The sharing economy is about more than transactions: it’s an opportunity to collaborate, and to borrow some words from Craig Newmark, “give each other a break”. It’s a way of diversifying income while building resilience and keeping money in your local economy. It extends the life cycle of products and lessens the burden of ownership. It builds social capital and fosters a collaborative mindset among citizens. And last but not least, it engenders better relationships among individuals and encourages new experiences. There’s a reason that AirBnB pitches their service with the tagline “travel like a human”.
Focusing on the profit motive reduces the scope of the sharing economy, from a transformative cultural movement to an easy way to make a quick buck. Sharing isn’t just a way to make startups profit and build a new economy of micro-entrepreneurs—it’s a cultural movement that has the power to build community, engagement and a new, more sustainable peer-to-peer economy, transforming how we define our interpersonal relationships in the process.