Reversing the Lies of the Sharing Economy
Brett Scott

Great piece. I could not agree more. Uber is so often trotted out as a case study on the sharing economy at conferences and nobody every challenges it. It’s actually the precise opposite — the taxi industry was already part of the sharing economy and what Uber did was seize control from the independent drivers, remove their power to choose their own hours and force them to compete on price while creaming off a slice of their revenue. And now they are working towards driverless cabs … it’s probably the most blatant example of corporate exploitation I can think of. I refuse to use Uber and urge others to do likewise — if we understand the business model and continue to use the service, we’re guilty of perpetuating the problem. I would not put Deliveroo or Air BnB in the same category as Uber — yes, they are examples of platform co-operativism rather than true sharing networks but they genuinely opened up peer to peer renting and multi-outlet food delivery as new segments, creating genuinely new opportunities for peer to peer wealth creation with a relatively light touch regarding the service providers. As is so often the case in business, the culture and motivation of the company is what ultimately determines whether its business model is used as a tool for empowerment or exploitation.

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