Thinking more about yesterday’s post, does anyone really think that someone who grew up with this sort of thing will stop and say, “Why, yes, Mr. Big Government, I *do* trust you with my personal protection, so I don’t need a gun for myself.”
Wired: The Shared Economy
The sharing economy has come on so quickly and powerfully that regulators and economists are still grappling to understand its impact. But one consequence is already clear: Many of these companies have us engaging in behaviors that would have seemed unthinkably foolhardy as recently as five years ago. We are hopping into strangers’ cars (Lyft, Sidecar, Uber), welcoming them into our spare rooms (Airbnb), dropping our dogs off at their houses (DogVacay, Rover), and eating food in their dining rooms (Feastly). We are letting them rent our cars (RelayRides, Getaround), our boats (Boatbound), our houses (HomeAway), and our power tools (Zilok). We are entrusting complete strangers with our most valuable possessions, our personal experiences—and our very lives. In the process, we are entering a new era of Internet-enabled intimacy.
This is not just an economic breakthrough. It is a cultural one, enabled by a sophisticated series of mechanisms, algorithms, and finely calibrated systems of rewards and punishments. It’s a radical next step for the person-to-person marketplace pioneered by eBay: a set of digital tools that enable and encourage us to trust our fellow human beings.
I’d argue that it started before eBay: Ever since the glory days of BBS’s (kids, ask your parents about those), we’ve been deciding what personal info we will and will not share with peers and strangers online, so moving into sharing our possessions is the next logical step.
What happens when people decide to band together and volunteer to protect each other? Was the Zimmerman trail about “stand your ground”, or was it about the concept of an armed neighborhood watch? What if a company decided to “loan” trained, bonded and insured CCW holders out as personal security? Sure, you say, isn’t that what
mall cops security guards do right now?
Yes, in just the same way that Uber does what taxis do, but Uber is flourishing, and the taxi companies are using big government to fight back. What happens when personal and neighborhood security gets the Uber treatment?
The shared economy started because cost/benefit ratio for taxis, tool rentals and all those other services was not in the consumer’s favor. The .gov may try to ban things like Uber and AirBnB, but as the saying goes, the Internet treats censorship like damage and routes around it.
(Shared) power to the people, y’all.