The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My girlfriend and I used to have roommate in order to help pay our bills. In December of last year he decided to move and we were left with a financial gap that we needed to fill. As we have a friend who was hosting we decided to give it a try and it has been nothing short of a wonderful experience for us. We have met interesting people from China and Germany as well as travelers from within the US. Not only does Air BnB provide additional income for us it also adds to the local economy by: 1) Raising the taxable income of the households that choose to host for Air BnB.; 2) Providing a way for middle-class or young families to travel together in safety at an economical price. We live near the beach and a hotel here for 4 people would be out of reach of many families, especially one in a safe, quiet neighborhood like we have.; 3) By providing lodging at such an economical rate more money can be spent on local attractions or restaurants and entertainments.; 4) Staying in someone's home promotes a better understanding of other cultures and can enrich the lives of host and guests alike. We have had many conversations around our dinner table after either we or a guest has made dinner.; 5) By putting more money in the hands of people who live, work, shop, and play in the area more money stays in our local economy as opposed to being shifted to the coffers of a multi-national conglomerate to be doled out in ever decreasing amounts to low-wage workers.; 6) As hosts, we can control the amount of waste that is produced and the water and chemicals used for cleaning. Large hotels are because of the very nature of their business model forced to use harsh chemicals which can have negative impacts on the environment. All of these things are, in my opinion, reason enough to allow Air BnB to continue to function as it has since it's inception. But by far the biggest reason for me is that this is still America and what we choose to do with the empty spaces in our homes is our own concern. There is a long-standing tradition of private individuals taking boarders in this country. Especially when the economics of the times made it a necessity for some and a viable alternative for others. So I ask you not only to respect the past but to allow for the future.