By Jared Meyer
The sharing economy clearly benefits workers and consumers. So why does opposition to innovative business models persist? The answer: entrenched interests continue to use government to suppress competition.
Despite the economy’s slow recovery, entire industries are transforming to allow consumers a greater say in what they buy and workers greater flexibility in their schedules. These improvements in everyday life come directly from the rise of the sharing economy.
While much has been written about the novel business models of the sharing economy and the opportunities they create, the idea behind the sharing economy is nothing new. What sets these innovative companies apart from those of the past is their ability to use the Internet and smart phones to easily connect those who want something with those who have something to offer. The sharing economy offers easy access to an online platform that facilitates transactions between buyers and providers of goods or services.
Peer-to-peer online interaction, made available only recently by technological advances, is behind everything from eBay and Airbnb, to Zipcar and EatWith, to TaskRabbit and Uber. There have always been people who want to buy a hard-to-find product, find a place to stay, eat a home-cooked meal, get assistance on a task, or find a way to get around. The problem in the past was finding someone who was willing to offer the desired goods or services at a reasonable price.