The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
The sharing economy is the wave of the future. When the recession hit, families all over the U.S. nearly lost everything they had worked for. I was in that category. I saved for years to start my own company. A month after I left my job to start my own company, the economy tanked, and boy did it hit hard. I watched my savings and my dreams crumble at the blink of an eye. At the time, I had two roommates who were also helping me build my business. Within months, one roommate lost her job and had to move out. At the time my mortgage company refused to refinance my home because I was an entrepreneur. Though I was already making steep payments, they still refused to refinance my home to allow for lower payments. Like anyone would, I had to do what I had to do. I had to share my home with friends, extended family and random strangers along the way. To ensure that I could at least have health insurance, I decided to enlist in the military part-time as well. Within the last year, I discovered Airbnb and listed my home. The verification process, reviews and the worry-free transaction process made it that much better. I only rent/share my home when I need to, and it has allowed me to take care of my mother who is now battling cancer a fourth time. There are many ways to make money in today's sharing economy and it also allows smaller communities to benefit from the tourism industry. Everybody doesn't want to stay within the city limits when they travel to new places. Airbnb alone has helped small businesses in smaller communities get discovered just by having guests stay nearby. It has provided medical students (who tend to be my typical guests) an opportunity to not get locked into steep rates and to live closer to their clinics. I've noticed that people who are a part of the sharing economy make more friends, have better personable skills, and are happier with their lives. Everyone wins and it is bringing people together. I am still connected with my previous guests and I now have friends from all around the world. Additionally, I also know people who have been able to save their homes by becoming an Uber driver. The face of business has changed and now everyone can benefit. A person just has to decide to be open to learning how to work well with others. The sharing economy is now the people's economy. Times are changing and this is only the beginning. A government that supports the advancement of all people, will be the government of a truly united nation. I think it's great! Thank you for asking what "we the people" actually think about this amazing shift in how people are living their lives and creating their own American dream.