May 15 Open Thread: The "sharing economy"

It's Day 135 of the Year 2019 CE (Gregorian), meaning that it's May 15, 2019 (Gregorian), or 13.0.6.8.16 by the long count


P1000799

The subject of the sharing economy keeps popping up in various places. As has been said of Western Civilization, it would be a very good idea. Nonetheless, it too seems more fiction than fact. There is also a question of whether, given the modern view of "economy" it might even be oxymoronic. More on all of that later, first a video. This You Tube on "What is being "shared" in the sharing economy?" was posted by The Aspie Corner in QMS' 12/25/2018 Open Thread on caucus99percent.com. As I note there, so called "micro-entrepreneurship" is simply rentierism spreading to any and all assets anybody possesses and can exploit. Monetizing one's possessions, as it were. In some cases, such as with uber, one is also providing a service, and one is, in any case, being exploited even while monetizing said equity or usufruct.

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I do believe that the narrator cuts the entire idea of a sharing economy far too much slack. It is pretty much straight up BS in my opinion. In a different open thread, one of mine, on April 3, I stated in a comment to eyo, in part, that:
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The key to a sharing economy is sharing and not economy nor the economy. It should be an activity separate, distinct, unrelated to an subversive of the economy. It is not money nor greed that is the source of all evil, but competition.

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To expand on that, if you'll tolerate a bit of geezer mode here, back when I was a kid, the children of the peons, peasants, working class and general hoi polloi were "taught to share". Kids being "taught to share" was part of the everyday lexicon, culture and weltanschauung. The educated viewed and extolled this as part of the "socialization process", but everybody else knew that it was just "learning to share", a necessary part of proper behavior. You were obliged to share with your siblings, neighbors, schoolmates, visiting relatives, etc. It was simple, you took turns using or doing something, if you had a number or essentially fungible objects, you divvied them up, if you had a cookie you broke it into the requisite number of pieces and passed then around. It did not involve exchanges, that was something else, it was commerce, a prize shooter was perhaps worth an ordinary slingshot that was otherwise worth an entire bag of marbles, or maybe a half a bag of clearies or cat's eyes. You bargained and dickered and everybody knew that that was not sharing. Sharing also wasn't giving presents or gifts, but did partake of that character in that no quid-pro-quo was expected. Geezer mode off.
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Sadly, the current definition strictly means merely joint or alternating possession or use. The wiki, for example comes up with: Sharing is the joint use of a resource or space. It is also the process of dividing and distributing. In its narrow sense, it refers to joint or alternating use of inherently finite goods, such as a common pasture or a shared residence. In this sorry sense, however, it is not at all noteworthy behavior, not at all interesting and pretty much a useless term. The sharing economy, from this perspective is simply the economy. I have a truck I've driven 100,000 miles and I then sell it to you, who thereafter drive it for another 5 years. We have thus shared the truck and who really gives a shit. I rent my garage to you and we thus share my house. This definition doesn't even require that both of us use it for its intended purpose. I buy a garment at wholesale for the purpose of re-selling it, and, in the ordinary course of business, sell it to you who then wear it. We have, it seems, shared this garment. If we wish sharing and a sharing economy to be anything other than business as usual, we have to reject this definition and formulate one that captures the essence and spirit of what sharing meant to those non-wealthy kids from the fifties and sixties who "learned to share" as described above. We must reject any inclusion of commerce or even barter if we wish something beyond the same old rentierism, wage slavery, and mutual exploitation.
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My neighborhood is somewhat rife with sharing, real old fashioned non-commercial, non barter based sharing. People share what they feel like sharing simply out of whatever their personal motives re. For us it is mostly fruit from our fruit trees and some of the herbs we grow. It is largely because we have more than we really need or want, don't want it to go to waste and know that our neighbors will enjoy and use it. Others have different fruits or great success with vegetable gardens, and still others will materialize at the door with some sort of comestible that they baked a bunch of or that their company was selling to employees at an outrageous discount. For most it is, when expressed or stated, a sort of "share the wealth" motivation, and there is that word, again not meaning bater or sales, but true sharing where there is no expectation of reciprocity or quid pro quo. None of us, of course shares everything, and I suspect that most of us would not be fully ready for such a situation, though I personally did do some hippie time back in the days of yore.
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An added kicker, for me, is that this particular pattern of sharing has something of the character of "from each according to their ability (or surplus and/or desire) and to each according to their needs (or wants or desire)". A familiar old principle applied within limited parameters, but which was, also in days of yore, not that uncommon among the laboring classes and other hoi polloi. It is, in fact, mildly revolutionary behavior and a mild form of resistance. Whatever I share with my neighbors, or donate to places that distribute or severely discount used goods, is something that the recipients need not purchase from bourgeoise oligopoly retailers, and vice versa. This is actually, though of miniscule impact, something of a compound felony. There is a reduction in aggregate demand, and while this is on a tiny scale, broadly implemented across the culture, by lots of people, it would create a downward pressure on prices. It also minimally reduces the flow of goods and services upward through the oligarchs and middlemen, which, if done on a sufficiently broad base, is again a levelling influence. If implemented broadly enough, frequently enough, across enough types of goods and services, it would reduce the aggregate need and demand for money, and that is the real threat.
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The oligarchs want the maximum possible number of people to experience the maximum possible need for money, which keeps wages and piecework labor rates down, makes it difficult for labor to organize or strike, and renders those with some pittance or another available for saving willing to accept almost any positive rate of return. This is probably the most important aspect of sharing that isn't simply ethics or "morality" based, and the reason that we mustn't think of "sharing" as including any barter, sales or rents, or other quid pro quo. When, for some among the workerment, 2 could and did live on the earnings of one, the elites and oligarchs suffered. Any activity by any part of the populace that renders a return to such a situation for any material fraction of the populace will again hurt the elites and oligarchs, which is why they have always gone after groups like the Provos, Diggers, Food not Bombs, and the like. They want slaves, but will settle for serfs, and cringe at the idea that somebody somewhere may get a "free ride", which is why they work so hard to stigmatize such a thing. (Aside: This stigmatization is somewhat easy because of some societal tendency towards jealousy, whereby people take offence if somebody has it easier than they did, or gets a better deal on something, things which, all things being equal, they should celebrate. If my neighbor, to any extent, beats the system, I should be pleased, the system is my foe, not my neighbor. But I digress) The oligarchs and elites have seen Satan, and he is some minimally consuming willfully unemployed "free rider". We need to do what we can to create as many as we can, or at least to help make some few of them feasible. That can only be done by sharing, real honest sharing, not Uber, nor VRBO, nor anything of that ilk.

Image is Mine, mine, mine, all mine..

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Its an open thread so have at it. The floor is yours
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I won't be around when this posts.
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Comments

On life's road 'di propaganda' it is good to stop long enough to appreciate these notions.

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

To me this is what economists shy away from, as if the economy is some celestial branch of physics belonging to the gods.

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detroitmechworks's picture

Because older and wiser heads know that you need to follow procedure in order to achieve anything. That means complying with the law. The law being that before you try to transform society in any way you need to be willing to share your huge campaign contributions with all current elected officials.
/snark

There are very few things in my life I am not happy to hand out and lend at almost every opportunity. Especially books. I don't have as many as I used to, and that's because of the fact that I tend to loan them out and never get them back. I'm fine with that. Reason I love libraries, to be honest. The internet has its place, but there's still something about a physical copy that can be accessed without power that appeals to me.

“Libraries are as the shrine where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.”

― Francis Bacon

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Huh, well I have a new perspective about how my neighbors left all the carp they didn't want outside on the overgrown half dead front lawn, looking like ass. Every person plus dawg came pawing through their discarded junk for the last week and a half, took some of it away so that's good. not landfill

Winter-type storm heading toward Sonoma County

A winterlike storm is bearing down on Sonoma County, bringing unseasonably cooler temperatures and rain to the region midweek.

Rain will arrive Wednesday and continue off and on through the next week, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Anderson.

“It’s a classic winter-type storm system coming down off the Gulf of Alaska bringing cooler air with it, so it’ll bring snow to the Sierra Nevada and cooler temperatures to our area,” Anderson said.

hmph
I wonder how Laura from Alaska is doing? ta
PEACE

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mhagle's picture

@eyo

I figured out eventually that "carp" was supposed to be "crap." LOL thinking that a pile of fish was in the neighbor's yard.

Does that mean you are supposed to be getting cold weather.

Yes, I wonder about Laura from Alaska as well. One of the greatest rants of all time.

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

@mhagle thanks I love your comments and the links you post too. Have had great offline discussions about stuff. local locos

It hasn't stopped raining here since yesterday, and the forecast is for more but it's not that bad. Not even when my neighbors forgot to hand over the billing to our absentee landlord and the electricity got shut off because of course. wah coffee withdrawal
Oh well, it's been good practice to prepare better for upcoming summer blackouts per PG&E's bailout solution. TURN IT OFF yeah. My plan needs work but I am doing fine, it was only 24 hours and no food spoiled. om

namaste
PEACE

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travelerxxx's picture

@eyo

I remembered this, but in case others are wondering what this "Laura from Alaska" thing is about, check this out slightly-over-a-year-old c99 essay by gulfgal98: "Please listen to this"

It's worth your time, believe me.

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Granma's picture

Thank you for this.
I was one of those taught to share in the 50s, food especially. You did Not eat anything, unless all those present had an equal portion. If there was no enough to go around, you didn't eat. I have a feeling the food part came because of parents raised during the Depression. Maybe most of it did. Times were so hard for so many during the Great Depression that only by sharing whatever resources one had, were people able to make it through.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

The oligarchs and elites have seen Satan, and he is some minimally consuming willfully unemployed "free rider". We need to do what we can to create as many as we can, or at least to help make some few of them feasible. That can only be done by sharing, real honest sharing,

The Right Reverend Lucien Greaves would probably agree with you that Satan is where and who you say He is. But then, The Right Reverend Lucien Greaves maintains that Satan is the good guy......

Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides lol thanks, I just shopped the whole Satanic Temple page LOL of course that was at the very bottom. WANT
Also (did I say LOL already?) omg Oak King Mug? MINE lol

Man, if I still shopped online for real that would happen for sure. virtual thanks Your links are the best.

PEACE

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@eyo

Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

thanatokephaloides's picture

To expand on that, if you'll tolerate a bit of geezer mode here, back when I was a kid, the children of the peons, peasants, working class and general hoi polloi were "taught to share". Kids being "taught to share" was part of the everyday lexicon, culture and weltanschauung. The educated viewed and extolled this as part of the "socialization process", but everybody else knew that it was just "learning to share", a necessary part of proper behavior. You were obliged to share with your siblings, neighbors, schoolmates, visiting relatives, etc. It was simple, you took turns using or doing something, if you had a number or essentially fungible objects, you divvied them up, if you had a cookie you broke it into the requisite number of pieces and passed then around.

And then, when they're a little bit older.....

Wink

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8 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

mhagle's picture

So the chick in the video brought Uber and company down, but you brought the discussion to the raw, basic, really important stuff. What sharing really is. Expecting nothing in return. Give stuff away with pleasure.

Do you remember the story "Stone Soup?" Recap. A stranger comes to town. He is hungry and asks different people for food, but no one shares with him. There is hunger and poverty there so they are afraid to share. Then the stranger has this idea. Out in the town square he acquires a big cauldron, puts it over a fire, fills it with water, and then ceremoniously puts in a large stone. He announces that he is making stone soup. Little by little the townspeople start to participate, saying "I have some carrots to add" etc. Eventually there is this large pot of delicious soup. True, they are expecting to eat soup, yet their hearts are melted enough to give of what little they have.

Pot lucks can be like a stone soup thing. I think stone soup is a part of our future, but I digress.

I have this thing on the inside of me about the importance of giving/sharing food. Like what you say you do from your vegetable garden. My garden has not achieved that level of bounty yet, but currently our chickens are laying about a dozen eggs a day. And they keep hatching more baby chicks. So we are giving away lots of eggs. Last fall I baked a bunch of bread to give to a local church's community Thanksgiving meal. Gave them 9 dozen eggs for their easter breakfast this spring. Not that I am wonderfully benevolent or anything, but I believe this is an important climate crisis thing. This kind of sharing and giving. I don't know any of these people except for our beloved neighbors. They are the most conservative baptist church in town.

This sharing you speak of that we learned as children. It will save us. Not speaking globally but locally. You remember the OT essay Magi wrote last thursday that opened with an essay by Marc? He said, "yes . . . the shit is going to hit the fan . . . but grow food, share, learn to live minimally . . . and maybe you and/or your kids will come through it to the other side where you will need to know these things to live." Paraphrased big time.

Make sense?

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

thanatokephaloides's picture

@mhagle

currently our chickens are laying about a dozen eggs a day. And they keep hatching more baby chicks. So we are giving away lots of eggs. Last fall I baked a bunch of bread to give to a local church's community Thanksgiving meal. Gave them 9 dozen eggs for their easter breakfast this spring. Not that I am wonderfully benevolent or anything, but I believe this is an important climate crisis thing. This kind of sharing and giving.

I am, unfortunately, currently bed-bound (grrrr%!@%!!), and am in no condition to requite such things; nonetheless, because my fellow Dirty Old Fucking Hippies believe in sharing, I have half a dozen duck eggs, the first I've ever had.

The Dirty Fucking Hippies (now the Dirty Old Fucking Hippies) were right!

Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

mhagle's picture

@thanatokephaloides

We did ducks early on . . . . nice rich yolks. Enjoy!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

magiamma's picture

I would never be where I am if it were not for the many kind-hearted folks lives that I passed through. It is amazing what a small group of like-minded people can do. Be here now. Lol

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

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travelerxxx's picture

Wonderful essay, enhydra lutris! Thank-you!

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