What’s at stake in a consumer-led economy?

Guest blog by our friends at FatLama.com – peer-to-peer renting of things…

‘Gig-workers’, the broadsheet press and the political establishment are highlighting legitimate concerns over workers’ rights in the ‘so-called-sharing-economy’ on what seems like a daily basis.

And, in light of talk of a return to Victorian working structures, public opinion towards people-powered technology platforms is justifiably cautious. But this healthy scepticism must not obstruct one of the central motivations of the collaborative movement as a whole: to harness excess capacity. Environmentally and socially, there is too much at stake.

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Many of those engaged in the sharing economy regularly praise the positive impact on the community and on the environment. Even BorrowMyDoggy, which may appear a novelty platform to some, wields social benefits which are not to be snubbed. At this relatively early stage in the growth of the sharing economy, environmental impact-measurement remains largely theoretical, but most acknowledge its green potential in its general rejection of throwaway consumption. A lot of what is being shared – everything from cars and parking spaces to houses – would otherwise be sitting idle. By increasing the shelf-life of these assets, sharing platforms provide a natural extension to the circular economy.

Platforms such as Storemates allow consumers such as you and I to rent out their lofts, garages or other storage units in order to optimise their space and help pay the bills. If you’re not currently using your loft, then the chances are you’re sitting on a resource which could benefit both yourself and others. Let’s not forget that where London’s concerned, even a cupboard under the stairs is prime real estate. Storemates allows you to make money from your space without forcing someone to live in your cupboard.

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If you haven’t thought about renting out your excess storage space, then you may not have considered renting out your unused belongings either. Fat Lama is a platform that lets you do just that. It’s is a peer-to-peer renting platform which aims to connect people who need things, with others in their neighbourhood that have that thing to lend. By getting people to work together, the world will become a more efficient, practical and consumer-led environment.

Whether neighbours are sharing their attic space or their cameras, they are collaborating to prevent unnecessary expenditure on consumer goods or commercial self-storage. As a banner term for people-powered platforms, the “sharing economy” is often viewed contentiously – understandably so. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Sharing our stuff will lead to a greener, more collaborative world.

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