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One thing that has evolved from the global economic crisis is a new form of sharing economy that has emerged in the US as people are providing services using their own cars, houses or food to provide services for others.
With digital peer-to-peer platforms emerging in dozens of vertical markets, the sharing economy appears to be in its own explosion of diversity. Participants share cars, bicycles, houses, clothing, tools, and a growing array of other consumer goods. “Collaborative consumption” is gaining traction among customers and finally attracting the attention of regulators and entrenched incumbents—not just taxi cabs and hotels, but increasingly automakers and manufacturers of other consumer goods that have built businesses on seemingly endless demand for ownership.
Scholars like Dr. Arun Sundararajan, Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences, at Stern School of Business, in New York University, say this behavior is not new, humans have shared food, tools, time, and skills with neighbors and friends for millennia. And nearly 20 years ago—ancient history in Internet years—the first generation of digital peer-to-peer platforms, such as eBay, began providing users with infrastructure to buy and sell from each other directly and circumvent traditional retail outlets.
Today’s sharing platforms allow users more options: for example, rather than sell an under-used car, an owner can offer it as a rental for an afternoon. Borrowers gain access to assets without the burden of owning them. These platforms dramatically increase the scale for sharing that previously occurred in a narrow sphere among friends. They also make it possible to view consumer goods as assets capable of generating incremental income. Sharing is just another step in the financial efficiency that peer-to-peer platforms provide.
In response to this trend, companies are emerging to harmonize and facilitate connections.
“This system has created several micro entrepreneurs that are emerging,” said Dr. Arun, who met journalists at his office, to explain the new sharing economy.
“Right now we don’t know yet how it will be in the future. It is too early to know the effect on the economic activity, on the GDP and other things,” he added
“We reduce transaction cost, which is fundamental because it increases economic activity, making better use of capital assets, financial capital and labour while at the same time allowing for more variety in the market,” he explained.
The system also encourages self-employment and reduces inequality because instead of having to rely on large institutions, people that cannot afford to buy items can simply rent or borrow them.
Some of this seems to be fueled by the economic crisis which began around 2008 many people faced a serious loss of disposable income.
The business and the profit dramatically increases and attracts more people to join the market.
“The sharing economy provides an additional source of income for the society,” James Parrott, Deputy Director and Chief Economist of Financial Policy Institute, said.
Now there are several social networking applications attempting to address the market need. For example, Airbnb, has become popular by providing accommodations for visitors like hotels. Under this scheme every individual can provide their homes for visitors. Uber has also emerged as a provider of taxis for interested parties who provide their cars as taxis.