From Sharing to Shutting Yourself In

Photo: Jose Paris

Photo: Jose Paris

We have been talking a lot about delivery systems and convenience, while working on our IE&D project at Imperial WEMBA. One conclusion is clear: the future is about right now, at the touch of a smartphone button.

The intersection of ubiquitous mobile devices, the perceived lack of free time and the search for job flexibility (in essence, what the Sharing Economy is all about) promises a world of instant access to any product or service, along with the elimination of chores, and plenty of time back to do what-we-really-want-to-do.

Lauren Smiley has a great article in Medium painting a very different picture. The future has already arrived in San Francisco, and for Lauren

the on-demand world isn’t about sharing at all. It’s about being served. This is an economy of shut-ins.

Maybe we are just witnessing the normal early excesses that accompany any new, big disruptive trend; maybe things settle down after a while. But the article rightly highlights many of the ethical issues (related to class, education and human interactions) growing alongside these new business models. These social issues are right now mostly unresolved, but if the sharing economy becomes The Economy, they will be impossible to ignore.


The Shut-In Economy (Medium) via Next Draft