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The sharing economy

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

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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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Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

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

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.

yep, sure. I use related platforms and sites for buying and selling.

Hello, I would like to buy wastewater and treat it to usable water and sell it.

I personally don't participate in the sharing economy, but I think it would be a good investment if I became part of it :)

Yes, I have sold some stuffs on internet that I didn't need. and sometimes I take advantage to discount days and buy things to resell in a better price mostly technology items if I hesitate to sell one so I just keep it.

I participate in the sharing economy, but to a lesser degree, that is I myself restrict to giving my underused clothes to my favourite charity.

Oh, yeah! I'm an active member of the sharing economy. I buy a lot of things for my kids on some local sites. It's quite useful when you have two fast-growing kids and can buy things for less money. All these goods, what buy for them, are used per a couple of months and quickly become too small for my sons. So we resell them or just give them to someone else. Recently we sold some clothes that weren't used at all. Just bought them in advance but they were too big when I bought them and became too small when their time came.
Two years ago we finished the renovation in our flat and some items (quite good, actually) became unneeded - we sold them via the Internet. Our buyers were pleased to buy those things at a low price and we were happy to get rid of them and earn a little money.
So, guys, the sharing economy is great - fewer spendings, extra money, and, of course, less garbage!

I do participate. When I was studying for my master's degree I don't have quite enough money to buy my baby girl's a nice jacket for winter. Attend to school and taking care of her were enough to take away my time. Salvation Army store is one of the stores in the United States that sells used goods. That helps people a lot to maintain their daily basis.

Yes, i do it via Facebook when i need to make a quick buck.

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