Empowerment or Exploitation? The Double-Edged Sword of the Sharing Economy.

Edited by: Litian Yao, Tingxuan Zhao, Xinyu Liu, Yinuo Wang

File:Uber taxi in Tomsk 01.jpg

The gig economy, epitomized by platforms like Uber and TaskRabbit, has been celebrated by Silicon Valley and Wall Street, promising income opportunities for individuals. However, the reality often falls short of the hype. Many gig workers struggle to earn decent wages, with median incomes well below advertised figures. Moreover, as independent contractors, they face financial risks and lack essential protections like workers’ compensation and minimum wage. While gig economy companies profit by sidestepping these responsibilities, workers may not fully grasp the financial implications, such as tax obligations. The gig economy’s uncertain and potentially exploitative nature raises concerns and underscores the need for greater worker protection and regulation.


Airbnb, a titan in the sharing economy, has faced criticism but also boasts tremendous positive impacts on local economies worldwide. While detractors highlight challenges with tax and regulations, Airbnb’s studies suggest the platform promotes local tourism and supports small businesses. Most Airbnb listings fall outside major hotel districts, offering travelers authentic experiences while boosting local economies. Moreover, Airbnb hosts benefit financially, with many relying on this income to maintain their homes. The platform fosters entrepreneurial growth, with hosts acquiring vital business skills. Additionally, many established property management agencies have embraced Airbnb, fostering job creation. Overall, Airbnb enriches economies, promotes cultural understanding, and supports diverse communities.

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iGMS. (2019, March 29). Sharing is Caring: The Positive Influence of the Airbnb Sharing Economy. Medium. https://medium.com/@airgms/sharing-is-caring-the-positive-influence-of-the-airbnb-sharing-economy-61671d83e5e3

Sherman, E. (2015, August 4). Uber, TaskRabbit and sharing economy giveth to workers, but also taketh away. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2015/08/04/the-sharing-economy-giveth-to-workers-but-boy-can-it-taketh-away/?sh=1c7bdbda3ead