The sharing economy hits the political mainstream

The UK's ruling Conservative party are looking at ways of exploiting the sharing economy, typified by Airbnb, for the good of the wider economy…

It’s sometimes easy to forget that, within our tech-focused world, while many of our product are mainstream, sometimes the ideas lurking behind them aren’t. The “sharing economy” – the idea of the internet enabling commercialised sharing of resources wasn’t something that I thought was mainstream. Yet, today it appeared on the front cover of The Sunday Telegraph‘s business section:

As part of its focus on building a nation of entrepreneurs – a key plank in the Coalition’s economic growth policies – the Government is expected to launch a major review of the UK’s sharing economy in a bid to boost London’s growing technology sector, and to boost self-made entrepreneurs.

The story – headlined “Government poised to embrace the Airbnb economy” – outlines that the Conservatives – the lead party in the UK’s ruling coalition – are expected to make this a big plank of their business appeal come the next election. That’s somewhat refreshing given the problems that companies like Airbnb and Uber have had with political resistance to their disruptive business models in many parts of the world.

The motivation, of course, isn’t altruistic, but economic:

Mr Hancock is tomorrow expected to launch an independent review into the sharing economy, as he outlines his commitment to make the UK the global centre for this relatively modern form of transaction before the end of the next Parliament.
It is estimated that 25pc of UK adults are sharing in some way online, with global annual revenues estimated to rise from £9bn today to £230bn by 2025.

It’s also worthing noting that the author is not a tech correspondent, but the executive business editor… The Sharing Economy is no longer tech. It’s economics.