Unravelling the controversies of the collaborative economy

Heloise Buckland (@HeloiseBuckland), researcher at the Institute for Social Innovation of ESADE, sustainability educator, social entrepreneur and co-founder of Barcelonya.

The collaborative economy has seen unprecedented and exponential growth over the last five years, disrupting traditional consumption, production, education and finance models on a global scale. These rapid changes have caused backlashes from traditional sectors that struggle to compete with the new players and are also being examined by governments, consumer associations and international institutions. The European Commission has undertaken a public consultation on the regulatory environment for software platforms, online intermediaries, data and cloud computing and the collaborative economy and will soon publish a series of guidelines for regulators. The UK government has also launched actions to deal with issues of trust and identity, insurance, digital inclusion and proposes a kite mark for responsible sharing.

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Who gets the money in this growing market? What is the value distribution and governance of the software platforms that generate value on the back of the social capital generated by their users? _____________________________________

In our next edition of the Antenna for Social Innovation (download last edition in pdf) we unravel some of the controversies that are emerging behind the glamour of this shift from the “me” to “we” heralded at the outset of this new economic era by Rachel Botsman and others in 2010.

Firstly who gets the money in this growing market? What is the value distribution and governance of the software platforms that generate value on the back of the social capital generated by their users? Secondly, we open the Pandora’s Box of regulatory and fiscal issues considering the dilemmas around if, how and when to regulate innovation.  Thirdly we look at the emerging precarious labour market of the micro-entrepreneurs who make the collaborative economy tick, who have been described as “employee-serfs” forgoing security, insurance and protection to serve a transaction free, on-demand economy. We then consider the consumer and the implications of living in an era of hyper-accountability and explore some recent controversies highlighted about the motivations of taking part in the collaborative economy.  Finally we pose the question as to whether the overall environmental impact is positive or not.

Alongside these hot topics there is also of course huge potential for disrupting the existing unsustainable patterns of consumption, production, finance and education.  With this in mind our next publication also includes 10 inspiring examples of genuinely collaborative sharing initiatives making a real difference to the diverse social and environmental challenges we face today.

 

 

 

 

 

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