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The Internet

Why the Sharing Economy Is About Desperation, Not Trust 331

An anonymous reader writes "Wired recently ran a cover story about the sharing economy — shorthand for the rise of peer-to-peer rental services like Lyft and Airbnb — which they call a cultural and economic breakthrough. They say it has ushered in a 'new era of Internet-enabled intimacy.' An article at New York Magazine has another theory: that it arose because of the weakness in the real economy. Quoting: 'A huge precondition for the sharing economy has been a depressed labor market, in which lots of people are trying to fill holes in their income by monetizing their stuff and their labor in creative ways. In many cases, people join the sharing economy because they've recently lost a full-time job and are piecing together income from several part-time gigs to replace it. In a few cases, it's because the pricing structure of the sharing economy made their old jobs less profitable. (Like full-time taxi drivers who have switched to Lyft or Uber.) In almost every case, what compels people to open up their homes and cars to complete strangers is money, not trust.'"

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