— Definition of Sharing Economy—


Sharing economy is an economic and social system which provides access to goods, services, data and knowledge. The system has various forms but information technology is essential to provide the access to the information that is necessary in order to distribute, share and recycle unused products and services.

The basic idea is that if an information about a good is shared, the value of that good increases. 


Field of application

Sharing economy embraces various structures, including structures like for-profit and non-profit and those that based on barter trade and sharing production. Compared to the form of individual ownership that is called "dysfunctional ownership", sharing economy provides more access to products, services and knowledge. In these diversified and developing structures, companies, governments and individulas all participate as active buyers, sellers, lenders and borrowers. The share-based supply is based on a value system which includes trust, transparency, transfer of economic power, creative self-expression, credibility, flexibility and nurturing human relationships. 


History

Sharing economy emerged as a new business structure in the 2000s and it was inspired by solving the problems due to community technologies, the growing population and the depletion of energy resources.

One source of inspiration was the tragedy of "individual possession", which means if we only act for our own interest those goods and materials will be depleted which are essential to our quality of life. Yochai BENKLER - a law professor at Harvard University and the first spokesman of open source software - believes that networking technology can relieve this problem by the concept of community-based social production.

An other inspiration was a statement which says that linear production and distribution systems are incompatible with the available finite resources.

In 2007, Annie Leonard declared in a video named "The Story of Stuff", that alternative solutions are becoming more and more necessary. A book titled "What's mine is yours" (2010), written by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers and a book titled "The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing written by Lisa Gansky promote the power of sharing economy and social activities to create new models for solving the problem of depleting resources worldwide and for developing social welfare and value systems. 

Structures

Sharing economy models evolved from our most ancient human instincts, cooperation, sharing of goods, generosity, individual choice and flexibility. Models include rental, barter trading, leasing, donation, exchange and forms of community ownerships such as agricultural cooperatives. The most popular models are based on the so-called "bilateral market" which is a market(place) where the information technology platform is developed and maintained by a third party but the platform itself allows the transaction of sharing economy activities.

Most of the structures based on sharing economy are created by a new technological connection.