Synonyms: peer-to-peer economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption
What is it?
According to Wikipedia (which itself could be defined as a shared knowledge csit), the Shared Economy is “a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources.”
That means that goods and services that were traditionally traded are shared and exchanged, creating an entirely new economic and social dynamic….
We also liked this definition: “The collaborative economy focuses on eliminating excess and waste in today’s overbuilt world.”
What does it represent?
The Shared Economy is more than just an economic shift. It is also a cultural shift. People are fed up with the culture of over-consumerism and they are realizing that if they can share goods it not only gives them a better quality of life; it’s also better for the planet.
What are the driving forces behind it?
There are many combined factors behind it. Here’s a couple lined up:
- The global recession: People are cash poor, but own a lot of stuff and so if they can earn some money from sharing that stuff locally, it increases their income.
- Too much waste: People are becoming aware that the culture of waste that developed over the 20th century is unsustainable. We’re destroying our planet with our constant desire for growth and expansion. By sharing resources, we contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.
- Too much stuff: People are starting to realize that more stuff doesn’t make you happier. If you look at the figures, it’s shocking: every household in the developed world has, on average, $3,000 of unused items. But reconnecting with people around you, and sharing stuff – cars, homes, tools – and services in your local community, building new trust relationships, that does make you happier!
So how big is this trend?
It’s big and it’s growing, just look at the figures:
In the last three years:
52% of Americans have rented or borrowed things or places that they would usually own and 83% said they would do so if they could do it easily.
So what about some examples?
Our favourites are:
- Airbnb, which we used throughout our trip around the world to find great apartments and studios in every city we stayed in. Here in New York, we found a funky place in the heart of the action in the Meatpacking District.
- Zazcar, a Brazilian car-sharing service that states that each Zazcar replaces 13 private cars from the street. Can you imagine the positive impact concepts like this have in a crowded city like São Paulo, both on traffic and on the environment.
But there are plenty of others cool initiatives around the world:
from car-sharing and driver services – Lyft, Sidecar, Uber, BlaBla Car, Relay Rides… to home-sharing or rental services – Airbnb is obviously the largest, but there’s plenty of local ones everywhere and dog-sitter services, boat sharing services, food-sharing and dining sites…
… The list goes on and is constantly growing, so watch this space!
© 2015 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands