Uber and Airbnb Are Not the Future of Capitalism

Vox – March 6, 2017

If you read articles about the sharing economy — and there have been hundreds of them over the past decade — you’ll often see a line that refers to “sharing economy companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft.” The implication is that these are just three examples of a larger trend that’s transforming the American economy. But this vision of the future hasn’t aged well. Uber and Airbnb have obviously enjoyed tremendous growth. Beyond that, it depends on how you define the term. Some people count companies like Prosper, LendingClub, WeWork, Etsy, and Zipcar as part of the sharing economy. Others don’t. What’s clear is that outside of the car business, the sharing economy isn’t rendering ownership obsolete. Consumerism isn’t in decline, and capitalism isn’t being transformed.

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