Sharing economy does not have a solid definition at the moment. It is organized around a technology platform that makes it very easy to exchange services or goods. Airnb allows you to rent a room or a house, while Uber allows you to get or share a ride. You are in contact directly with the owner (in this case, of the room or car) through a smartphone application. The company is only an intermediary, a marketplace between seller and customer.
Workers for these kinds of companies are not considered employees, but independent contractors. This is the biggest legal difference between other companies that is causing so many people to dislike sharing economy. The company transfers many of the risks and responsibilities to the worker and the customer.
Sharing companies like Uber or Airnb have grown greatly in the last few years, being 2013 their best. They offer flexibility and choice to their workers, with possibility of part time work. The problem is that the income is never guaranteed, there are no worker protections, no benefits aside from the variable income, no risk protection, and many other problems.
Many propositions tried to put restrictions on these companies, but they are fighting back against them. Some of the retractions include taxes for the housing rentals for Airnb and the will to end the denial of benefits to the workers of Uber.
This will not stop sharing economy. For the customer, it is way more comfortable in most cases. You only need to have internet connection and a smartphone to start. The interface is user friendly and anyone can have access to it. No restrictions, no complications, it’s just plain very easy to use.
When sharing economy was introduced, it caused a similar effect back when e-commerce was starting to grow. Most people were afraid to try it, because they thought it was mostly fraudulent. But comfortable services always find their way to success, and so is doing sharing economy. Nowadays, most people shop online, using e-commerce as almost the only way to shopping way, because it is really convenient and easy. You don’t even have to get out of your home to get the package.
The negative part about sharing economy is that legislation is taking a lot of time to catch up with all the issues it currently has. Uber still pays and treats their employees in a poor way, denying them the right of benefits that any regular worker has. There should be new laws to address this important matter, because Uber will still expand and many more people will face the issue in the near future.
Some countries had many protests for banning shared economies. Uber, for example, was recently attacked by many taxi companies, because they stated this company was completely taking away the jobs of thousands of taxi drivers all over the world. The economy will have to adapt to those ongoing changes, because it’s only growing stronger. Hopefully, a good way to ensure everyone is still working properly is established soon.