MARKET COMMENTARY

When Sharing Goes Global

Today’s sharing economy is having a growing impact and challenging traditional notions of private ownership. See, for instance, how sharing a room has become big business.

01.01.2017 - Fiduciary Trust Canada

When Sharing Goes Global

Learning to share is one of those basic life lessons you learn as a child, whether it is with a sibling or a friend down the street. So what does that same concept look like when applied on a broader scale in 2017?

Today’s sharing economy is defined as “a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human, physical and intellectual resources.”1 The language associated with this kind of sharing includes familiar words like recycling, reusing and co-operatives, and newer terms like peer-to-peer lending, gig economy and crowdfunding. Whichever way you look at this business movement, it is rapidly growing and challenging traditional notions of private ownership.

In the 1990s, companies like eBay and Kijiji led the way without making too many waves2. Today, companies like Airbnb and Uber are redefining industries. In the eyes of the U.S. Department of Commerce, sharing economy firms are really digital matching firms with a few common characteristics such as using technology to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions, relying on user-based rating systems for quality control, having the ability to offer workers flexible working hours, and typically involving workers using their own property.

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1. Benita Matofska, “What is the Sharing Economy?” thepeoplewhoshare, Revised September 1, 2016, http://thepeoplewhoshare.com/blog/what-is-the-sharing-economy.
2. Tx Zhuo, “Airbnb and Uber Are Just the Beginning. What’s Next for the Sharing Economy?” The Entrepreneur, March 25, 2015, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244192.


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