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Sharing is a concept with competing meanings (it is simply defined by Wikipedia: Sharing as just "the joint use of a resource or space"). But at the P2P Foundation, we sharply distinguish what we consider real sharing (which may involve the joint construction and management of Commons), from simply exchanging goods and services for money over a privately owned platform. The Sharing Economy is therefore a concept which confuses sharply different practices.

Key Quote

While Kevin Carson here is referring primarily to goods, this can also be applied to information resources.

"Sharing is a way of maximizing the utilization of idle productive goods owned by individuals. Just about any tool or appliance you need for a current project, but lack, is probably gathering dust on the shelf of someone within a few blocks of where you live. If the pooling of such idle resources doesn’t seem like much of a deal for the person with the unused appliances, keep in mind first that he isn’t getting anything at all out of them now, second that he may trade access to them for access to other people’s tools that he needs, and third that the arrangement may increase the variety of goods and services he has to choose from outside the wage system." - [1]

Key Concepts of This Category

Most discussion of sharing focuses around material resources being shared by more than one private owner, though sharing also extends to participation, time and labour.

Commercial rental is not covered here, as that is just the resource being used by several people, with the ownership and control remaining entirely with a single entity (individual or business), which extracts a profit from the rental.

When private resources are being 'shared' through a platform, as in the well-known cases of AirBnB, Uber, Taskrabbit and other similar arrangements, the situation is less clear. While many people see these as belonging to the Sharing Economy, others see it as more like commercial rental, with the ownership of the resources being outsourced.

To get a better sense of the different meanings of sharing, we recommend:

Useful learning resources


Deeper Study

Critical Material

Related Categories

Related Concepts

Providing the essential provisions for human life through sharing/commoning

Pages in category "Sharing"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 819 total.

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Media in category "Sharing"

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