Jean Lievens: Denise Cheng at Harvard Business Review on Peer Economy Transformation of Work

Crowd-Sourcing, Design, Economics/True Cost, Innovation, P2P / Panarchy
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

The Peer Economy Will Transform Work (or at Least How We Think of It)

Denise Cheng

You can’t avoid peer-to-peer marketplaces. For transportation and housing, look no further than Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. Skillshare and TaskRabbit are tackling education and task completion. Etsy and Shapeways have created handmade and fabrication marketplaces. They all facilitate integration into the economy without the need to secure employment from a large company.

Instead, the growing peer economy enables people to monetize skills and assets they already have. Vendors and providers on these platforms choose when to work, what to do and where to do it, sidestepping traditional constraints of geography and scheduling. Investors, advocacy groups and companies tout its apparent advantages, including a greater sense of solidarity through peer-to-peer commerce and reduction in carbon footprint through access to products and services instead of ownership.

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Peer economy providers are also vulnerable but with a crucial factor that makes all the difference: They are a visible workforce, able to make these collective interests heard.

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