The Sharing Economy

The Sharing Economy

In a different age, and a different time, Arun Sundarajan, an economist at New York University's Stern School of Management, would have been regarded as a "leftist." All that focus on "sharing," would have made the book like a Communist Manifesto.

But, wait, the "Sharing Economy," is a about about the present.Rather, it is about the future; if not already the face of global capitalism. Be it AirBnB; Uber; YouDrive; or other forms of human to human (H2H) businesses, the "Sharing" or "on demand economy," is allowing strangers with some form of value added services, goods, or, facilities, even time, to connect with another total stranger, sometimes without any human interaction at all.

All is needed is a person sending an email to confirm his or her needs; or a person texting into the specially designed app. What makes Arun Sundarajan's book unique is his speculation if this is the dawn of the end of human employment.

If more and more strangers can interact with one another, fulfilling each other's needs, is there even a need for hotels, taxis, tailors, or, even teachers ? This is a deep, relevant, and philosophical question about "crowd based capitalism."

But it is also a question that policy makers themselves have to resort to asking, without which their public policy may no longer relevant. Indeed, "crowd based capitalism," has some moral dimensions too. What if an app allows a person to sell his or her kidness to the highest bidder ? Would this be considered immoral since it is based on the concept of willing buyer and willing seller ?

As H2H economy takes hold, more and more moral and philosophical issues will take hold. This book did not delve into these moral conundrums at all. But this is only the author's first book. In the days to come, more moral and ethical issues will arise.