these guys were following a bankrupt ideology but they at least understood it.

  • Agammamon||

    I disagree - I think they understood what was necessary to gain and maintain power.

    The NEP shows how little they understood about the importance of *competition* between producers. They certainly didn't understand the *computational* burden that they would have to shoulder once they removed completion from their economy. And hand-waved how that burden would be handled once 'true-communism' arrived.

    They had no real idea of how to get from A to B, and the SU's history is 70 years of people being herded around, not getting anywhere but being told progress is being made as long as they're moving.

    About the only *good* thing to say about them is they dumped the NEP fairly quickly, once it became obvious it was unworkable but never absorbed the lessons of that failure.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    What you're saying is that they never abandoned socialism. I agree that this was a failing (a murderous one, even), but it's clear from their writings and policies that the USSR's communists held out hope that their policies would work into the early 60s. At the time, the economic calculation problem was not as thoroughly explored as it would be later, and in fact looking at the history of the economic debate it is clear that some of the smarter socialists really forced Mises and others to revise and distill their argument into a more cogent attack on socialism in the 40s (the initial intellectual volley in the argument was not as strong as it might have been).

    That's not quite the same as not knowing that there was no problem in the first place, as with these twits.

  • Pulseguy||

    They might have understood their arguments and rationale, but if they had actually understood anything they would have seen it could not work.

    But, I do agree the New Socialists don't understand their own philosophy, and also don't understand what they are asking for.

  • robc||

    Shorter TIT:

    Economic Calculation Problem.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Right, exactly. At least the old Marxists knew what you were talking about when you argued ECP; these morons are stumbling headlong into it and patting themselves on the back for it.

  • GILMORE||

    "These companies are also sometimes described as "peer-to-peer" because they connect buyers and sellers through online marketplaces."

    MY GOD = "MARKETS"?? WHAT AN INNOVATION?!

    this 'sharing economy' bullshit seems to be what millennials call it when they actually do something that works as a Business.

    They are so en-cultured to hate/reject/deride anything that is actually capitalist that they don't even know what to call it when they see it. They need to make up some kind of Internet2.0 name for things to pretend what they're doing 'Isn't their Father's Capitalisms'

    I see that pretty much everyone else has already made the same point here.

    Apprently this is called "Betteridge's Law of Headlines"

    ""...any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word "no". The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.[7]"

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    On-topic: Reasons why Uber and other sharing economy start-ups are evil

    2. Venture capitalists do not give a damn about sharing. They are looking for big returns on their investment

    Go over to the website for Peers.org, an advocacy group that describes itself as “a member-driven organization that supports the sharing economy movement.” First, scroll down to the bottom of the page and review the list of Peers’ “partners”: It’s a who’s who of “sharing economy all-stars.” Now go one step further, and look at where these companies are raising their money from: It’s a who’s who of Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

    AirBnB has raised money from Benchmark Capital, Greylock, Sequoia Capital and Founders Fund (featuring Peter Thiel and Sean Parker). Lyft is backed by Andreesen-Horowitz, Mayfield Fund and Founders Fund. Homejoy (a cleaning service coordination app) has raised cash from Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and First Round Capital. Sidecar is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures. Yerdle — which purports to help you clear out your closet — is a Kleiner-Perkins play.

    What other “movements” do you know that are massively funded by venture capitalists?

    Uh, climate change alarmism and green energy?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    7. Regulation

    Many municipalities have laws on the books forbidding homeowners from renting out their rooms for less than 30 or 60 days. The reason? To prevent landlords from operating unregulated hotels. Real hotels are required to adhere to a raft of safety regulations designed to protect the public welfare. Apartments rented out through AirBnB avoid those regulations, even if they are used for the same purposes.

    In New York, for example, some apartment landlords have employed AirBnB as a booking operation for short-term hotel rentals. New numbers released this week revealed that most of the rooms rented on AirBnB in New York were in homes or apartments that were never occupied by their owner. Not a whole lot of “sharing” going on here — just a bunch of subletting.

    8. The true meaning of “disruption”

    Taxes, regulations, insurance — what entrepreneur wouldn’t jump at the chance to escape their heavy load? The most important lesson here is this: The next time you hear about a sharing-economy startup that is going to “disrupt” an industry sector, turn on your translator. What they’re really saying is that sharing-economy businesses will extract profits from their given sector, because their competitors can’t match their prices. By “sharing,” they have successfully made an end run around the existing costs of doing business.

    What's more disturbing: the hatred of the profit motive or their sincere belief that all gov regs are good?

  • LessIsMore||

    Honestly, this goes back to Ayn Rand's writing wherein she states that (parapharsing) in an idealogical battle, the most consistent one wins.

    Salon is being more consistently anti-profit/anti-capitalism than Peers and the "sharing economy" enthusiasts.

    Peers would be better of understanding WHY what they're advocating is a good idea, instead of trying to cloak it in the "profits are bad, mmkay, except when it's "sharing" and [a,b,c,d,etc]. "

    Same problem Republicans have against Democrats, and why they are viewed (here, at least, if not in 99% of the public) as Democrat-Lite, instead of a something entirely different.

  • ||

    One has to assume that the hatred of the profit motive is another form of projection, because these people are nothing if not walking projection. Therefore, one must assume that they feel the profit motive all the time (which is perfectly normal, but they don't seem to think so), and hate it about themselves, and then project it on to everyone else just like they do with their racism, hatred, envy, and all the other repulsive shit these people emanate.

    They hate profit because they hate themselves. It always comes back to their projection and self-hatred. Always.

  • Agammamon||

    Real hotels are required to adhere to a raft of safety regulations designed to protect the public welfare. Apartments rented out through AirBnB avoid those regulations. . .

    I know, man my home is a deathtrap compared to a hotel room.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I'll go with C) The fact that he/she really doesn't recognize that arguing against Airbnb on the basis of hotel regs actually disproves the assertion that hotel regs are needed to protect the public good

  • ||

    "Taxes, regulations, insurance — what entrepreneur wouldn’t jump at the chance to escape their heavy load? "

    I have been assured by proggies that those things are not heavy loads, that they actually promote business.

  • x4rqcks3f||

    I know, man my home is a deathtrap compared to a hotel room.

    I'd expect the owner of a house to keep it safe because they live there. The owner of a hotel doesn't usually live in the hotel.

    Just playing devil's advocate. I'm deontologically opposed to regulation no matter how many die in unsafe buildings.

  • Agammamon||

    And (I swear) there have never been dead hookers in my box-spring nor corpses in my water tank (not even pigeons).

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/20/.....index.html

  • x4rqcks3f||

    Your place sounds boring.

  • fuck you tulpa||

    .

  • x4rqcks3f||

    "."

    Are you looking for a participation medal?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Leonard and his ilk are right to be freaked out. The Sharing economy removes the KKKorporate bogeyman or at least minimizes it. That dis-intermediation has dire consequences for progs and other statists. Harder to vilify business. Normal people end up running into the regulatory state head on and start to ask questions like 'why the fuck can't I rent out my home to these visitors?' People look to themselves instead of 'Society'.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Commencement speaker blasts "immature and arrogant" students that have been driving off controversial speakers

    A commencement speaker on Sunday blasted Pennsylvania college students as “immature” and “arrogant” for protesting another speaker who then decided to withdraw.

    William Bowen, former president of Princeton University, used his commencement speech at Haverford College outside Philadelphia to criticize students who campaigned against Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

    [snip]

    “I am disappointed that those who wanted to criticize Birgeneau’s handling of events at Berkeley chose to send him such an intemperate list of `demands,’” Bowen said Sunday.

    “In my view, they should have encouraged him to come and engage in a genuine discussion, not to come, tail between his legs, to respond to an indictment that a self-chosen jury had reached without hearing counter-arguments.”

    Bowen also said Birgeneau had “responded intemperately, failing to make proper allowance for the immature, and, yes, arrogant inclinations of some protesters. Aggravated as he had every right to be, I think he should be with us today.”

    He called Birgeneau’s withdrawal a defeat for the university.

    His remarks drew a standing ovation.

  • x4rqcks3f||

    Commencement needs to die. I was extremely lucky and had a famous speaker who told a great story completely unrelated to academics or politics then left. Most are worthless though.

  • fuck you tulpa||

    .

  • GILMORE||

    "Grand Moff Serious Man|5.18.14 @ 5:57PM|#

    ....
    2. Venture capitalists do not give a damn about sharing."

    I read about 1/2 of what was in the commentary below that, and the stench of retard was so thick that I had to go wash my face and have a cup of coffee.

    Which makes me wonder = how does Salon make a profit, again?

  • GILMORE||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salon_(website)

    "Salon has been unprofitable through its entire history"

    Rough estimate is that its lost ~$100m since its inception.

    Apparently the editor of Salon is leaving... to go to another 'startup' funded by VC money.

    from Politico.com

    "Kerry Lauerman, the editor-in-chief of Salon.com, is leaving the website after thirteen years to partner with Lerer Ventures on a new start-up, POLITICO has learned.

    Lauerman's start-up, a 'content and commerce' site, is expected to launch this fall and will be housed under the LV incubator Soho Tech Labs. LV CEO and founder Ken Lerer was a co-founder of Huffington Post and currently serves as Chairman of BuzzFeed and Betaworks."


    You see, its evil when other people do it.

  • Warrren||

    Salon is losing money, that is proof of their good intentions. It's a form a flagellation driving out the evils of profit.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    We should toss all the corrupting wealth of humanity into a pile and then burn it as a direct means of returning to our state of natural purity.

    Only way to be sure.

    (we can start with the Salon.com servers and its staff)

  • Cytotoxic||

    Rough estimate is that its lost ~$100m since its inception.

    So when will it die? Next recession?

  • John C. Randolph||

    Didn't know Salon was quite that much of a money hole. I guess the next time I want to tweak one of those twerps, I'll ask them "if you're so smart, why aren't you profitable?"

    -jcr

  • Pulseguy||

    So much wealth isn't. Tesla? Cap value of $40 B, sells 4,000 cars a year?

    Amazon, cap value of about $360 B, and barely makes any money.

    The list goes on. So much false evaluation out there.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    So what's the "sharing economy?" As I argued in an article last week, even the movement's big thinkers aren't quite sure what the phrase means, but it's often used to refer to businesses like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Getaround, RelayRides, and EatWith.

    To reiterate what every other bright person in this thread has said, this is called trade. Within an unfettered, unregulated market of voluntary participants.

    So apparently we're rechristening honest-to-God capitalism as "the sharing economy." I'm okay with that.

  • WDATPDIM?!||

    Motives are everything to Proggies. Voluntary exchange motivated by the desire to make a profit is bad. Voluntary exchange motivated by the desire to share is good.

  • Pulseguy||

    They aren't profit oriented. It isn't fair to put them into the same category as a Mitt Romney, for example. They want to share....your money, with them.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'm not OK with it. These twits can put up or shut up. God knows they won't be on the front lines helping defend the "sharing economy" when some engorged bureaucracy or craven politician comes for it, and I don't feel the need to defend their stupid term from assault.

  • Virginian||

    Spot on. I have a number of acquaintances who work for or have started small tech companies. One of them, a self described socialist, is always able to expand his definition of acceptable capitalism to whatever it is that he and his friends are up to.

    See, in his retarded mind, a startup is clearly distinct from a big established corporation.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    They're political idiots, but that's the nature of democratic incentives. Democracy is a lost cause from the beginning.

    If the use of the phrase "sharing economy" instead of "capitalism" means that my children will pay a 22% income tax rather than 23% and that the world will be that much better off, I'm for it.

  • ||

    Ok, I will give the "sharing economy" enthusiasts a bit of an out.

    Here is one thing the internet changed about the economy: reputation effects.

    Prior to the internet, it would be very difficult to know if the person you were renting from (or to) was reliable. You would go to a strange town, and looking for a hotel, have no idea if the rooms were going to be clean or not. Thus, you might support a regulation on hotels to make sure that you weren't going to pick up lice or get murdered or robbed.

    But now, with the internet, you can very quickly and easily read reviews from other people who have stayed there. Hotel has lice? ONE user posting that review can broadcast that fact to millions. Instantly. At virtually no cost. So why do you need a government agency to inspect hotels to make sure they have no lice? You can KNOW in advance if a hotel has lice with reasonable certainty just by reading the online reviews.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    Spooner would've had a field-day with the internet for exactly those reasons. A free internet is the future of the free society.

    As much time as we spend debating markets and tax rates and the meaning of is, the reality of markets and the exponential growth of wealth over the past two hundred years is a great reminder of liberalism's success. We're not living in a perfect world, but the fact that we're able to print our guns and keep most of our wealth is a testament to the power of markets.

  • Pulseguy||

    Good point, Hazel.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I'm disappointed with the people crapping all over the sharing economy and dismissing it as rebranded free markets. It is not just free market capitalism but free market capitalism that is decentralized and more person-to-person. This makes it regulation-resistant and otherwise disruptive. The Salon tool freaking out over it understands that's why he's freaking out.

  • poloniusium||

    The 'sharing' thing is that people associate it with interpersonal economic transactions. I catch a ride with a friend and reimburse him for gas and effort. I pay a friend who let me crash on their couch something for their trouble. You can't be buddies with a company, so this kind of market appeals more to people who have been raised to hate business. I think these networks existed before, but they was even more informal and way more disconnected.

    We're seeing the grey/black market for transportation and renting, among other things, expand rapidly when they're given avenues for information and places for free agents to inhabit. The guys who made a little side money picking people up when they cruise or renting their guest room on the sly are joining an internet based network to sell their stuff, rather than a social, word-of-mouth network. Since these markets are relatively unregulated, *right now*, there are drivers joining them where they couldn't or wouldn't join a cab company.

    I think craigslist was a forerunner and showed the potential of this market. What craigslist doesn't do, because it is generalized, is streamline the user experience. You've got to crawl CL to find what you want and make the deal; with these taxi services, you click a button on an app, and a taxi shows up.

  • poloniusium||

    urk

    *were even more

    Excuse me while I suck a shotgun off.

  • John C. Randolph||

    completely unregulated!

    Unregulated except for the FDA's control over what ingredients they can buy, the IRS's claim on a chunk of their earnings, and the entirety of the tort law system if someone gets sick...

    Man, the tone that stupid twat was taking made me want to go totally unregulated upside her damn fool head.

    -jcr

  • Mr Whipple||

    Well, JC, if you want to take it one step further, you can get into black and grey markets and digital crypto-currencies.

    http://groups.csail.mit.edu/ma.....-comm.html

  • Mr Whipple||

    Since we are "sharing" videos, try this one:

    (I think the proper term is "collaborative consumption".


    http://www.ted.com/talks/rache.....on#t-15607

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