Sharing economy companies have had no shortage of regulatory battles, but companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit are innovating and improving regulation by incorporating the very trust created through their platforms. Arun Sundararajan, author of "The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism" (MIT Press, 2016), observes that regulation need not originate with the government. He writes that it can take a myriad of forms while still being rational, ethical, and participatory. He describes three models of regulation used by sharing platforms: peer-to-peer, self-regulatory, and data-driven delegation. The way that sharing economy platforms are innovating regulation with digital trust systems exposes the effort by digital elites to impose Title II utility regulation from 1934 on the internet as backward and out of date.
unanimously enacted a bill allowing the unionization of commercial drivers, whether they operate taxicabs, town cars, or – crucially – ride-sharing vehicles. This means Seattle drivers associated with Uber, Lyft, or similar on-demand transit companies can collectively bargain for higher wages, benefits, workers’ compensation, and the like. As such, it poses a setback for ride-sharing innovation and the labor flexibility it has entailed.
blind men and the elephant. Vocal stakeholders in this issue – from politicians, to consumer and labor advocates, to industry representatives, to the participants themselves – have fervent and deep-seated beliefs as to what the sharing economy is and how it should, or shouldn’t, be regulated. Their accounts differ greatly, and yet most are confident their version of the story is correct. In truth, they’re all a little bit right – and also a little wrong. At the moment, it would benefit each of these stakeholders to keep an open mind.