While the sharing-economy could lead to a more efficient and eco-friendly society, there are many unsolved problems that could become its very undoing.
As the saying goes, two things are inevitable… death and taxes. Public spending will definitively increase going forward, courtesy of an aging population and a constellation of other public challenges. How do we pay for this? Taxes! It is delusional to think government will allow a taxfree sharing-economy to develop. THEY WILL crack down on this soon enough. We are no lovers of taxes, but we certainly do not want to fight the taxman.
2 Sharing-economy ‘Freelancers’ fully Unionizing, and…
To name some examples, car- and house-sharing businesses does not have to deal with all the rules and regulations that we find in the traditional transport and hotel industry. Here again, government and freelancers will not stand on the sidelines forever… expect BIG demands from these in the future… remember, an exaggerated sense of ENTITLEMENT is a key feature of western civilization.
3 The Big Old Establishment
While it is true that new disruptive business-models can outflank the incumbents, that is less likely when the newcomers do not control key links in the value-chain. One huge issue for e.g. car-sharing companies is that they do not own or produce the cars, at least not currently, so if the biggest players in the car industry decide to create their own car-sharing system… then, game over for XYZ.
4 Internet of Things (IoT)
To sum-up this new mega-trend, EVERYTHING will be connected to the internet in the future. This threatens the sharing-economy in many ways, e.g. it makes it possible for companies to lock a product to a given person or geo-location, i.e. making it very difficult to share it without the company taking their share of the cake.
5 Laws and Regulations
Few things have killed more industries than laws and regulations, and the sharing-economy’s current success is undeniably related to its ability to avoid tons of EXPENSIVE and IMPRACTICAL laws and regulations.
6 Sabotage and False-flags
Business can get nasty! Only your imaginations limits choice of tactic. Sabotage is more basic. False-flags are much more intricate, and could involve e.g. a big-incumbent creating or funding supposed sharing-economy companies.
Bonus: The Sharing-economy is a Re-animated Historical Relic
We tried a sharing economy before, and it simply did not work that well. Why did it fail? Well, society became so intricate that we needed coordination, regulations, and taxation.
So, there you have it. Bear in mind, the sharing-economy still got potential, but it seriously needs to avoid falling on the wrong end of these issues.