The sharing economy

The sharing economy

Read about the sharing economy to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.


Reading text

If we look around us at the things we have purchased at some point in our lives, we would no doubt notice that not everything we own is being put to good use: the thick woollen coat which we thought looked trendy despite the fact that we live in a tropical country, the smartphone that got put away when we bought ourselves the newest model, the car that only gets used at the weekends, or even the guest room in our house that somehow got turned into a storeroom.

Those underutilised items may seem useless to some, but could be an asset to others. With the advent of the internet, online communities have figured out a way to generate profit from the sharing of those underused assets. Using websites and social media groups that facilitate the buying and selling of second-hand goods, it is now easier than ever for peer-to-peer sharing activities to take place. And this is known as the sharing economy.

These democratised online platforms are providing a chance for people to make a quick buck or two. To give an example, busy parents previously might not have bothered with setting up a stall at the local market or car boot sale to sell their children's old equipment, but with online marketplaces, parents are now able to sell on those hardly worn baby clothes that their children have outgrown and the expensive pushchairs and baby equipment they have invested in, so as to put some cash back into their pockets.

Businesses have also caught on to the profitability of the sharing economy and are seeking to gain from making use of those underutilised resources. A business model that has rapidly risen in popularity sees companies providing an online platform that puts customers in contact with those who can provide a particular product or service. Companies like Airbnb act as a middleman for people to cash in on their unused rooms and houses and let them out as lucrative accommodation. Another example is Uber, which encourages people to use their own personal cars as taxis to make some extra cash in their free time.

This move towards a sharing economy is not without criticisms. Unlike businesses, unregulated individuals do not have to follow certain regulations and this can lead to poorer and inconsistent quality of goods and services and a higher risk of fraud. Nevertheless, in the consumerist society we live in today, the increased opportunities to sell on our unwanted and underused goods can lead to a lesser impact on our environment.

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Submitted by Libra23 on Wed, 05/06/2024 - 18:46


Yes, I do. 

In general, when I want to buy an article, firstly I search this on internet, so I can know all its characteristics and price, later I search the same product on different apps where people sell second hand products. 

In my opinion, it’s relevant that a second hand product has the same quality as a new article; certainly, for me some physical defect it’s tolerated in the second hand object, due to the reason that it sometimes has been used.

Submitted by betelf on Tue, 24/10/2023 - 18:21


Yes, I do. I enjoy selling things online through second-hand platforms. I've been quite active on these platforms since last year. I sold my treadmill and bicycle, which were some of my biggest purchases. Additionally, I've been selling my old textbooks.

Submitted by jmajo on Wed, 04/10/2023 - 14:37


Yes, or at least I think I do when I buy used goods that I need, and I never buy anything that I don’t going to use in the short time, once I realiced I’m not going to use something anymore I put it online to sell it. I try not to own things that I know for sure I never going to use, instead of having them I sell them or give it to someone else like a friend or a relative whom might need it.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site!

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Submitted by Ramiro Solana on Tue, 05/09/2023 - 16:25


I don't really participate in the sharing economy much as I've only bought a couple of used electronics in my lifetime. But this article made me think about all those unused things that take up a lot of space in my house and I could get rid of them and earn some money at the same time: books, clothes, chairs, etc.

Submitted by aaron_japon on Fri, 01/09/2023 - 02:24


I think shared economics are more likely to appear in underdeveloped countries. For example, in the country where I live, people sell second-hand items once a week in stalls in the streets that together could be as big as an entire supermarket store. This custom helps, primarily, the working-class people that can afford the new items obtain access to a wide range of used products and services.

Submitted by ayoub12 on Sun, 06/08/2023 - 19:20


I see that sharing economy is one the important things in consumer society because people can make money from underutilised products such as old phones, moreover people who buying underutilised products from other will find it cheap.

Submitted by Artyev on Sun, 21/05/2023 - 01:20


No, I don't, but I have a lot of things that I can sell. I thought about that, but than I decided to keep these things, because they have memory value for me and my family. For example, I don't want to sell my baby attire, because my grandkids can see and transmit it for future generations.

Submitted by Onca on Fri, 21/10/2022 - 16:09


I feel that I am not a good seller, and I am not willing to invest the required time to sell some of my underused things, but I am really involved on recycling and trying to make a difference for the environment. So, whenever I have the the time to tidy up my house, I sort all of those unused stuff and call a man that repurposes or resells it himself.

Submitted by BilelJelassi on Wed, 14/09/2022 - 14:03


I've always given my second handed clothes and old stuff to other people for free.
Actually, I'd rather buy new things than unused goods because maybe we don't have the culture of sharing economy yet or may some people still think that these unwanted goods sold from others might have less quality than they expected so that will be consider useless for them.

Submitted by ze-lal on Sun, 14/08/2022 - 06:14


I haven't had many experiences of sharing economy. I have bought second hands clothes a lot, but I've never sold my unwanted or unused item. I just give them to people who want them without money.