The Sharing Economy and Social Justice: Can Collaborative Consumption Advance Equity?

Sunday, June 8th, 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM
Room 320/322

From neighborhood tool libraries, to municipal bike shares, to multi-billion dollar online platforms like AirBNB, collaborative consumption is on the rise rapidly. Of course, there's nothing new about sharing but new technologies and cultural trends are making it increasingly easy to substitute access for ownership. The sustainability and community-building benefits of this shift, a departure from the culture of wasteful and isolating post-war consumerism, have been widely lauded. Nonetheless, in recent years, there have been a growing number of critiques leveled against the promise and practices of the sharing economy. Who has access to these platforms? Who profits? Who sets the rules? Do they really build authentic connection across race and class lines? What safeguards exist to protect workers, users, and communities? Answers differ radically depending on the specific platform in question but it's clear that some hold more promise than others. In this session, panelists will discuss the rapidly changing state of the sharing economy as well as ways in which collaborative consumption could be, and in some cases is starting to be, a truly transformative force for social and environmental justice.

Collaborative live notes: