The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00398

Submission Number:
James Jensen
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Dear FTC Members, I feel very strongly about maintaining laws and regulations that would protect and preserve an open shared consumption economy. Allow me to share our experience with Airbnb: Two years ago, while completing my graduate studies in an extremely expensive part of the country, my wife became pregnant. We lived in a one-room cottage and once the baby was born my wife was unable to continue working. Airbnb was a life-saver for us at a time when money was scarce and I was trying to find work as a newly-graduated freelance editor. It allowed us to subsidize our rent during summer travels and without it, we would have been derailed from pursuing better long-term employment options in the interest of short-term monetary needs. We gladly paid an honest tax on those earnings as well. We have had dozens of nice people from around the world occupy our home while we are away and with the checks and balances involved in the rental application we have been able to vet each person to our satisfaction. Every experience has been a positive one and our neighbors have been equally supportive. We have also benefitted from using Airbnb on our travels -- allowing us to travel anywhere within the country comfortably and affordably with our baby. It has taken us to towns and cities we would have never been to otherwise -- meeting kind people all along the way. I'm a deep believer in the value of a shared consumer economy. Services like RelayRides, Uber, and Lyft are an integral part of my life and they allow us to use assets that would otherwise sit unused. Our society has an unsustainable addiction to consumption, buying more and more things in a continued attempt to worship the god of GDP -- often at the expense of our happiness and the environment. Shared consumption is one small way of reducing this consumer footprint and meeting our needs as a society. Please make this a priority and don't push for protectionist measures meant to maintain the status quo. If it means creating reasonable regulations to keep shared consumption in check and honest, then I'm sure there are laws that can meet those needs while still keeping the shared consumer economy free and open. Most sincerely, Christian, Lanée & baby Whitman Jensen