The “sharing economy” is pretty much as simple as it sounds. People voluntarily providing services for other people, usually through websites or apps on smartphones.
With this sharing economy comes a litany of “problems,” according to some people. I’ve heard the argument that services such as Uber, Lyft and AirBnB must be regulated to ensure the safety of users. Ridiculous.
The sharing economy is nothing new. In fact, that whole free market thing that we talk about so much? Yeah, that’s what a sharing economy boils down to: People providing services for other people. People inventing products to address certain problems or issues. People going door to door in the winter offering to shovel your sidewalk and driveway.
The sharing economy is the free market, only now it’s online and on smartphones.
These companies are forming despite massive regulations that hurt economies and businesses. Uber, Lyft, AirBNB and in my mind, websites like Kickstarter.com, are changing the way people do business. These are all great examples of the market working. Imagine if government would just stay out of the way.
We’ve been fairly lucky in Idaho so far. Local governments haven’t started regulating these companies out of business yet. AirBNB operates in Coeur d’Alene, Uber recently started in Boise.