The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
As a frequent traveler, when I realized I could rent out my home through Airbnb, it made an amazing impact on my life. I used to take about one trip every month or two to visit family or just to getaway, now I can take two or three trips a month, and Airbnb income pays the bill! Not only is my home now making me money, but it's also filled with people instead of taking up useless space when I'm gone. I feel strongly that the sharing economy is a great equalizer in the world of capitalism. It allows anyone to make money with the things they already own, rather than leaving that money in the hands of the already rich and powerful. I truly believe in the way that the sharing economy can subsidize my income, provide personal experiences for anyone who uses it, and open up our world. After all, we were all taught in kindergarten that sharing is good - why is it any different now? Renting my house is great for our economy. The hotels in Austin are still packed (ask anyone), someone gets a place to stay for a little less, so they can spend more money in the area, and I get to have more money to pay my bills and travel. I also use the money to make updates to my house (since Airbnb, I've added a sleeper sofa to one room, installed a new microwave, painted a few rooms, etc.). I am legally certified by the city to rent out my house and I pay my taxes. I wish everyone would follow the same rules, and if they did we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Please don't let a few rule breakers ruin a good thing for everyone else - that's the price of freedom, isn't it? There will always be rule breakers, but punish the individual, not everyone, not our very economy. I enjoy the feeling of being my own little "business" with my beautiful home. Every person who has ever stayed here has left a note in my guest book saying they loved my house - what a rewarding feeling to be able to share what I love with someone else! Yes, the peer-to-peer market is just a little man next to big business, but please remember who you truly support. You truly support the 99 percent of Americans who would love to supplement their income and also partake in this as customers - meeting other people and paying less for services and goods. This is capitalism, this is freedom. This is the reason we love America.