Why The Collaborative Economy Is Changing Everything? You may have heard of the collaborative or sharing economy – the concept is quite simple. Consumers are able to get what they need from each other instead of always going to large organizations. This includes good such as baby toys and wedding dresses to services such as web design work or ride sharing.
It’s true, that the terms “sharing” or “collaborative economy” are being quite overused to encompass pretty much any and every single thing you think of, and that causes a lot of confusion. For example many of the things that fall under the sharing economy are what we used to simply call “renting,” now it seems as though any business that is aiming to target a consumer of any kind somehow gets labeled as being a part of the “sharing economy.” However overtime this will be ironed out and clarified as the market matures.
“The sharing economy (sometimes also referred to as the peer-to-peer economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations.
These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services. A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community”.
The revenue flowing through the share economy directly into people’s wallets will surpass $3.5 billion this year, with growth exceeding 25%. At that rate, peer-to-peer sharing is moving from an income boost in a stagnant wage market into a disruptive economic force.” – Forbes Jan. 2013
Collaborative economy and its impact on social inclusion
Collaborative economy, also known as sharing economy is a relatively modern type of peer-to-peer economic arrangement that can help people from different types of groups, share their expenses, be socially included and even make profit out of the arrangement.
Sharing economy, started as an idea to simply help people minimize their expenses on a daily basis, by performing the same actions, only cheaper. Transportation was one of the very first things to change, through sharing economy. Carpooling services, like the BlaBlaCar, started to connect people that needed cheaper transportation, with people that could provide it. So after a while, hundreds of drivers with empty seats found a way to minimize gas expenses and even make some profit by sharing their car with others in exchange for transportation.
At the same time, people without a car, minimized their transportation cost by literarily sharing a ride to wherever they wanted to go. Carpooling is a very accurate and specific example of putting sharing economy to good use.
Another great example of this socio-economic phenomenon is peer-to-peer accommodation. Sharing a room or a house that you are not using but do not want to permanently rent, became a lot easier with the idea of sharing economy. A standard example is AirBnB, a platform that allows people to find and rent rooms, apartments or even entire houses for a much lower price.
But exactly how is it that, the phenomenon of sharing economy is helping people, apart from making profit, either by gaining money or saving them? How does it helps them get socially included? And how is it helping people in vulnerable groups be a much more active part of the society and the labour market?
Try to imagine a person from one of the most common vulnerable groups, the elderly. After a certain age, it is not easy for people to get back into the labour market no matter how much they need to. By owning a house or even a spare room and sharing it for a price, that person will be able to make some money and, in a way, get back into the labour market.
Now try to imagine the same person not owning a car or not having the ability to drive anymore. Getting from one place to the other with public transportation might be cheaper but it is not easy for people of a certain age. Sharing a ride, will not only be easier as well as cheaper for them but it will also help them come into contact with other people and become an active member of the society once again.
Of course the elderly are just one of the many vulnerable groups that have a lot to gain from sharing economy. Migrants can use it to make some money as well as get socially included. Disabled people can get into the labour market by using collaborative economy and be a much more active part of the local society.
The sharing/collaborative economy phenomenon is not just a new trend. It is a new type of economy that keeps evolving and developing every single day. Making profit, saving money and becoming socially active by simply sharing a car seat or a spare room or any other type of service, can definitely signify a new order of things in the economy. An order that seems to be very promising for social inclusion and social economy all around the world.