The Sharing Economy’s Dirty Laundry
Sharing economy companies like Uber and Airbnb aren’t helping local economies — they’re just helping themselves.
The two companies were busy with more than raising cash however. In 2015 they intensified their lobbying, PR, and customer mobilization efforts to create a regulatory landscape that embraces their business needs. One of the most potent arrows in the companies’ lobbying quiver is that legislators and the public can be swayed by the apparent inevitability of a technology-driven future: “Don’t be left behind!” is a clarion call that few can resist.
Sharing-economy platforms are built on a combination of algorithms and “big data.” Every ride, every rental, every click is recorded; along with ratings, payments, and other data. Airbnb hosts are measured by the time it takes for them to respond to requests, Uber drivers by the routes they take.