The new sharing economy is both innovative yet primitive in its true origins. While the idea of trading, bartering or simply going to neighbors for goods and services is not new, the emergence of online resources in the 21st century to share with each other is a whole new ball game. While “shared economy” can take many forms, its most popular designations are currently crowdfunding, peer-to-peer travel and accommodation and trading websites. The explosion of the sharing economy only continues to resonate throughout our culture, with more people than ever eschewing traditional commerce and opting instead for a more personal option.
There are many benefits of a sharing economy, from reduced carbon footprints to increase reusing and recycling. Individuals from across the world are taking opportunities to share with each other and perhaps becoming entrepreneurs by offering unused bedrooms, tools or cars. While the growing number of average Joe’s competing with their services irks some industries, many financial analysts believe that the sharing economy will overall be a good thing in the coming years. Arun Sundararajan, a New York University economist who studies the sharing economy, told a January congressional hearing that “this transition will have a positive impact on economic growth and welfare, by stimulating new consumption, by raising productivity, and by catalyzing individual innovation and entrepreneurship.”