The concept of a sharing economy can be defined as an economic framework wherein individuals and collectives engage in collaborative practices to share products and resources, resulting in the transformation of tangible assets into service-oriented entities. The expansion of the sharing economy has been enabled by advancements in big data and online platforms. (Sharing Economy, n.d.)
The concepts of “sharing economy,” “collaborative consumption,” and “peer-to-peer economy” are frequently employed to describe the practices of individuals sharing access to underutilized goods and services with their peers. The practice of sharing resources for mutual gain has been observed across various cultures worldwide for ages. The aforementioned occurrence underscores the significance of utilization and availability as opposed to possession (Schurz & Fitzmaurice, 2015). The sharing economy has a strong intellectual foundation that originates from the disciplines of lifestyle and social movement, consumption patterns, and the concept of sharing. (Cheng, 2016).
Although it should not be undermined that concepts of shared economy facilitated by digital platforms had transformed the conventional dynamics of ownership and economics. Therefore, the rapid growth of this phenomena had risen many important questions like whether or not these shared economic platforms are exploitative?
We will review the positive and counterarguments by discussing pros and cons of it in this essay before jumping on any conclusion.
The sharing economy, which is propelled by the collaborative development of digital platforms and resources, has fundamentally reshaped conventional ownership patterns and economic dynamics, thereby impacting employment, sustainability, and quality of life.
Collaborative development is something that is very important and benefits us in multiple domains, for example, with the help of this strategy, multiple people benefits.
The recent exploding growth of SE is closely connected to social-economic factors that aim to improve the supply chain’s value distribution (Gansky, 2010). Furthermore, SE reduces the ecological impacts, enhances technology, and ultimately changes users’ attitudes toward product ownership and the need for social connection (Botsman and Rogers, 2010).
History of Shared Economy:
One of the first instances of the sharing economy may be traced back to early human societies, where a system of barter was employed. This system facilitated the exchange of products and services in the absence of monetary transactions. As an illustration, an individual proficient in the art of hunting may engage in a barter system whereby they exchange a portion of their acquired meat in return for the provision of shelter by another individual. The heightened dependence on mass production engendered a more depersonalized economy, concurrently yielding a substantial surplus of trash. The advent of the industrial revolution brought about a significant transformation in the methods of resource production and consumption.
PROS AND CONS OF SHARED ECONOMIC PLATFORMS
In contemporary times, individuals are not restricted to the conventional practice of working within a regular office environment on a daily basis as a means of augmenting their financial resources. One has the opportunity to engage in many employment opportunities through online platforms, enabling individuals to work remotely from any location, provided that an internet connection is available. In order to engage with colleagues, it is not necessary to have in-person interactions. Multiple internet applications can be utilized.
The demand and supply of platforms, such as freelancing, originate from diverse geographical regions spanning many countries. As a result of this phenomenon, the market has experienced an increase in competitiveness.
Let’s discuss further the positive and negative impacts of shared economy through digitized platforms to get a better perspective.
Some of the major aspects where these digitized economic platforms had impacted the most are:
EMPLOYMENT: if positive outcomes are to be discussed then increase in working opportunities and flexibility in working hours are among top advantages as employees had become more available to potential employers as per their needs also it had empowered workforce hence negating exploitation of labor class.
The major negative impact that must be discussed is that there is lots of unequal bargain system involved now between the worker and platforms that often lead to zero outcome hence lots of time goes in vain.
To avoid all these negative outcomes there must be regulatory check and balance system to ensure a fair labor practices as well as strike a healthy balance between flexibility and rights of workers.
SUSTAINABILITY TO THE ENVIRONMENT: it is an essential component of shared economy and needs to be addressed cautiously in order to gain maximum positive outcome and negate its disadvantages. On the positive side, shared economy can positively impact by reducing waste thorough resource sharing and endorsing ecological consumption patterns. By allowing many users to share single resource, it reduces the use of new production thereby reducing waste generation. Nevertheless, there are counter arguments that may suggest that resource sharing may also lead to increased resource consumption due to over production.
However, to reconcile these arguments there are more viable practices that could be encouraged, which include suggesting users and platform to adopt eco-friendlier practices such as sustainable sourcing for shared goods. Also strict check and balance should be imposed in order to maintain environmental sustainability.
QUALITY OF LIFE: it should be placed among highest priority whenever evaluating the impact of shared economy is concerned. If the positive aspect had to be discussed it could be undoubtedly stated that shared economy had enhanced access to services and goods for entities and individuals thus offering convenience and cost savings. Trust building and community bonds had been strengthened due to peer to peer involvement and shared experiences.While the negative outcome is that it had impacted local and small scale traditional patterns of businesses, as the rise in shared large platforms had diverted people and communities from traditional small businesses hence causing job losses and resulted as an increase in unemployment.The suggested reconciliation way to address these perspectives should be being to encourage local and small businesses by helping and educating them to adopt changed customer perspectives and preferences.
MONOPOLY OF PLATFORM: although this may be considered as a positive outcome by concentrating the power on fewer platforms may offer efficacy and convenience to consumers while investing in them yet it could be stated as negative outcome because this concentration can lead to power abuse, exploitation of data and market manipulation. These platforms can sometimes become more authoritative and cause burden because of their monopoly that could be raised due to lack of competition. This issue could be reconciled by giving a fair competition and regular check by implementing antitrust measures and data protection regulations to strike a fair and regulated competition.
GOVERNMENT REGULATION: the role of government checks and regulation is pivotal in shaping the future of shared economy. The positive aspects of these regulations are defense of worker’s rights, ensuring consumer’s safety and promoting healthy and fair competition and taxation. However, the counter arguments that critics present suggest that strict and excessive regulations may slow down the process of evolution of new platforms. Hence, to reconcile these negative outcomes it is necessary to adopt regulations with unique characteristics that could work well with these newly evolving shared economic platforms. This could be done by collaborative efforts of government authorities and stakeholders of these platforms, which could be helpful in fostering innovation while safeguarding workers as well as consumers’ rights.
In conclusion the debate surrounding the positive and negative outcomes of shared economic platforms is multifaceted, while the shared platforms had opened doors to multiple job openings and newer opportunities, sustainability promotion and enhanced resources it had also raised questions regarding consumer’s rights, workers’ rights and data privacy as well.
The path forward lies in maintaining a healthy balance by collaboration of policy makers and businesses. It is imperative to foster a trust worthy relationship between consumers and platform stake holders with the helpful of thoughtful regulatory checks and regulations.
Ultimately the shared economic platforms possess immense potential to benefit society, provided it is curated with a strong sense of social responsibility by navigating through the complexities of this debate with foresight. It could be harnessed meticulously for its positive impacts thus by minimizing the negative effects it could leave on small scale businesses or by exploiting and breeching consumers’ trust and data privacy.
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