The sharing economy – on the rise?

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Cars are only used one hour a day, many houses have a room to spare and the lawnmover stands idle in the garage for weeks. Peer to peer sharing seems rational and creates a win-winsituation for everybody argues Emily Badger in the “Atlantic”. Articles in the “Economist” and by Tomio Geron in “Forbes” elaborate further examples.
 
The sharing of household appliances, cars, working spaces and rooms has significantly increased in the US. In particular the peer to peer rental of such assets seems to create benefits for all parties concerned: The lender saves on an investment, the renter makes some money with an underused asset and finally there are the internet platforms organizing the exchange for a fee. As far as cars and bicycles are concerned there is in addition an ecological incentive. Companies like AirBnB for shared housing or car-sharing operator Zipcar are regarded as the vanguard of a trend driven especially by the millenial generation which is turning away from the status symbols and life style of their parents.
 
From the British “bed and breakfast” to special heavy machinery, sharing goods or renting them for a short period of time has a long tradition. The current movement comprises successfully tested models like bike sharing and experimental approaches like kitchen and appliances sharing. If it is accurate to state that ownership of goods often implies their idleness, renting or lending them also has its risks and increased usage implies more wear. In addition, certain forms of rentals cannot be insured adequately. Bike-sharing is currently very successful in many European cities, after years and a lot of experimentation. Comparatively, it will need some time to find out how rental for other things can be put to an optimal use.