The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
As a frequent participant in the sharing community, both as receiver and provider, I would like to offer my experience. Most importantly, I have to say that I questioned the sharing economy before I tried it. I thought it would hard for me to trust the strangers I was bringing into my home on a temporary basis. But the opposite has happened, and now I have found that my level of trust of the world population has increased tenfold. I have heard so many wonderful stories and met so many people who have a different perspective and who want to find out about the rest of the US, that this whole sharing community is not just about the economic benefits for me any more, but about meeting people. It is truly both about sharing and about community. Community--something that the internet at first was taking away from us, but now is bring back to our wide population. But on an economic basis, I was surprised by how much the sharing community provided me on both ends. My income, especially in the high-priced Southern California where I live, is lower middle class. I do own a home and I have a rental cottage on my property, so I understood how rental income can help me make ends meet, and help me to maintain my home. Because of the sharing community and what it provides as far as outreach and resources, I can rent a room in my house to make further ends meet. I would not be able to continue to live in the house I have for so many years taken care of and worked on with mine and my partner's hands. Our home is our pride and joy, our investment for retirement, and our it will provide more for us than our 401Ks or other retirement funds or social security ever would. In addition to our own economy, the sharing community has provided much business to our local village's restaurants and shops that would not normally receive out of towners. The restaurant owners and shopkeepers tell me how grateful they are that I refer their business to my guests. I could not rent a room out without the help of the internet provided services like airbnb as do not have the resources, nor would I want to have to deal with the bartering for money with my guests. That would make the experience unenjoyable. It would leave us without the friendly atmosphere that is currently why I like the sharing economy. As a traveler and participant I have also been able to enjoy my life more because I can maintain my home, but I can also afford to travel whether for business or pleasure and use the preferable in-home choices of airbnb and the Uber and Lyft transportation services. These services have opened many doors for me economically. I would not be spending my money if I had to use expensive and miserable taxi services and high priced unfriendly hotels. I spend more because I make more, but all at a price and comfort that suits a middle class American homeowner like me. Please help support the sharing economy and allow us to provide all the opportunities possible.