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Sharing Economy Thesis Statement

Introduction #1

Sharing economies are integral components of any smart city for a number of reasons. Such platforms as, for example, Airbnb, Uber and Blablacar, developed by and for citizens, challenge the standard beliefs about transportation and lodging. They need no governmental medium in order to function and have proven to be extremely efficient because they have freedom at their disposal. Their appearance in smart cities is logical since the latter are supposed to conform to a number of criteria, amongst which there are the comfort of citizens, rational use of natural resources, and increased accessibility to services provided by means of personal mobile devices.

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While citizens of smart cities can abundantly enjoy newly emerging services of the sharing economy, one of the stakeholders, governments, remains in a state of distress. It happens due to the quickly growing popularity of such services and the lack of regulations imposed, in particular, by government. Thus, the famous Uber platform that enables efficient taxi service was banned in a number of countries once it hit its popularity peak due to the absence of clear liabilities for the online service in case of any unpredictable situations. Still, there remains a question of whether the governments actually cared for the vague public good when it banned such services or did it due to the increasing competition with the sharing economy services, leading to the protests of weak competitors.

For example, in Toronto, Canada, taxi drivers were outraged by the fact that Uber application attracted many clients and, therefore, went to storm the Toronto town hall (Moore, 2015). However, Uber and alike services do not steal jobs from others; they give a healthy incentive for those who provide similar services and create grounds for development.

Introduction #2

In the light of the latest sharing economies boom, the inhabitants of smart cities sometimes cannot imagine their lives without certain services. People use Uber service instead of traditional taxies and do not worry about the availability of cash for a taxi since money are withdrawn from their PayPal accounts. Besides, this service is, in fact, cheaper than a regular taxi due to the absence of many formal costly procedures that are obligatory for regular taxi companies.

In August 2014, as many as 157,143 Uber rides took place globally (Miller, 2016). However, if one considers how sharing economies impact smart cities in the long run, the perspective might not seem so positive. Uber drivers are not obliged to obtain a special license in contrast with regular taxi driver, what makes Uber rates substantially lower. Since Uber is not the only example of sharing economy, where some individuals lose while other profit, it is generally questionable whether sharing economy services actually let citizens profit in a long run. It is true that political economy has a rather weak position on a scale of a city if one considers decentralized nature that rules the processes of establishment and functioning of smart cities. It is often hard for the central government to control such a dynamic domain as sharing economy platforms.

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They find new loopholes in the legislation right after a bill prohibiting or strictly regulating their functioning is issued. Besides, the sharing economies represented in smart cities harm businesses directly. It happened this way in case of Canadian taxi drivers who failed to compete against Uber rates and went to protest against application usage (Moore, 2015). The protests even involved the cases of minor violence. Therefore, Canadian government representatives should certainly keep regulations of sharing economy services under control or even completely suspend the functioning of the Uber platform because it directly damages the situation with taxi service in Toronto by depriving many people of their jobs.

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