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The Sharing Economy Fights Back Against Regulators 192

Posted by samzenpus
from the you're-not-the-boss-of-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the advocacy group "Peers". The group says their goal is to “mainstream, protect, and grow the sharing economy.” "The growth of the 'sharing economy,' a loosely defined term generally referring to the internet-enabled peer-to-peer exchanges of goods, has brought with it a shift in the way we think about consumption. Its rise has been fast, and loud. What started with a few enterprising individuals willing to let complete strangers sleep in their homes and use their possessions has now developed into a formidable economic force that threatens to upend several different industries. Along the way, it has posed some major legal challenges. The companies that are pushing it forward have continually undermined local ordinances, consumer safeguards, and protectionist regulations alike. As a result, governments around the country are trying to reign them in. That’s where Silicon Valley’s newest advocacy group comes in."
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The Sharing Economy Fights Back Against Regulators

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:19PM (#44867455)
    You rein them in, you don't reign them in. They're horses, not kings.
  • Race to the Bottom (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gr8Apes (679165) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:23PM (#44867489)

    The "Sharing Economy" is a race to the bottom. The people engaged are selling time and use of the only things they have left (houses, cars, and their personal time) for money to people still working because they cannot find a job that pays enough. It's people hanging onto a shard of what they used to have while renting out the rest. This can only implode, and the faster it grows, the bigger the implosion will be.

    The predictions of the 40s and 50s about the future are coming true - robotics will do most menial labor, people will have more free time, except that free time is not evenly divided up among the population. There's the group working 80-120 hour weeks, and the unemployed or sub 20 hours per week minimum wage slave. That will continue until there are not enough consumers to support the people working, and then more layoffs ensue, until we're back in the serfdom and squalor of a good middle ages city with a wealthy elite and beggars and almost no one else in between.

    OK, maybe that's a little extreme and apocalyptic view of the future, but where we're going is somewhere between now and there unless some major things change. Automation will remove more manual labor and service type jobs going forward, and there really won't be anything replacing it.

    • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:29PM (#44867555)

      wait... so efficiently exchanging resources will lead to destruction? What school of economics is that from?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Gr8Apes (679165)
        Nothing is being created. Did you even read TFA's (I'll wait for the roar of laughter to die down) on what these supposed sharing economy traits are? I did, and several other stories about the phenomenon besides that were stated earlier. In each case of "success" it's people making money off what they already own. It's the rich person living in a row house splitting the levels into apartments and renting them out and living in the basement with the proceeds of the rent. Or the person with a car working as a
        • What do you mean nothing was created? I have something you need something I give you what you need for an agreed upon price.The thing I have was produced and the need for it gives it value. That is all that is necessary and like C0lo said, it is what the entire service industry and Banking industry is based on.

        • Nothing is being created.

          But something is being used up. My car will break after 150 000 miles. If I ride it alone, it will take 10 years. If I share it/rent it out, it will happen in 4 years and I will have to get a new one sooner. Same goes for the furnishings and the paint in the room I share, the lawnmower, the sander and everything else that's being shared through these services.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SuricouRaven (1897204)

        The Cynic school, which teaches that inefficiency, overhead and waste are vital economic elements in creating demand for labor.

    • I've been predicting this for a long time. A lot of armchair economists are. Yet curiously, no professional economists ever mention the scenario.

      I'm not much inclined to trust the economist profession. Their recent track record has been terrible, and there seems to be nothing even approaching concensus on some very fundamental policy issues.

      The obvious way it could be averted naturally would be for reduced cost to lead to increased consumption - that's how we avoided that outcome from the industrial revolut

      • I've been predicting this for a long time. A lot of armchair economists are. Yet curiously, no professional economists ever mention the scenario.

        I'm not much inclined to trust the economist profession. Their recent track record has been terrible, and there seems to be nothing even approaching concensus on some very fundamental policy issues.

        Then you're listening to the wrong economists. There are many economists out there, from different schools of thought that have predicted a lot of what's going on around us. Sadly, all you're exposed to is what the mainstream media currently deems worthy. You seem like a smart fellow, look it up, research. You may find that there are others out there that share your economic beliefs, some may even be economists that have thought these things out.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        I'm not much inclined to trust the economist profession. Their recent track record has been terrible, and there seems to be nothing even approaching concensus on some very fundamental policy issues.

        You're assuming the purpose of an economist is to figure out how economy works. There are a few employed in such a position, faced with the hopeless task of examining a system composed of self-aware parts that can read their research and change their behavior accordingly. But most are simply propagandists: they

    • Consumerism convinced us to buy a lot of things that we don't really need or seldom use so, now that times are getting tougher, we're lending/renting our excess.

  • Not so fast (Score:4, Informative)

    by caffeine_high (974351) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:24PM (#44867493)

    This has been going on for at least 60 years. HomeLink [homelink.org] and Intervac have been around since 1953, using printed books at arrange person to person swaps long before the internet.

    • Shhhh. This does not fit the narrative.
    • This has been going on for as long as the economy has been modelled in mainly financial terms. Look up the Enclosure, for example. Many common grounds were taken away, so people had to buy food and no longer had a chance to grow their own. Economically, swapping is good. Financially, it means less profit.
  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:29PM (#44867547) Homepage

    That's the major problem, eh? Can't tax it, can't regulate it. As government gets larger and larger, it needs more and more money to sustain itself. It seeks out new forms of revenue from wherever it finds weakness. Renting out your spare bedroom in New York City causes a lot of losses. No bed tax (in NYC it's something like 20%, or used to be when I worked in hotels), no income tax for the housekeeping staff, no sales tax from the gift shop, etc.

    Let's not even get into room owners picking and choosing clients. I've seen them proudly say that they check Facebook and such beforehand, only allow professionals and other clean people, etc. Yeah, what they really mean is "no Negroes". When the "sharing economy" is beyond the reach of government regulation, problems like this that society thought solved re-appear with disturbing frequency.

    • by Laxori666 (748529)

      Let's not even get into room owners picking and choosing clients. I've seen them proudly say that they check Facebook and such beforehand, only allow professionals and other clean people, etc. Yeah, what they really mean is "no Negroes". When the "sharing economy" is beyond the reach of government regulation, problems like this that society thought solved re-appear with disturbing frequency.

      Please. Racism isn't a solved problem. There is still racism today, and government regulation actually ends up prolonging it via racist programs such as affirmative action, which literally forces people to treat others differently based on what race they are.

      • You can solve a problem without it being perfect, or complete. Racism existing does not counter the argument that the racism problem has been solved.

        But I agree, government regulation does nothing to help racism.

      • by Livius (318358)

        Please. Racism isn't a solved problem.

        Racism is more than one problem, and some of those problems have been solved.

        Racism that is legally required is difficult to oppose, but it was abolished in law a long time ago. Racism that is systemic and socially acceptable has largely, though not wholly, disappeared. The racism that is left is still racism, and it's still wrong, but it's mostly a fringe belief that has to be buried under a different, objective, phenomenon such as poverty or a broad statistical phenomenon such as ethnic identity or cult

    • Yeah, what they really mean is "no Negroes".

      How fortunate we are to have a long distance and temporal mind reader on SlashDot.

    • That would be great for my AirBnB efforts. I encourage all of you racists to refuse service to negros, so they will come pay me for a room instead.

      I'm white. No black man has ever stolen from me. But white people? Let's see, let's see, what color are like 98% of politicians and bankers? Hmmmm....

      • Let's see, let's see, what color are like 98% of politicians

        True, only 2 percent of the sitting U.S. Senate (Sens. Scott and Cowan) are black. But I count 42 black Representatives in the 113th House, making up 9.7%. And for the past twelve and a half years, the United States has had an African-American President or Secretary of State.

    • by alen (225700)

      too bad there are these things called records that can be subpoenaed. like people not paying taxes on ebay sales 10 years ago until the states started asking for these records and sharing the information with each other

    • by manu0601 (2221348)

      As government gets larger and larger, it needs more and more money to sustain itself.

      Perhaps your government's only goal is to sustain itself, but mine provides me services in education, healthcare, transports, and so on. It needs money to do that

    • The government can create all the money it needs out of thin air. Currently they're doing 85billion per month.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      Let's not even get into room owners picking and choosing clients. I've seen them proudly say that they check Facebook and such beforehand, only allow professionals and other clean people, etc. Yeah, what they really mean is "no Negroes". When the "sharing economy" is beyond the reach of government regulation, problems like this that society thought solved re-appear with disturbing frequency.

      So?

      You're house....your rules on who stays in your home. It is a private thing, not a public business.

  • by Nutria (679911) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:33PM (#44867577)

    Hyperbole, thy name is Forbes.

  • Cost/Benefit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Livius (318358) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:48PM (#44867719)

    Regulation does have its value. Civilization is better off when food, buildings, etc. are safe, and freeloaders are not cheating. There are risks associated with the unregulated enterprises. Still, even simple things like barter and sales of second-hand merchandise are important contributions to quality of life.

    But do the benefits outweigh the costs? That question doesn't get asked enough.

    Of course, sometimes 'economy' is just a euphemism for 'bank accounts of the already ultra-rich', which is what some economists seem to think.

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:57PM (#44867793)
    For better and most often worse the U.S. economy requires continuous economic growth in order to support it's debt-based structure. A $1.00 of debt today requires $1.03 of consumption next year otherwise the debt interest can't be serviced. This is why the Federal Reserve is so hell bent on preventing deflation, even going so far to say that a moderate amount of inflation is a "good thing". This fact is most critical for the U.S. Government itself since it is the largest issuer of debt in the economy. Sharing and frugality are incongruent with such a system so we'll see much more pushback if the sharing trend picks up steam.
    • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday September 16, 2013 @07:28PM (#44868045) Homepage

      even going so far to say that a moderate amount of inflation is a "good thing".

      Unless you believe that stuffing money into pickle jars and burying them in the yard produces wealth, a moderate amount of inflation is a good thing. It motivates investment over hording.

      • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday September 16, 2013 @07:36PM (#44868099)
        Money is supposed to represent a store of value earned by an economy's participants. Forcing those participants to spend or invest it under threat of confiscation by inflation is not only immoral but also ultimately counterproductive because it interferes with market forces and leads to malinvestment and unstable market prices.
        • by Wildclaw (15718)

          Money is supposed to represent a store of value earned by an economy's participants.

          Only in the mind of people who understand neither the origin nor general use of money. Money has historically been used successfully for trade and taxing.

          Meanwhile, all attempts at trying to turn money into a storage of value has has had dire consequences. The Euro simply being the latest in a bunch of total failures by people who are macro-economically illiterate.

      • Who the hell are you to motivate anything? Seriously? It's not your place to intentionally devalue the worth of OUR accumulated capital. People will invest when they feel like it. Stuffing money in pickle jars, and under the bed is perfectly reasonable. It's better than what it is now where people are quite frankly forced to put their money in growing investments, whether they want to or not. You think that hoarding is somehow deleterious to the economy? Just wait till you find out what short-term profit se
      • Because investment is historically such a great thing in our boom & bust cycle economy. Investing may make you money in the short term (if you happen to do so during a boom cycle) but those "busts" (1953, 1957, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1991, 2008) will probably wipe out most of your gains and in some cases a good chunk of the money you invested as well. All the forms of investment that insulate you (mostly) from losses don't even keep up with today's inflation.

        • by kwbauer (1677400)

          So my investing started about a year after the second to last bust you mention and I am still way ahead. I've looked back in history a few times to see howat the "average" investment in the market starting around the first bust and it is way up since then.

          Investing is very risky short-term and almost never risky long term if spread out so "all our eggs are not in one basket."

          XcepticZP said... "that's the problem with statists."

        • you don't think that's a problem? That you have to risk your money just to keep it?

        • So according to your little theory, we should be having lower living standards than we had in the year 1950. Somehow you'd be hard-pressed to find an indicator that would support that claim. Real income, life expectancy, literacy, access to sewage and electricity, child mortality, number of cars per capita, % of people above poverty line etc. All are higher now than in 1950 . Unemployment is probably the only indicator you could point to (7,6% as opposed to 5.3%) but general well-being - not by a mile!
    • by alen (225700) on Monday September 16, 2013 @08:12PM (#44868371)

      There is no such thing as a sharing economy. People renting out their assets and selling services as they have done for thousands of years

      Only difference is that tech is allowing individuals to cheaply advertise their wares. Unlike in the last hundred years where you had to pay a lot of money to newspapers and other media.

      Otherwise this so called sharing economy is just some marketing speak for stupid kids who eat this togetherness nonsense up. We had this small business and individual economy 100 years ago and corporations took over because they offer a consistent quality experience.

      • by kwbauer (1677400)

        But, just like with patents, its on the internet and 'puter so it must be a completely new idea.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Monday September 16, 2013 @07:24PM (#44868017)

    It's easy to be cheaper than the established players when you're not paying taxes.

  • Don't worry, a Charles Manson-like character will eventually come along and wake people up from their Hippy 2.0 daze as the rainbow and flowers take a shit on their face.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Monday September 16, 2013 @07:59PM (#44868265)

    Excessive consumption means big money for businesses. You can bet they will fight any changes in society tooth and nail. And they will not play nice. To them sharing is just another pinko-commie-socialist activity with evil advocates.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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