Friday, September 27, 2013

Peer-to-Peer Economy Thrives as Activists Vacate the System

Eric Blair
Activist Post

The Occupy Movement recently celebrated its second anniversary with very little fanfare leaving many to wonder where all the activists went. It seems they, and many anti-establishment activists, are vacating the system rather than occupying it.

Progressives may call it the "sharing economy" while Libertarians may refer to it as Agorism -  a "society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging in a manner with aspects of peaceful revolution."

Whatever it's called, together, they're opting out of the current socioeconomic matrix and creating a new alternative economy where trading occurs peer-to-peer and increasingly without government-issued currency.

It's a space where mutual trade occurs without burdensome taxes, regulations, or licenses. Simply put, it's an underground black market enabled by the Internet and regulated by social feedback mechanisms -- and it's growing exponentially.

Websites like Ebay and Craigslist first made it possible for individuals to sell things or offer services online. Then there was Elance to sell our skills and Freecycle to recycle unused items. And now there are new services that allow users to sublet their stuff; like AirBnB which allows you to rent out a room in your house, Lyft for car pooling or Relay Rides to rent out your car for an hour, or Snap Goods to rent out idle tools or anything else.

In addition to "sharing" stuff, people are shunning banks by using crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms for raising capital, and digital currencies like Bitcoin are enabling the under-the-table sale of a swelling number of goods and services.


It's also important to acknowledge the growth of passionate silver barterers, who exchange goods and services for silver coins, and the explosion of local food co-ops, which should be considered part of the same movement to opt out of the broken corporate-government system and they're similarly expanding due to the internet. Local Harvest allows small farmers to sell blueberry pies nationwide or pair up with local customers for cowshares or farmshares.

The Economist describes this movement as follows:
Just as peer-to-peer businesses like eBay allow anyone to become a retailer, sharing sites let individuals act as an ad hoc taxi service, car-hire firm or boutique hotel as and when it suits them. Just go online or download an app. The model works for items that are expensive to buy and are widely owned by people who do not make full use of them.

Tarun Wadhwa of the Singularity Hub writes "The growth of the "sharing economy," a loosely defined term generally referring to the internet-enabled peer-to-peer exchanges of goods, has brought with it a shift in the way we think about consumption. Its rise has been fast, and loud. What started with a few enterprising individuals willing to let complete strangers sleep in their homes and use their possessions has now developed into a formidable economic force that threatens to upend several different industries."

This new decentralized economic model is an obvious threat to the command-and-control economy.  It's shifting billions of dollars out from traditional industries undermining government regulation and tax collection. As such, governments are clamoring to regulate voluntary person-to-person barter.

Authorities claim that these services are in some way unsafe and must be regulated. Yet as the Economist video above explains, surprisingly few cases of fraud are reported.

What's more, Wired points out that reputation is replacing regulation in the peer-to-peer economy and is proving to be much more effective:
By making both product and trader quality instantly transparent, this approach reduces the risks that often lead to market failure. It also provides a first digital safeguard against much of what regulators aim to protect consumers from. 
After all, profit is a much more powerful driver for quality than regulatory compliance. If your last customer – one who has been vetted by others and has built reputation credibility – complains about the hygiene levels of your shared lodging, your future business prospects on Airbnb are pretty bleak.
The technology for transaction-by-transaction feedback from buyers and sellers provides more than enough trust for participants to be comfortable without oversight by government regulators. This fact makes any attempt by authorities to disturb this market seem protectionist or extortionist.

Sharing economy leaders are forming a lobby group called PEERS in an attempt to combat potential regulations:

The PEERS video above does a nice job explaining this new economy from a personal perspective, however the organization was founded by some establishment figures who are calling for "smart regulations".

Why do we need any regulations for volunteering at a garden cooperative or choosing the best childcare provider as recommended by our peers? Surely any possible dispute could be handled within the community or a civil court, right? Additionally AirBnB and Relay Rides offer insurance to mitigate foreseeable problems. As such, this market is rendering government regulations obsolete.

There may be many different motivations for those participating in this marketplace, but activists seem to all agree, as Buckminster Fuller said, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Recently by Eric Blair:
The Rigged Poker Hand That Obama Lost 
10 Signs The Global Elite Are Losing Control



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23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eric Blair wants to show his fancy language, so that we'll know he's High Class.

Translation for the peasants: "THe Dirty Masses have stopped using the $ and are in Trading Goods and Services.

Jim Ludwig said...

Very Important Article.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff ! let's make this world-wide. Gonna share this site with those downunder, they're itching to get something started like this and need ideas and this will do great wonders, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This isn't anything new. This is how "commerce' started and evolved into what is now known as fiat money. Even today- in this modern hi-tech world, many 3rd world countries have to do business this way for the reason of destruction of their economies usually done by the same suspects- the U.S. and U.K.

Sally Oh said...

Thank you -- great article! Just read an article yesterday about Greeks sharing dinner: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24163742. I love this movement!

RogerYoung said...

Glad to see the Occupier types are wising up.
The response to tyranny should be secession and disengagement, not beating on drums and doomed political involvement.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to post that I love this web site. I learn useful information, succinctly and simply presented. I always leave feeling inspired to keep on connecting with more like-minded people in my community. So...the next time you feel hopeless, pressing forward truth and justice, and you feel surrounded by apathetic zombies, take heart.
Life can change in an instant. Press on, compatriots of peace.

Anonymous said...

Amazing and very important article Yes we have been doing this for years but we didn't have the knowledge that we have today so with that said I think this is just what is needed we the people make the life we want and this is what I want~

Anonymous said...

we're going post industrial. hang on for the ride

Anonymous said...

Bitcoin Baby Baby!!! Bitcoin Baby Baby!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

www.brightneighbor.com - you can rent to and from, sell to and buy from, trade / barter, and lend / borrow from your neighbors.

Blogger said...

Sounds like promoting peer to peer Bitcoin, no?

Blogger said...

...forgot: "The Economist", a Rothschild outlet, is always kind of alert.

Joshua Daniels said...

This whole area is already addressed by the NeoVikings and Freeholders. Infrastructure, ecology, family life, etc. Check them out at www.NeoViking.com

Anonymous said...

In a completely transformed society where there is the availability of replacement of items, fine. We don't live in that world at this time. Personally, I have to live within the "costs" of depreciation of what I do have and "sharing" my car or whatever, though noble in principle, it entirely unrealistic in its application.

I still have to pay the currency of this f-ed up system for things that make having a car (for example) possible. If someone can share that responsibility significantly and conveniently then we can talk...someday.

Besides this, if I don't know the "sharer" I don't know what they may have planned for my car, tools, etc and what they plan to use them for. Bank robbery? Drug deals?, Murder?

I'd have to have way more faith in human beings that I do currently, from a lifetime of experience that supports the evidence to the extreme contrary.

Anonymous said...

"When all jobs are Taskrabbit jobs, how does anyone earn a living?" http://tomslee.net/2013/08/why-the-sharing-economy-isnt.html

Anonymous said...

no regulations?!!!
http://www.classism.org/destroying-labor-law-sharing-economy

Anonymous said...

This seems to be a boardwalk between 2 opposites - the dangerous and completly milsead anarcho-capitalism "After all, profit is a much more powerful driver for quality than regulatory compliance" (see this talk to see why that is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUtv5E6CkLE)
and a true sharing economy for following reasons:

"The tradition of personal property has become a staple of modern culture with little financial incentive in the long run to utilize a system of sharing or access. While a few examples of community sharing of commodities do exist in the modern day, the general ethic of “ownership” and the inherent value/investment characteristics of property itself make such approaches more costly in the long run by the user than to engage in direct purchase.

From the standpoint of market efficiency, this is a good thing, as the more direct purchases of goods, the better. Generally speaking, if 100 people wish to drive a car, having 100 people purchase those cars is more efficient for the market than if 100 people shared 20 cars in a system of strategically designed access, enabling utilization based on actual use time.

If we analyze patterns of actual use of any given good on average, many types of products are found to be used intermittently. Transport vehicles, recreational equipment, project equipment and various other genres of goods are commonly accessed at relatively distant intervals, making the task of ownership not only somewhat of an inconvenience given the need to store these items, but also clearly inefficient in the context of true economic integrity, which seeks a reduction of waste at all times.

Every year, countless books are borrowed virtually for free from libraries around the world and returned, not only saving an enormous amount of material resources over time, but also facilitating knowledge access to those who might otherwise have no means to obtain it. Yet, this practice is a rare exception in the market efficiency driven world today as clearly it is to the disadvantage of the market to have anything available without direct purchase on a per-person basis.

However, let's hypothetically extend this idea of the sharing of knowledge to the sharing (enabled access) of material goods. From the standpoint of market efficiency, it would be extremely inhibiting. While profit would still be generated in the Capitalist model by the loaning of items to people on the basis of their need, it would be enormously disproportionate when compared to the profit/consumption rates of a society based on separate, personal ownership of each good.

Yet, on the other hand, the technical efficiency would be profound. Not only would fewer resources need to be utilized (along with less labor power) since less of each good would need to be created to meet the use time of citizens, the availability of such goods could very well extend to many who otherwise would not have the ability to afford the purchase to begin with, only the “rental” fee (still assuming a market system). In this regard, the technical efficiency has two levels – environmental and social. From the environmental standpoint, a dramatic reduction of resource use; from the social standpoint (all things being equal), an increase in the access availability of such goods could also occur.

So, from the standpoint of technical efficiency, at the deep expense of market efficiency, a shared access rather than universal property oriented society would be exceptionally more sustainable and beneficial. Of course, such a practice would naturally challenge some deep value identifications common to the “propertied” culture today."

Juan said...

What people fail to realize is (global elite) and (new world order). the main focus would be "global" and "world" respectively. Like a surprising movie ending, the world is an stage.. there is no country vs country, politician vs politician and so on. Global politics work as one and for one purpose, to control perception. True democracy....... democrats vs republicans..... really, ether or.... Stop thinking small people, you are being played!!!

Anonymous said...

WARING
-Bitcoin - Under investigation in NYS-

OligarchyNot said...

In preparation for the economic collapse we are all still suffering the consequences of, I paid off and closed all but one of my charge cards (tired of paying over and over for goods that I don't even have any more) and I have been banking with my local credit union for the last 15 years. Where I live, we already have cooperatives of all sorts for food, goods and services; and people barter quite a bit. Of course, I can't remove myself totally from the capitalist world, but I want to become as self-sufficient and unbound to that system as I possibly can. I am currently unemployed, but Ideally, I don't want to be dependent on someone else to give me a job and then to arbitrarily take it away, so I am trying to come up with a way to make money without having to be employed by someone besides myself.

One thing that makes removing myself from this corrupt, destructive system easier is living in Little 5 Points in Atlanta, where I am (and have been for 35 years) surrounded by like-minded people. My credit union operates the way I wish banks would. When I recently had trouble paying my property taxes, they paid them for me and added the cost to my mortgage. The credit union has a new program where, if you're having trouble making a monthly car or other loan payment to the credit union, you can pay $25 and skip the payment for that month. They even made a friend's mortgage payment for him one month when he couldn't make it. I am secure in the knowledge that my credit union would bend over backwards to keep from foreclosing on my property. You'll never get that kind of service from a bank.

A sharing economy is the perfect answer to the needs of a failed economy. People don't have too much money these days, but they have lots of stuff they could rent or barter. And the less stuff we make, then maybe that pile of trash in the middle of the ocean the size of Texas won't become as large as the U.S.

Anonymous said...

I like the trend of recycling one's unwanted junk to another person. I even saw a post recently for a bottle return depots in Calgary. Someone was trying to help people who needed extra money out. I guess their son got in trouble so as his punishment he had to collect bottles and donate them to someone who could use the money. It was pretty cool actually.

michael e. v. knight said...

Let's make it a sharing world:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIo2etWlnDM&feature=player_embedded#at=126

After watching video come join us here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/224148967647327/

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