by Nate Woods
Is sharing truly caring? Once incredibly fruitful companies like Airbnb and Uber seem to be making their descent from the towering apex where they once stood. Facing both external and internal law suits and protests, companies from the sharing economy are suffering from the faults inherent to the economic system.
Businesses following the sharing economy model opened doors for consumers to save time and money at the touch of a button. The question is: who suffers in this type of economy?
A study unveiled that 72% of Airbnb rentals in New York violated state and regional laws or zoning regulations.
The sharing economy’s tendency to clash with governments stems from evading normal taxation and stealing business from government-backed industries, like taxi services. Germany and other cities have banned Uber for these exact reasons. Governments also have a reason to fear for their economies as a whole. Increasing availability for low skill jobs, like driving and completing chores, are enticing to millennials. These options lead to an unskilled workforce that can fall behind an increasingly competitive world economy.
Even the contractors perpetuating the sharing economy are starting to realize it’s detriments to workers. Uber drivers have begun to rally around the desire to be considered employees rather than contractors. In addition to their approximated 20% income charge, Uber’s refusal to provide consistent wages, employment benefits, or money for gas has chipped away at the average driver’s salary. It’s been calculated that some drivers receive less than minimum wage for their services. Uber faces a difficult decision between conceding to these costly demands or risking employee numbers and morale. It seems that either option will reduce their previously astonishing profits.
Time will only tell if the sharing economy will become the caring economy – or the harming economy.