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The Sharing Economy Fights Back Against Regulators

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the you're-not-the-boss-of-me dept.

Social Networks 192

An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the advocacy group "Peers". The group says their goal is to “mainstream, protect, and grow the sharing economy.” "The growth of the 'sharing economy,' a loosely defined term generally referring to the internet-enabled peer-to-peer exchanges of goods, has brought with it a shift in the way we think about consumption. Its rise has been fast, and loud. What started with a few enterprising individuals willing to let complete strangers sleep in their homes and use their possessions has now developed into a formidable economic force that threatens to upend several different industries. Along the way, it has posed some major legal challenges. The companies that are pushing it forward have continually undermined local ordinances, consumer safeguards, and protectionist regulations alike. As a result, governments around the country are trying to reign them in. That’s where Silicon Valley’s newest advocacy group comes in."

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Likly (-1, Offtopic)

parks123 (3103887) | about a year ago | (#44867349)

Eli. although Barry`s postlng is astonishing... yesterday I picked up a new Maserati from having made $6422 thiss month and would you believe, 10/k last munth. it's definitly my favourite work I have ever done. I started this 6 months ago and right away began to earn more than $77... per/hr. linked here......... www.jam30.com

Reminds me of Food Trucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867417)

They pay no rent or utilities and generally park in front of or near busy areas already covered by existing restaurants, adhere to different safety standards. They swoop in, scoop up money and split, leaving existing local businesses struggling in the aftermath.

Some people really jerk off to trendy BS like ride sharing, but I'd rather pay for a cab that has to adhere to safety standards and background checks than get in some weirdo's jalopy.

If you trust humanity you'll end up paying for it, every time.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44867465)

The food trucks park in public, they have to adhere to normal regulations and are a far better method for many downtown areas. Why use up valuable real estate for a restaurant people will only be in for a few hours a day? Ride sharing seems fine to me, cars have to be inspected for a reason.

If you really believe that about most people you are a sad husk of a man.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867499)

fyi - car inspections are a thing of the past in many states....

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44867539)

Food trucks may or may not be registered and inspected. That driver sharing with you might be this one [findlaw.com] . Still feel safe?

That Driver Could Be Your Mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867877)

Good Lord, Gr8Apes, how far are you willing to stretch your wire to whup up a pseudo-scare for the imbecilic (the only ones who will gasp and say "Oh, God, Yes, What IF???" to such a yo-yo pull from beyond left-field)? For your information, in case you should ever take your courage in your teeth, don an absorbent garment and step out into the real world to ride-share, the normal drill, that every professional driving-instructor knows, and everyone else should know, and refresh recall of every time they get in a car with they suspect might have drunk more than he or she remembers, is to reach over and turn the ignition key off (counter-clockwise one click [to kill the engine, but not lock the steering]) as soon as anything looking hairy begins. In real life there is not always a cop to call to jump from his motorcycle through your passenger window and do this for you, so, in real life you sometimes have to do things for yourself.

Re:That Driver Could Be Your Mom (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44868929)

That one is extreme, but she's hardly alone. The point is that taxi drivers, no matter how bad they might be, are regulated a whole lot more than the rest of us. Btw, that's cute - turning a key... so 1990s.

Re:That Driver Could Be Your Mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44869289)

I worked at a tire/repair shop for a few years and I HATE taxi's. They are by far the worst maintained vehicles on the road. They take some of the worst abuse a vehicle will ever see (endless city traffic, long & hot duty cycles, tons of idling, etc) and almost all of them seem to be maintained with the mantra of "whatever will get me back on the road with a minimal expense". Some of the scariest stuff I'd ever seen roll into a shop were taxi's. Half of them should not have been on the road, and we would tell them so - they never listened nor cared. Busted suspension components, brakes worn down to the rivets, mismatched tire sets (and I don't mean tread, I mean tire SIZES), rubber so bald it was damn near translucent, and the oil changes... if there's a shade darker than midnight black, it's the inside of an oil pan on a taxi.

This is all anecdotal experience of course, but personally I rate 'riding in a taxi' in the same category as 'juggling loaded firearms while blindfolded' and 'swimming in shark infested waters with raw chicken tied to my ankles'

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (3, Informative)

yurtinus (1590157) | about a year ago | (#44868247)

Where do you live that food trucks might not be registered and inspected? They are licensed with the city they operate in just like any other food-service business.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about a year ago | (#44868697)

I don't know why but I feel the need to correct you here. "They are supposed to be licensed with the city they operate in just like any other food-service business." Supposed to be is a key modifier there. You really have no way of knowing if they are or the license thing they show isn't a forgery. I suppose you could go to the health department and check but that sounds like a lot of trouble for a taco and soda.

Also, as I have found in my state, if any city or county health department passed you and gives you a license, it is good anywhere in the state.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

MatthewCCNA (1405885) | about a year ago | (#44869145)

Our food trucks have the same dine safe (colour coded sign with date and any inspection warnings issued) display requirements that our non-portable eating spaces have.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44869353)

That tidbit could have been useful and/or interesting if you'd mentioned WHERE that is the case.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44868941)

I'd be happy if the restaurants are inspected regularly. Food trucks? Seriously? I take much care where I get my food from, thank you.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44867571)

If you really believe that about most people you are a sad husk of a man.

Reality isnt pretty, nor are most people. I would put forth that anyone who doesnt think they are capable of truly horrific things, hasnt truly examined the state of their own heart and their capacity for justifying just about anything.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (2)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#44867773)

Others of us have, and decided we will resist such temptations, large and small, and speak out against abuses. We call ourselves christians, Buddhists, secular humanists, jedi, whatever. Basically, people who have decided to not be dicks.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (3, Interesting)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44868329)

Others of us have, and decided we will resist such temptations, large and small, and speak out against abuses. We call ourselves christians, Buddhists, secular humanists, jedi, whatever. Basically, people who have decided to not be dicks.

I prefer the term "ethical" as it covers the specific individuals that act that way, without including the unethical asshats that also happen to use the other terms for themselves.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44869063)

Its odd you'd bring Christians up; Im one myself, and last time I checked one of the core doctrines was the fallen nature of man:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%203:10-19&version=NIV [biblegateway.com]

All have turned away,
        they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
        not even one.”[a]
13 “Their throats are open graves;
        their tongues practice deceit.

You could argue that Christianity gets it wrong, but this is perhaps the most obviously true of all christian doctrines: All you have to do is open your history book, flip to a random page, and read about how man's feet are "swift to shed blood".

"Deciding to be better people" is utopian nonsense. People can try to do better, and should try to do good; but the notion that that is sufficient to make people "good" -- in the face of all the evil in the world-- is nonsense.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44867625)

The food trucks park in public, they have to adhere to normal regulations and are a far better method for many downtown areas.

Food trucks take up public parking spaces, and they are free to leave the area when an inspector shows up, avoiding any regulations that they don't feel like complying with. They pay no property taxes to support the infrastructure (like the parking space they use). They can show up for an hour a day, just to service the lunch hour crowd and then vanish when the customers do, having poached from fixed businesses enough to make a profit.

The brick and mortar (as opposed to tin and rubber) business has permanent employees, pays income and employment and property taxes, draws people to a downtown, and cannot easily flee to avoid whatever rules they don't want to comply with. The owner has risked his money and a large amount of his time building a business and depends on the customers, and is unable to simply park in a different lot a few blocks away if things don't go well, or to get away from a predatory roach wagon that is sucking his business away.

That they are a "far better method" is an unsupported opinion.

Why use up valuable real estate for a restaurant people will only be in for a few hours a day?

Why use up valuable real estate for a computer store that people will only be in for a few hours a day? Why use up valuable real estate for an office that people will only be in a few hours a day? Why use up valuable real estate for a house that people will be in only a few hours a day? Why use up valuable real estate for a school that people will be in only a few hours a day? How does the time someone is in a building change anything?

Ride sharing seems fine to me, cars have to be inspected for a reason.

Not where I've lived. Yes, there are reasons some should be inspected, but they don't have to be.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44867941)

The issue of enforcing standards is a serious one.

It's also easily corrected. Pass a law that states the following:
1. Food inspectors may arrive without notice, in plain clothes.
2. Upon arrival, inspectors may compel mobile business owners to remain stationary for a period of up to fifteen minutes to permit inspection (How long can inspecting a one-room business take?)
3. Inspectors may pose as customers to purchase sample product.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44868183)

The issue of enforcing standards is a serious one.

It's also easily corrected. Pass a law that states the following:
1. Food inspectors may arrive without notice, in plain clothes.
2. Upon arrival, inspectors may compel mobile business owners to remain stationary for a period of up to fifteen minutes to permit inspection (How long can inspecting a one-room business take?)
3. Inspectors may pose as customers to purchase sample product.

4. Require both the business license and the health dept inspection certificate to be publicly displayed in a conspicuous location, so any informed customer can phone in a violation. Note: Nearly all jurisdictions already do this. Next time you are in a restaurant or at a food truck, look for the permits, and you will see them 99% of the time, often taped to a side wall or sometimes on the ceiling. Before I buy from a food cart, I check, and the only time I didn't see the permits was an ice cream hand cart. But I didn't care since everything he was selling was pre-packaged anyway.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (5, Interesting)

yurtinus (1590157) | about a year ago | (#44868315)

Maybe you live in a weird place... maybe you just don't know how food trucks work. In my town (in wild west Nevada) food trucks fall under the same guidelines as restaurants. In fact, the majority of food preparation must be done in an inspected and licensed commercial kitchen - not in the truck itself. The trucks and kitchens are both inspected by the health department - and contrary to what seems to be popular slashdot belief, it is really quite easy to track down a food truck if it's known to be out of compliance. They're bit, and slow, and have logos and adverts printed on the side. They're registered as food service businesses just like a restaurant paying all the same taxes. On top of all that, they have additional regulations on where they can park. So sure, you can open a restaurant next door to an existing one, but you can't park your food truck in front of the bar next door to an existing restaurant (at least, not in my city).

I wouldn't go so far as to say they are a "far better method" than a regular restaurant, but they serve a niche and are far from the robber barons you guys are trying to portray them as.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44868805)

Tennessee requires street vendors and food trucks to comply with all food-related regulations and laws--licenses, taxes, inspections, safety, etc. Food Trucks collect and forward sales tax to the state and local governments. Food Trucks pay road taxes (license tags, gas taxes).

At out city's "downtown" area, a seat in a restaurant is a 45 minutes wait on a Saturday. A Food Truck means that food can actually be purchased and eaten in the same 45 minutes. Plus, Food Trucks, of various sorts, have been used on construction sites every place that I have lived. It's nice to be able to buy an apple or banana to supplement the dull sandwich from home. They also help people earn a living and stay off the dole. They also train people for working at other jobs.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44869067)

Maybe you live in a weird place... maybe you just don't know how food trucks work. In my town (in wild west Nevada)

Maybe you live in the weird place. Yes, it would seem so.

In fact, the majority of food preparation must be done in an inspected and licensed commercial kitchen - not in the truck itself.

The next time you walk up to a mobile taco truck, remind yourself as you see them making your taco in front of your eyes that they've made the taco in a licensed commercial kitchen. That the sound of the frying hamburger patty coming from inside the burger-mobile is just a tape loop for ambiance and the actual hamburger you're getting was cooked in a licensed commercial kitchen somewhere.

and contrary to what seems to be popular slashdot belief, it is really quite easy to track down a food truck if it's known to be out of compliance.

An inspector comes across a truck parked at location A. (There are so many inspectors this is likely to happen?) He does an inspection, finds problems. (While he's doing this, the other two trucks parked nearby close up and drive away, avoiding the inspector altogether.) "You have 30 days to fix this..." The next day that truck is ten miles away, open for business. You say it's "quite easy" to find the truck after it's driven away. I'd like to know your magic; I am a SAR volunteer and we'd love to know the trick for finding someone who doesn't want to be found. You could probably make a fortune as a repo man, finding the cars that the deadbeats aren't paying the loans on since it is so easy to find vehicles.

They're registered as food service businesses just like a restaurant paying all the same taxes.

Just how do they allocate a share of property taxes to a vehicle that is parked someplace for two hours a day? Economic development district fees?

So sure, you can open a restaurant next door to an existing one,

It costs a LOT of money to open a brick and mortar anything, much less a restaurant. While you're busy opening that operation, the city will be lining up to inspect it. If you forget to have the inspectors (building and health, both) come by, your neighbor will be happy to schedule appointments with the city on your behalf. If you walk away from the site to avoid legal issues, you leave behind the hundred thousand dollars or so in equipment and improvements you've made.

On the other hand, I can buy an old food vendor truck for a LOT less money, keep it in my garage while I outfit it, and then park it someplace and be open for business with zero notice to anyone. Not many people are going to look for a business license or health certification posted anywhere, and if they do they won't be able to detect the ones I have as forgeries. Every customer I draw from a legit business is lost profit for him, and tomorrow I may be a dozen miles away doing the same thing to someone else. And the only thing I lose while avoiding the law is ... a tank of gas.

As for the guy who posted the comment about inspectors buying food undercover, I'll just say that it takes a LOT more than buying a taco from a mobile vendor to do a real health inspection on his operation. You may be able to see the sink where employees are required to wash their hands, but you won't know that there is no running water or that the drain is clogged with grease and dead rats. You won't be able to measure the temperature of the hot food containers, or the temperature of the refrigerator.

but they serve a niche and are far from the robber barons you guys are trying to portray them as.

I'm not trying to portray them as robber barons. Unfair and lacking the same kind of controls that a real restaurant has, yes.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

mmell (832646) | about a year ago | (#44867497)

Sure - because we all know what safe, courteous, careful drivers virtually all cabbies are - and all thanks to Government oversight and monitoring.

But never mind - anything which could allow the riff-raff from the gutters to save a little dough, maybe climb out of the gutter, we need to put a stop to that. Can't have 'em catching up to me (now that I'm no longer giving plasma to get food).

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (5, Interesting)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about a year ago | (#44867511)

Oh my god, people are doing things I wouldn't do! I demand men in uniforms be sent to make them stop, through the use of physical violence if necessary! I'm just not prepared to live in a world where everyone isn't forced to be exactly like me.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#44867543)

My kingdom, my kingdom for some mod points!

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867739)

So do you take strawmen with you everywhere or just whip 'em out for Slashdot?

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44868781)

Whether you like it or not, that's what he was implying.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1, Interesting)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#44867529)

Where do you live, that food trucks are so predatory? The vast majority of food trucks I've seen hang out around office parks at lunchtime and bars at night. In both situations, they're stealing customers really only from fast food chains and sandwich shops, the targets of people who want a quick lunch or late-night drunk food. It's not like people go to a food truck to get a quality meal.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (4, Informative)

neminem (561346) | about a year ago | (#44867677)

I wouldn't say "predatory", and I would even agree that food trucks and permanent-location restaurants generally fulfill different niches, but I would argue against your statement that people don't "go to a food truck to get a quality meal". At least around here, these days people generally go to a food truck to get generally-overpriced hipsterish fusion silliness, the same sort of food they'd get from, for instance, a gastropub minus the booze. Food is often (though admittedly not always) indeed quite fantastic, just almost always also overpriced. Totally different from the pre-2000s roach coach type food truck concept.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | about a year ago | (#44868333)

I'm with you on this one. When food trucks come by my office, we swarm it because it's better than the Del Taco within walking distance. If we worked downtown where there are real restaurants, we wouldn't be so excited for them. All that said, I've never had a meal from a food truck that I couldn't get cheaper (or better) at a comparable restaurant. We pay for the convenience. Nothing wrong with that.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44867545)

They swoop in, scoop up money and split, leaving existing local businesses struggling in the aftermath.

Ugh. We must have read different stories on food trucks. You're either jealous or wearing pink glasses. Neither is good for objectivity.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867565)

Some people really jerk off to trendy BS like ride sharing, but I'd rather pay for a cab that has to adhere to safety standards and background checks than get in some weirdo's jalopy.

The funny thing is, cab companies have no reputation checks, but shared cab services like Lyft DO! Conventional cabs have no feedback system and the drivers can be horrible smelly weirdos and there is no system in place to prevent it. You simply can't do this with Lyft, because drivers actually DO get real reviews and get quite easily banned from the system.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867597)

[Food trucks] pay no rent or utilities

Well, of course not. After all, land owners never charge anyone to set up businesses on their property. And as everyone knows, food trucks all have Mr. Fusions to power their cooking equipment, and are staffed by magical elves who can create water out of thin air.

Or you're an idiot. One of those.

Re:Reminds me of Food Trucks (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44867689)

If you trust humanity you'll end up paying for it, every time.

The same goes if you trust nobody. On this approach, you have two major choices:
* don't share. You'll lose nothing but opportunities/potential (of which some others may derive value)
* share under strict risk control. This control is going to cost you each and every time.

Rein, not reign (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867455)

You rein them in, you don't reign them in. They're horses, not kings.

Race to the Bottom (4, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44867489)

The "Sharing Economy" is a race to the bottom. The people engaged are selling time and use of the only things they have left (houses, cars, and their personal time) for money to people still working because they cannot find a job that pays enough. It's people hanging onto a shard of what they used to have while renting out the rest. This can only implode, and the faster it grows, the bigger the implosion will be.

The predictions of the 40s and 50s about the future are coming true - robotics will do most menial labor, people will have more free time, except that free time is not evenly divided up among the population. There's the group working 80-120 hour weeks, and the unemployed or sub 20 hours per week minimum wage slave. That will continue until there are not enough consumers to support the people working, and then more layoffs ensue, until we're back in the serfdom and squalor of a good middle ages city with a wealthy elite and beggars and almost no one else in between.

OK, maybe that's a little extreme and apocalyptic view of the future, but where we're going is somewhere between now and there unless some major things change. Automation will remove more manual labor and service type jobs going forward, and there really won't be anything replacing it.

Re:Race to the Bottom (5, Insightful)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year ago | (#44867555)

wait... so efficiently exchanging resources will lead to destruction? What school of economics is that from?

Re:Race to the Bottom (2, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44867595)

Nothing is being created. Did you even read TFA's (I'll wait for the roar of laughter to die down) on what these supposed sharing economy traits are? I did, and several other stories about the phenomenon besides that were stated earlier. In each case of "success" it's people making money off what they already own. It's the rich person living in a row house splitting the levels into apartments and renting them out and living in the basement with the proceeds of the rent. Or the person with a car working as a taxi driver for the day to make his car and gas payments while trying to have a real job. It's not a positive statement.

Re:Race to the Bottom (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44867801)

Nothing is being created.

The whole "service industry" and "financial sector" (banks, stock market, etc) don't actually "create" anything, the just make value available or "provide maintenance" (like "health care" or "car service") or a simple vanitous waste (from haute couture to nail polishing/hair dressing).
How's "sharing economy" ilegitimate from this perspective?

Did you even read TFA's (I'll wait for the roar of laughter to die down) on what these supposed sharing economy traits are? I did, and several other stories about the phenomenon besides that were stated earlier. In each case of "success" it's people making money off what they already own. It's the rich person living in a row house splitting the levels into apartments and renting them out and living in the basement with the proceeds of the rent. Or the person with a car working as a taxi driver for the day to make his car and gas payments while trying to have a real job. It's not a positive statement.

Do you equate "value creation" to "having a real job"?

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44868621)

Do you equate "value creation" to "having a real job"?

I sure don't. Driving a car, or preparing meals could be considered more value creation than what I do. It's the circumstances surrounding what these people do. I could be a door man, paid by a hotel to open doors and greet people. Or I could be a homeless bum that gets a bottle for opening the door for a day, replaceable by the poor sap sitting on the curb down the street pining for a bottle. One is a profession, the other is merely doing what they can to get by. Same basic effect - the door is opened when I walk up.

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44868967)

Do you equate "value creation" to "having a real job"?

I sure don't. Driving a car, or preparing meals could be considered more value creation than what I do. It's the circumstances surrounding what these people do. I could be a door man, paid by a hotel to open doors and greet people. Or I could be a homeless bum that gets a bottle for opening the door for a day, replaceable by the poor sap sitting on the curb down the street pining for a bottle. One is a profession, the other is merely doing what they can to get by. Same basic effect - the door is opened when I walk up.

So, what's wrong with "sharing industry" then?
Other than "everybody in the sharing system is replaceable", you say the same value is being created.

Re:Race to the Bottom (2)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year ago | (#44868445)

What do you mean nothing was created? I have something you need something I give you what you need for an agreed upon price.The thing I have was produced and the need for it gives it value. That is all that is necessary and like C0lo said, it is what the entire service industry and Banking industry is based on.

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44868587)

Yes, but if I'm giving up something of mine (e.g. 80% of my house) then the process is not creating anything for me. That's the situation these people are in. They didn't invest in a hotel or multi-family unit to rent out a portion, they're cutting up what they had to preserve a small piece for themselves. That's cannibalization.

Re:Race to the Bottom (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#44868713)

I can let you crash at my place and build up rep and then crash at someone else's house. I may even "make a LOT of money" this way by being able to crash at seven or eight people's houses.

Or I can exchange an hour of my time to get "money" which I use give to someone to stay at their hotel for a night. In some way- -the money I give them is supposed to circulate around the economy and get back to me.

So at the root, a large part of the current economy is really indirect, camouflaged barter. We are exchanging an hour of work at accounting for two hours of work mowing lawns.

There is a good meme for this. It's the sudden realization guy, "Wow- I really trade hours of my life for things- not money".

The automation could be a *good* thing if we share the wealth. There will always be rare things which everyone can't have but a basic level of prosperity could be shared by everyone and then only the rare things take extra money.

There's a kernel of a true idea in what you are saying- but I think you are also missing something about the concept of money and hours of your life.

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#44868909)

Star Trek's utopian view of the universe is one potential outcome, which is very much in line with your "share the wealth". You see none of that now, and the current trend is to share less. Government needs to be out of everything, smaller government, etc. See the huge backlash at anything approaching universal healthcare. So, who's going to share the wealth? Everything going on today in the US is about carving out that little section of wealth for an individual and hanging onto it as long as possible, since getting more is almost impossible for most, much like it's been for much of civilization's history.

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year ago | (#44868737)

you get money for some of your space being temporarily used. What do you need to create? that is like saying the guys who get $20 per car in the dirt lot near the stadium are getting nothing out of the transaction.

Re:Race to the Bottom (1, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44867743)

The Cynic school, which teaches that inefficiency, overhead and waste are vital economic elements in creating demand for labor.

Re:Race to the Bottom (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867821)

so efficiently exchanging resources will lead to destruction? What school of economics is that from?

From the school of hard knocks, which pre-dates the study of economics by several thousand years. The biggest, baddest tribes efficiently exchanged resources until the biggest baddest tribal leaders became kings. They then maintained a good solid hold on power by incorporating the local religion into some variation on the divine right of kings. It's only in the past couple hundred years or so that the West exposed that all as bullshit. The Dalai Lama had a good thing going along those lines in the 20th century; not to say that it was any of China's business to be the ones to break it.

Re:Race to the Bottom (2)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year ago | (#44868429)

WTF does that have anything to do with this conversation?

Re:Race to the Bottom (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44867851)

I've been predicting this for a long time. A lot of armchair economists are. Yet curiously, no professional economists ever mention the scenario.

I'm not much inclined to trust the economist profession. Their recent track record has been terrible, and there seems to be nothing even approaching concensus on some very fundamental policy issues.

The obvious way it could be averted naturally would be for reduced cost to lead to increased consumption - that's how we avoided that outcome from the industrial revolution: Simply by rising standards of living to the point where luxuries became taken for granted. Hot and cold running water, exotic foods, daily bathing, an endless parade of toys and appliances, and the rise of disposeable goods. But still, there must be some limit to how far this policy can go - we're already at the point where people throw out clothes for a tiny hole because buying new is cheaper than the time needed to sew it up. Plus the environmental impact would be terrible.

Re:Race to the Bottom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44868011)

because buying new is cheaper than the time needed to sew it up

It took me 15 minutes to sew a button back on a pair of pants the other day, and thanks to youtube I seem to have done a competent job of it. Even at my middle class salary, that cost less than buying a new pair.

The real issue is that people don't know how to fix it without making it look like shit. If people quit judging others based on how they look, that wouldn't matter to so many people, but I'm betting you wouldn't choose to try to apply for a job in patchwork clothes if you had another garment available.

Re:Race to the Bottom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44868567)

Middle class salary means 25 an hour, about $50k a year. And that's entry level middle class. The full range is approximately $50k to $250k.

To call yourself middle of the road middle class you should be earning around $125k a year, or about $62 an hour.

At $60 an hour you make a dollar a minute and a cheap pair of pants equatable to a pair with a patched hole sells at Walmart for about $15. If it took you are mid-middle class and it took you 15 minutes to patch your pants then you've broken even with the cost to replace and have a pair of pants with a patched hole in them instead of a new pair. Congratulations.

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44869453)

Middle class salary means 25 an hour, about $50k a year. And that's entry level middle class. The full range is approximately $50k to $250k.

To call yourself middle of the road middle class you should be earning around $125k a year, or about $62 an hour.

At $60 an hour you make a dollar a minute and a cheap pair of pants equatable to a pair with a patched hole sells at Walmart for about $15.

1. If he's mid-middle class, he probably doesn't wear "a cheap pair of pants". Conversely, if he's the sort of "middle class" who would be wearing $15 Walmart pants, he's making rather less than $60/hr. You don't get to have it both ways.
2. There's no "patched hole" to equate, since he said he sewed a button back on. If done well with the correct thread color, this repair is visually undetectable.

So now he has his $30 pants looking as good as they did before the button came off, and only spent $15 of time to do it? Sounds reasonable...

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

XcepticZP (1331217) | about a year ago | (#44868453)

I've been predicting this for a long time. A lot of armchair economists are. Yet curiously, no professional economists ever mention the scenario.

I'm not much inclined to trust the economist profession. Their recent track record has been terrible, and there seems to be nothing even approaching concensus on some very fundamental policy issues.

Then you're listening to the wrong economists. There are many economists out there, from different schools of thought that have predicted a lot of what's going on around us. Sadly, all you're exposed to is what the mainstream media currently deems worthy. You seem like a smart fellow, look it up, research. You may find that there are others out there that share your economic beliefs, some may even be economists that have thought these things out.

Re:Race to the Bottom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44868177)

Like my neighbor who is disabled because a bad relationship left her mentally ... something, has all the time in the world to level bogus complaints that force me to take time off work to go to court?

Re:Race to the Bottom (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44868283)

Soylent Green crackers available in 3...2...1...

Not so fast (4, Informative)

caffeine_high (974351) | about a year ago | (#44867493)

This has been going on for at least 60 years. HomeLink [homelink.org] and Intervac have been around since 1953, using printed books at arrange person to person swaps long before the internet.

Re:Not so fast (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#44867761)

Shhhh. This does not fit the narrative.

Sharing economy = can't tax them (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44867547)

That's the major problem, eh? Can't tax it, can't regulate it. As government gets larger and larger, it needs more and more money to sustain itself. It seeks out new forms of revenue from wherever it finds weakness. Renting out your spare bedroom in New York City causes a lot of losses. No bed tax (in NYC it's something like 20%, or used to be when I worked in hotels), no income tax for the housekeeping staff, no sales tax from the gift shop, etc.

Let's not even get into room owners picking and choosing clients. I've seen them proudly say that they check Facebook and such beforehand, only allow professionals and other clean people, etc. Yeah, what they really mean is "no Negroes". When the "sharing economy" is beyond the reach of government regulation, problems like this that society thought solved re-appear with disturbing frequency.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (2)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44867647)

Let's not even get into room owners picking and choosing clients. I've seen them proudly say that they check Facebook and such beforehand, only allow professionals and other clean people, etc. Yeah, what they really mean is "no Negroes". When the "sharing economy" is beyond the reach of government regulation, problems like this that society thought solved re-appear with disturbing frequency.

Please. Racism isn't a solved problem. There is still racism today, and government regulation actually ends up prolonging it via racist programs such as affirmative action, which literally forces people to treat others differently based on what race they are.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#44867799)

You can solve a problem without it being perfect, or complete. Racism existing does not counter the argument that the racism problem has been solved.

But I agree, government regulation does nothing to help racism.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44868159)

No, I meant the problem of hotels picking and choosing their customers. It hasn't been that way for a long time, and now it's making a comeback with these "rent my spare bedroom in NYC" services.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (2)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44868469)

Oh I gotcha. I don't see why this is an issue, though. In fact I would say it is progress.

If I think somebody is suspicious then I don't want to be forced to rent my room to them. If I think people look suspicious because of their skin color then I will lose out on their business. Now, let's say we live in a racist society where a good amount of people don't like people of a certain skin color and thus don't rent rooms to them. What this means is that people who aren't racist will be able to charge them more because there is less supply for them. Is this a bad thing? No, this is actually great, because now there's economic incentive to not be a racist - if you're not a racist, you will get more money for serving people who are unfairly discriminated against.

The net result is that racists will be less successful at business and eventually be replaced by non-racist business owners. Thus the problem solves itself, without institutionalizing racism as does government regulation.

The only problem with this is if you think it's appalling for people to be able to choose whom they serve and at what price, which to me rather seems like a very basic freedom that should not be restricted.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44868691)

Unless you're someone who is a target of that racism... you just get to pay more. Hopefully to a person that isn't racist and not just motivated for more profit.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44868889)

You get to pay more, until the market adjusts, which it will. Then there's no racism. Which is better than having a regulation that forces people to pay equally when they don't want to, which will increase resentment and thus perpetuate racism.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#44869127)

FYI... you are talking about our reality to someone who is living in their own reality where markets have never worked and planned economies have always worked flawlessly.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44869267)

Oh I had not taken into consideration the possibility of the other's reality - good tip. What is his reality and why have markets never worked and how have planned economies worked flawlessly in that reality?

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

zarthrag (650912) | about a year ago | (#44868791)

You're basically saying I should pay more simply because I'm black. ... ....fuck you.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44868873)

No... I'm saying it's a good thing to have a market where there it is profitable to not be a racist. Because people will do what is profitable. Thus there will be less racists. Which is a good thing cause racism is stupid and a plague on our society.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44868797)

The net result is that racists will be less successful at business and eventually be replaced by non-racist business owners.

You are assuming that the business environment is not a mirror of the culture and vice versa. In other words, those racist business owners will exist in a direct proportion to the number of racist clients, and can thus fill the niche market of "housing where you won't sleep in a bed that was slept in by 'those people'". They can, thus, charge more for their product because the clients will pay more for that product. Smart business people will notice a glut in the market of "non-racist" housing and the concomitant lack of racist rooms (with the associated premium price) and begin to offer that product, even if they are normally non-racist. Kind of like people who smoke like a chimney running hotels with non-smoking rooms.

which to me rather seems like a very basic freedom that should not be restricted.

The freedom of free association implies a freedom FROM association, as well.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44868935)

You are assuming that the business environment is not a mirror of the culture and vice versa. In other words, those racist business owners will exist in a direct proportion to the number of racist clients, and can thus fill the niche market of "housing where you won't sleep in a bed that was slept in by 'those people'". They can, thus, charge more for their product because the clients will pay more for that product. Smart business people will notice a glut in the market of "non-racist" housing and the concomitant lack of racist rooms (with the associated premium price) and begin to offer that product, even if they are normally non-racist. Kind of like people who smoke like a chimney running hotels with non-smoking rooms.

Hmm. I suppose there would be a market force in that direction as well. But then it would be more expensive to be a racist - and people really like not spending money when they don't have to. Perhaps I am naive but I think it would ultimately end in non-racism.

The freedom of free association implies a freedom FROM association, as well.

I don't follow - could you rephrase?

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#44869151)

Hmm. I suppose there would be a market force in that direction as well. But then it would be more expensive to be a racist - and people really like not spending money when they don't have to.

People buy BMWs when they don't have to. They feel they get value for the money. You wouldn't be much of a racist if you didn't think it was worth $10 a night extra so you could sleep in a bed that wasn't slept in by the wrong kinds of people, would you? The entire hospitality industry is based on selling people things they don't really need, isn't it? "Would you like fries with that"? Well, if I needed fries I'd have ordered them to start with. "I can offer you a king-sized bed for just $20 more a night..." Enterprise rent-a-car always asks if I want to upgrade to a luxury car when I rent a compact from them. Comcast repeatedly tries to upsell me to Xfinity voice, even when I'm calling them to report a complete cable outage.

I don't follow - could you rephrase?

I was pointing out as an addition to your statement about the freedom you mentioned that the freedom of free association (1st Amendment) implies a freedom NOT to associate with people you don't want to. Being free to associate with some people I like only if I accept having to associate with ones I don't isn't much of a freedom, is it?

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44868809)

Please. Racism isn't a solved problem.

Racism is more than one problem, and some of those problems have been solved.

Racism that is legally required is difficult to oppose, but it was abolished in law a long time ago. Racism that is systemic and socially acceptable has largely, though not wholly, disappeared. The racism that is left is still racism, and it's still wrong, but it's mostly a fringe belief that has to be buried under a different, objective, phenomenon such as poverty or a broad statistical phenomenon such as ethnic identity or culture.

Most - not all, but most - racism has been eliminated, and we're reaching the point where it gets harder to know what to do about it - how do you fight something that is rapidly vanishing on its own, and where interventions are ineffective or counter-productive?

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#44867745)

Yeah, what they really mean is "no Negroes".

How fortunate we are to have a long distance and temporal mind reader on SlashDot.

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (2)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#44867839)

That would be great for my AirBnB efforts. I encourage all of you racists to refuse service to negros, so they will come pay me for a room instead.

I'm white. No black man has ever stolen from me. But white people? Let's see, let's see, what color are like 98% of politicians and bankers? Hmmmm....

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44869421)

Oh ho ho, look how racist you are. You've just got to say whites are better at everything!

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44867841)

too bad there are these things called records that can be subpoenaed. like people not paying taxes on ebay sales 10 years ago until the states started asking for these records and sharing the information with each other

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867861)

So blacks aren't professional?

Racist!

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#44868877)

As government gets larger and larger, it needs more and more money to sustain itself.

Perhaps your government's only goal is to sustain itself, but mine provides me services in education, healthcare, transports, and so on. It needs money to do that

Re:Sharing economy = can't tax them (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about a year ago | (#44869695)

My government keeps adding to its list. I'm not sure it's a coincidence that this also happens to expand its power and reach.

Flower Power is IN, man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867561)

Just ask Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman, the profits of this whole movement.

*slaps forehead* Prophets of the movement. Prophets.

now developed into a formidable economic force (3, Funny)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#44867577)

Hyperbole, thy name is Forbes.

no "sharing economy" exists (0)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year ago | (#44867663)

Feckin-A bullshit! NO significant fraction of Americans share their property with pandering parasite strangers. A power-mad Gub'mnt  extorts property for redistribution to cronys , and cosmopolitan vote-herders pimp churches, social groups and a vagrant mass to multiply their own power.  Nice feckin-A shared economy.

Cost/Benefit (3, Interesting)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44867719)

Regulation does have its value. Civilization is better off when food, buildings, etc. are safe, and freeloaders are not cheating. There are risks associated with the unregulated enterprises. Still, even simple things like barter and sales of second-hand merchandise are important contributions to quality of life.

But do the benefits outweigh the costs? That question doesn't get asked enough.

Of course, sometimes 'economy' is just a euphemism for 'bank accounts of the already ultra-rich', which is what some economists seem to think.

Re:Cost/Benefit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44868819)

Enter Craigslist! Second hand has become the first winner lately.

mod Do3n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44867757)

collect any 5pilled

Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (5, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44867793)

For better and most often worse the U.S. economy requires continuous economic growth in order to support it's debt-based structure. A $1.00 of debt today requires $1.03 of consumption next year otherwise the debt interest can't be serviced. This is why the Federal Reserve is so hell bent on preventing deflation, even going so far to say that a moderate amount of inflation is a "good thing". This fact is most critical for the U.S. Government itself since it is the largest issuer of debt in the economy. Sharing and frugality are incongruent with such a system so we'll see much more pushback if the sharing trend picks up steam.

Re:Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (3, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#44868045)

even going so far to say that a moderate amount of inflation is a "good thing".

Unless you believe that stuffing money into pickle jars and burying them in the yard produces wealth, a moderate amount of inflation is a good thing. It motivates investment over hording.

Re:Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (4, Interesting)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44868099)

Money is supposed to represent a store of value earned by an economy's participants. Forcing those participants to spend or invest it under threat of confiscation by inflation is not only immoral but also ultimately counterproductive because it interferes with market forces and leads to malinvestment and unstable market prices.

Re:Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (1)

XcepticZP (1331217) | about a year ago | (#44868205)

Who the hell are you to motivate anything? Seriously? It's not your place to intentionally devalue the worth of OUR accumulated capital. People will invest when they feel like it. Stuffing money in pickle jars, and under the bed is perfectly reasonable. It's better than what it is now where people are quite frankly forced to put their money in growing investments, whether they want to or not. You think that hoarding is somehow deleterious to the economy? Just wait till you find out what short-term profit seeking will do to people. Because that is exactly what inflation forces people to do; to grow and get profit, at any means necessary.

That's the problem with statists. They really have a bit of a know-it-all attitude when it comes to _other_ peoples' money. Just leave it be, and if you wish, you can damn well stimulate the economy with your own damn money. But leave the rest of us out of it.

End of rant.

Re:Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year ago | (#44868343)

Because investment is historically such a great thing in our boom & bust cycle economy. Investing may make you money in the short term (if you happen to do so during a boom cycle) but those "busts" (1953, 1957, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1991, 2008) will probably wipe out most of your gains and in some cases a good chunk of the money you invested as well. All the forms of investment that insulate you (mostly) from losses don't even keep up with today's inflation.

Re:Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#44869169)

So my investing started about a year after the second to last bust you mention and I am still way ahead. I've looked back in history a few times to see howat the "average" investment in the market starting around the first bust and it is way up since then.

Investing is very risky short-term and almost never risky long term if spread out so "all our eggs are not in one basket."

XcepticZP said... "that's the problem with statists."

Re: Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44868371)

There is no such thing as a sharing economy. People renting out their assets and selling services as they have done for thousands of years

Only difference is that tech is allowing individuals to cheaply advertise their wares. Unlike in the last hundred years where you had to pay a lot of money to newspapers and other media.

Otherwise this so called sharing economy is just some marketing speak for stupid kids who eat this togetherness nonsense up. We had this small business and individual economy 100 years ago and corporations took over because they offer a consistent quality experience.

Re: Sharing not good for a debt-based economy (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#44869171)

But, just like with patents, its on the internet and 'puter so it must be a completely new idea.

It's easy to be cheaper (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#44868017)

It's easy to be cheaper than the established players when you're not paying taxes.

Reality Awaits (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44868261)

Don't worry, a Charles Manson-like character will eventually come along and wake people up from their Hippy 2.0 daze as the rainbow and flowers take a shit on their face.

Re:Reality Awaits (1)

dbc (135354) | about a year ago | (#44869083)

"Hippy 2.0" has to be the phrase of the week.

Bad Brother Is Offended (2)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year ago | (#44868265)

Excessive consumption means big money for businesses. You can bet they will fight any changes in society tooth and nail. And they will not play nice. To them sharing is just another pinko-commie-socialist activity with evil advocates.

Market efficiences, examples & desperate econo (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about a year ago | (#44869733)

  The way this will play out depends on economics.
If the USA and dollar finally lose reserve status as some have predicted then I can see it going the way of Argentina. There, there are a lot of things that go on that are illegal. Especially in sharing and things like the black market dollar market. At first the police and government did all they did to enforce rules but in the end attrition set in. So many people were breaking the law just to survive. The police had to be corrupt to survive too. In the end the police relaxed and just stopped acting on petty rules for things like resturant licensing for the government as they finally came to relise that having an empty street is pointless. The governments authority was eventually greatly reduced. Unfortunatly it took many years for this to happen.

My main point in this is that the laws are still there. Nothing changed. It was just a case of people, police etc just ignoring those laws.

So these petty laws in the end just undermine the authority of the government. It's a waste of their power. Try to take away from this that this is a good thing as most governments are filled with good people trapped by things like the military-industrial complex, central banks and popularism.

In the end economics will be the decider.
But until then check out all the options. It's good to see society rerouting around it's restrictions. Sharing is amoungst a number of groundswell trends. I can't see companies being able to do much about this in the long term other than being better companies. It's good to see avocacy speeding up the process.

Here's another example. In Spain they've banned 3month home lettings under pressure from hotels. This took away income from the more efficient decentralised small businessness and individuals making cash on the side. In turn this will effect the economy there - it's funny how the exact opposite of what is needed causing a self feedback cycle of regulation. As a result people have been doing it anyway as they are so desperate for cash in some cases they have nothing to lose. The gov have been sending round stooges testing letting agents to see if they will let and then throwing them in jail, or fining people heavily. Yet still it goes on as people have little choice. Then there's AirBNB and subcontracting for hotels - a way round the problem. AirBNB recently showed how it has boosted the economy in San Francisco. No wonder - it's increased competition and that always leads to efficiencies. It's also greater choice.

So sharing is not only a social trend but it can also be more efficient than money and regulation.

Viva la resistence.

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