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 Smiley1 on Tue, 28/01/2020 - 14:15

" the consumerist society we live in today" = Yes, I agree and feel meaningless or empty. I don't want to be a slave of the society!
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Submitted by AnastasiyaRadi on Tue, 28/01/2020 - 10:45

in my opinion, sharing economy is the best thing ever! We consume too much.

Submitted by kanatian on Wed, 22/01/2020 - 13:08

I've never participated in the sharing economy, until I had to live away from home. It seemed unnecessary buying new things and brand new furniture when I'm only staying there for few months and that's when I took the opportunity to use the sharing economy method and contact people in websites like craigslist. I was informed that there may be some concerns buying beds and such since it might be defective or I may get fooled by some of the sellers. But still, it is a good way to save a lot of money and very beneficial to the environment. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle.

Submitted by Fikymaulana on Sun, 12/01/2020 - 17:05

In my opinion the sharing economy is a great idea. I have sold my old shoes on the market place. And when I was having two type of bicycle such as MTB and touring bicycle. Eventualy, I sold the MTB because I often used the touring bicycle. However, we should't sell all of unused equipment or old stuff and get some cash. Sometimes, I gave my old stuff and unused equipment for charity event. And I feel its make me happier than earning money.

Submitted by Wahiba on Mon, 30/09/2019 - 14:53

Sharing economy is interesting it allows at many people to get ride off unused things and specially to some others people to have a lot of items without braking the bank. personally I prefer give my unused items for free to all they need them. 10years a go when I moved to a new house so before I left the old one I gave my fournitures to persons around me.

Submitted by juanfra366 on Wed, 13/03/2019 - 19:04

Yes, I do. I sold some motorcycle boots that I didn't use.
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Submitted by Samer.Zydia on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 14:18

I really like the article