The sharing economy is growing exponentially, but what, exactly, is it growing into? Libby Peake investigates.
"The reason the world has been in a social, environmental and economic crisis is because the system we had is completely and entirely flawed. The whole idea that you’ve got £3.5 trillion in idle resources, and then you’ve got 40,000 people dying each day because they’ve got no access to food, water and shelter, makes no sense whatsoever.”
I’m talking to Benita Matofska, ‘Chief Sharer’ at Compare and Share, a comparison marketplace for things like accommodation, transport and food, who thinks that the solution to many of the world’s problems lies in the ‘sharing economy’. Matofska explains the concept, also known as ‘collaborative consumption’ as “an economic system built around the sharing of human, physical and intellectual resources”. She adds: “What makes the sharing economy different is that it has at its heart people and planet... Simply put, it’s an efficient system built for sharing – cars, property, utilities, skills, jobs, knowledge, resources. And what the sharing economy does is it promotes access over ownership. So you access the things that you need. You pay for what you use, not for what you don’t.” Perhaps more simply, it’s a system that “uses technology to connect surplus to demand”.