What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy

By Tom Slee

Image of the book cover beside a photo of a bookshelf and opened book on a table.

Marketing is everywhere. Words are chosen carefully to convey just the right message. Case in point: ‘sharing economy.’ Everyone has an idea of what that is and means. Or do we?

In What’s Yours Is Mine, author Tom Slee takes those two words and gives them a rigorous shakedown. If you are on one side or the other, or perhaps in the middle, of a host of issues which have arisen as a result of the emergence of this market force, Slee’s take will either confirm or refute whatever it is you believe, because in the end it is about belief system. Beliefs do have a way of affecting lives, however.

Slee takes aim at what he sees as the contradiction that exists in the world currently called the Sharing Economy (he makes a point of capitalizing the term, and acknowledges it’s a fluid thing which may look different as it evolves). First, he says, it’s a stretch to call it sharing. Whereas the movement may have originally been borne out of the Internet culture of openness and leveraging technology to connect service and service provider, corporate greed has re-shaped it into a billion-dollar war game, shifting the culture to one disconcertingly reminiscent, for Slee, of the women’s movement for workplace equality, and attacking hard-fought-for gains in both worker and consumer protections through regulatory frameworks.

With chapters to give a historical context that has brought us to the technology-driven sharing economy, highlight the big players and copycats, and refine and define aspects of the sharing economy such as ‘neighbours helping neighbours’ and ‘strangers trusting strangers,’ What’s Yours Is Mine is a reflective exploration of facets of the obvious and not-so-obvious dynamics of this economic system.

“A starting point is we recognize [the sharing economy] for what it is.” Slee’s book will definitely help you out with that.

About Larry Farquharson
Larry Farquharson is a teacher in District 11, Thames Valley.

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