Sharing is Caring? Not quite. Some observations about “the sharing economy”
Fast evolving cloud-computing platforms that enable new business models, combined with a rapid uptake in digital technologies by consumers and a change in consumer behaviour and preferences have enabled the emergence of a so-called “sharing economy”. With new start-ups offering all kinds of services springing up every day, there was soon talk of the “Uber of everything” or “the uberification of the service economy” (figure 1).2 But these technology enabled business models also raise a number of questions, such as what are we really sharing in the ‘sharing’ economy, who participates in it, who benefits from it, what are the barriers and the risks, and does it offer growth opportunities for developing countries?