The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
While the Great Recession has mostly faded to the background, the consequences of the recession are here to stay - namely the so-called Sharing Economy. Whether middle class Americans shared their homes via Airbnb, their cars via Uber or Lyft, or their skills and services (such as house sitting and auto repair) via U-Exchange to make ends meet, millions of hardworking citizens found the ability to generate additional revenue a true blessing. As a self-employed divorcee in rural Virginia, renting out my house on Airbnb meant the difference between making my mortgage payments and foreclosure and becoming homeless. In addition to providing necessary income, my experience with Airbnb has broadened my horizons and introduced me to new friends from all over the world - Oregon, Texas, Israel and Sweden, to name just a few. Honestly, I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything, as I've gained additional skills and knowledge relating to the hospitality industry and customer service. The only true downside to the sharing economy is that it opened the door for local governments to overstep their authority, attempting to ban homeowners from renting out their homes, as I found out firsthand after a year of county harassment and legal bills. As the issues stemming from the Sharing Economy continue to gain traction at the national level, my only hope is that the federal and state governments intervene and prevent local governments - such as my own here in Warren County - from taking away homeowners' right to make a living in the home sharing economy.