The sharing economy

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

Instructions

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.

Discussion

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

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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

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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

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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.

Submitted by olhamats on Wed, 20/07/2022 - 18:45

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I like the article and I think it is a good initiative.
But I wanted to add one drawback. It is good opportunity for one person to sell underutilised things and earn money. But sometimes buyers pay for something that they don't need just because of small price.
So my advice is to be aware about things that we buy, doesn't matter it`s new thing or second hand.

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Mon, 27/12/2021 - 16:49

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Yes I participated in the sharing economy.

I never participated in the sharing economy but I would like. This is a good thing because some people buy secon hand things for good price from people who this items is useless for them. Consequently seller receives money and customer takes items for good price. This is a excelent idea.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Fri, 22/10/2021 - 11:11

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This is a good initiative. I appreciate it. But I don't participate sharing economy yet.

Submitted by mohamad90 on Mon, 22/02/2021 - 16:26

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Yes. Using these applications was a good experiment for me. It's easy, fast and cheap.

Submitted by Alek89 on Tue, 09/02/2021 - 11:19

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Definitely yes. In my opinion, this is a very good way to make a quick buck to those people whose economy are a little weak. And, of couse, as the text said this is quite good for our environment because there's so many times when we throw away something underutilised when this thing's not even broken. Improving this type of economy, we can give a "second life" to all this things that we don't want in our houses anymore.