The ball is rolling

Oslo, Perpignan, Stuttgart, Lausanne, San Sebastian, Visperterminen, or Lake Como for example. I don’t regret it, I’m happy. What I can say is that it wasn’t cheap. It could have been, but we didn’t want it. Because I wasn’t alone. When we decide whom to do it with, we establish certain conditions for each occasion. Some were clean, some were old. Some pleasant and some dull. I’m talking about homes rented from one individual to another. It’s the collaborative economy, a fraction, with good prospects, of the new economy. They could be houses or cars, furniture, money loans, works of art, purses, or even someone’s time for errands. Just imagine: there is someone somewhere on the planet that has already thought of it and is trying to develop their collaborative economy project.

There is a deep discussion that seems more interesting to me, more relevant, more practical: Do we want to stay on the sidelines of the new economy? Do we want to be followers or creators?

I don’t want to get into whether this is a way to improve the planet (fewer resources being better used). Leave it to the experts. Nor do I want to talk about whether this activity allows us to collect taxes for our societies (not a trivial topic). Nor do I judge whether this is about complementary income for the citizens renting their goods, or if, on the other hand, it is a new commercial offer meant to cover a determined segment of the market. I am not going to talk about whether it’s a way to meet people and develop new social relationships. Or to integrate tourists into our city (Peter, from stria, isn’t going to be integrated in one weekend, like me when I visit his town). There is a deep discussion that seems more interesting to me. More relevant. More practical (I’m from the utilitarian school). And it’s about the new economy. Do we want to stay on the sidelines? Do we want to be followers or creators? Do we want to be actors or spectators? This, this is the topic. Woody Allen already said it: “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.”

Because this economy, the new economy, the one they say could be as big as the physical economy of today in a few decades, this economy that mutates, twists around itself, and adopts a thousand faces is the economy in which my daughters will live. This will be the economy they have to live with. And this does keep me awake.

The disparity between a hotel and a house rented between individuals is not normal. Something doesn’t fit.

And for this reason we absolutely must understand all the dimensions that each of the new activities in this coming economy give rise to, be it talent, training, connectivity, or infrastructure, or even legislation. So while this may not be the norm, esteemed legislators of the US, Spain, Autonomous Communities, and city halls, I ask that you regulate. Or, alternatively, if you don’t want to regulate, deregulate (and asking for this is more normal). What is impossible is to not do anything because the normative disparity between a hotel and a house rented between individuals is not normal. Something doesn’t fit. They’re asking from all sides for a law that levels the playing field. The only thing is, the ball is already rolling.

Photography by Inga Mirra — Amazing Airbnb locations in Europe

This article was originally published in Spanish in El Periódico de Catalunya