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The Sharing Economy - 7/9/15

Startups like Uber, Taskrabbit and Airbnb are transforming the way that consumers access goods and services by matching people who need something – a ride, a place to stay, or a handyman, with providers willing to supply it.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal, these companies are viewed as being part of the sharing economy.  About seven percent of U.S. adults say that they work on sharing platforms like Uber – this according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey. 

While we were taught as youngsters to share, critics worry that these sharing platforms may seduce underemployed and economically weak people into jobs that offer no benefits and few protections.  Others say that sharing economy jobs provide workers with something that they may view as being even more valuable that money and benefits – flexibility and autonomy. 

This is considered to be particularly true for stay-at-home parents, retirees, students and others for whom the conventional demands of a nine to five job represent a non-starter.  There are also those who simply haven’t been able to find a job in a difficult marketplace, and benefit from the additional income supplied by the sharing economy.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.