mfioretti: sharing economy*

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  1. Nel 2015 un libro bianco ha ipotizzato che la “condivisione” degli appartamenti a Los Angeles ha eliminato undici appartamenti al giorno dal mercato degli affitti tradizionali. Un altro studio ha sostenuto che Airbnb elimina circa il 20% degli appartamenti in affitto in alcune zone di Manhattan e di Brooklyn a New York, fino al 28% nell’East Village, sebbene sia illegale affittarli oltre 30 giorni all’anno. Nei venti quartieri più centrali della metropoli americana si stima che Airbnb abbia sottratto almeno il 10% delle case disponibili dal mercato.

    La perdita di case disponibili sul mercato causata dalla disruzione (disruption) di Airbnb colpisce sei volte in più i residenti neri. Il quartiere con la più alta discriminazione razziale è Stuyvesant Heights, nel cuore di Central Brooklyn, dove le prenotazioni effettuate dai proprietari bianchi sono 1.012 volte superiori a quelle dei neri. La diseguaglianza economica sarebbe pari all’857% sul totale dei redditi accumulati dagli host bianchi.
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  2. Dopo un anno esatto di hosting – abbiamo smesso da poco, per fortuna – ho concluso che lo sharing come principio sarebbe corretto, equo, ammirevole e vantaggioso per la collettività, ma noi come razza umana non siamo in grado di farlo nostro. Basti vedere il recente caso di Mobike a Milano, un'app cinese che permetteva (finalmente) agli utenti di lasciare le biciclette in qualsiasi punto della città dopo l'utilizzo, e subito sono spuntate in sosta selvaggia, galleggianti nelle fontane o addirittura appese agli alberi.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2017-11-08)
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  3. Malka shrugged, looked away. "Back to the banker thing, Sergei," she said, "since Nera did bring it up. I get why you work with money -- it still makes a lot of the world go round. You take Frankfurt's various exports and patents and Swiss bank accounts and whatever, and buy us whatever we can't make here. I get that, and I get why it would be a high-rep job; we need it, and most people would find it boring. But you told me you worked for money -- not just with money." She crossed her arms beneath her breasts, where her top shimmered electric blue. "Why?"

    Sergei smiled the long-lipped, eyebrow-cocked smile of someone who is amused in advance at the reaction they're about to get. "I like money," he said.

    "What, you mean, like, physical money?" Malka said. "Like you collect coins and bills? That's cool, I guess."

    "No," Sergei said. "I mean I like money. I like exchange. Abstracted exchange. Simplicity. You give me something, I give you something. We're quits. You don't have to decide what kind of person I am, if you like me, how distant I am from you in social space. We could be masked strangers in a privacy zone. You want something from me, you give me money. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you want it for."

    Comments were flashing in, but Nera didn't stop to read them. Queasy, she thought of the hunch of her father's shoulders in his starched white uniform and red tie, behind the florist counter at the supermarket. She recalled the burn of tear gas at the back of her throat, the sound of shattering windows.

    Jörg looked like he was the proud owner of a performing dog; Malka, like she was equally disgusted and turned on. Or maybe a little more turned on.

    "Huh," Malka said. "'Masked strangers in a privacy zone'...? You know the 'raw swingers'? They hook up with strangers for sex with their services totally turned off. No peeking at comments or reviews or social map -- so they have no idea if it's going to be a total nightmare, right? That's the point, I guess, part of the thrill. They've got this whole thing about how it's so much better when it does work, because of the risk and the authenticity and whatever. So are you saying this is like that, Sergei? You do stuff just for a marker of hoarded value... you don't even know why. You don't know what the effect of your actions are, what you're contributing towards, or what people will say..."

    Pink Floyd ~ Money

    "Pink Floyd: Money." Credit: jah~ off n on

    "All you know is you want the money," Nera said.

    Malka nodded. "Pure greed, no connections, heedless of consequences. That's it? It's a kink? Like a... sick thrill?"

    Sergei laughed. To his credit, he looked a little discomfited. "I guess you could look at it like that."

    "Oh, don't underplay it," Jörg said. "Sergei -- you've written about this. It's a philosophy." Nera glanced at him, and she recognized his expression. A year ago she would have called it an eager openness -- his fascination with the unending variety of people and ideas Frankfurt's flow brought bobbing to his door. But she'd been in his collection of flotsam. Drifter Nera, banker Sergei, autie-genius Tomas, the Finns and Peruvians grilling in the kitchen; they all ended up part of Jörg's menagerie, and by means of them all, he somehow ended up rating as a life-artist instead of a pompous, lecturing do-gooder.

    "Well," said Sergei. "Okay. I think it's more than just kinky." He glanced sidelong at Malka. "Money is... clean. It severs connections. That's not always a bad thing. You say you know what the effect of your actions are. But you don't really know -- you don't trace them all in detail. You don't have time. You just go with the consensus. With fashion."

    "Sure, sure, ratings and fashion are all we have," Malka said. "That's not a new argument or anything, and we are all concerned, I'm sure, with the plight of the low-rated. Nera has done quite a bit of visiting with at-risk lonelies, did you know that? But money seems like a weird solution to that problem, doesn't it?"

    "No," he said, and there was a little bit of a quiver in his voice that made Nera wonder what history it pointed to, "no, it doesn't. With money, poverty is empty of meaning. It's not a judgement on your life and works. It doesn't mean no one likes you, that you're obnoxious or boring. If you're poor in a money economy, you know what you need to do: make money. It's not as... wounding."

    "That's stupid," Nera said. Jörg and Malka turned to look at her, eyebrows raised -- her voice was too loud, too harsh. Her heart was beating fast. "It's dead easy to get your ratings up when they fall. Your services tell you how."

    "Your services tell you how," Sergei retorted. "You have skills, you're charming. You're rated as trustworthy. People want you to babysit their kids. Carry their packages. Cook their food. It's not that easy for everyone."
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  4. McWhinney-Morse and her like-minded friends brainstormed creative ways that they could stay in their homes and continue to be active participants in life. They spent two years talking to service providers about everything they could possibly need, organizing their ideas into plans and laying the foundation for what would become the first senior community of its kind, Boston’s Beacon Hill Village. “The idea began to form that everything we need in our older lives is here,” says McWhinney-Morse. “The question is how to put it together in a way that is manageable. We decided that we would become consolidators of services.”

    The concept of a village is simple, practical and visionary. For an annual membership fee that averages about $600 per person (with discounted fees for lower income individuals), members are able to stay in their own homes, living their lives as they see fit as part of an extended network that provides social events, meet-ups, discussion groups, fitness classes, field trips and more. Unlike other social organizations, villages take the notion of independence and security to the next level and provide members with a phone number for everything they could possible need that they can’t manage on their own. Whether they need a ride to the grocery store, someone to change a light-bulb, a plumber, help with paperwork, a daily check-in, help navigating the world of service providers or anything else, members can call the village.
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  5. Increasingly workers, and government agencies are pushing back. Seattle passed an ordinance in 2015 allowing drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing apps to unionize. A federal judge temporarily blocked that law on Tuesday after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and some conservative groups filed lawsuits against the city. Workers have also sued various gig economy companies to seek overtime pay, reimbursement for expenses and other damages. Lyft recently agreed to pay $27 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by drivers in California.

    Legislation and lawsuits might ensure that traditional labor laws are applied to the gig economy. But a few smaller companies, like Hello Alfred, which dispatches people to do household chores, and Managed by Q, which provides office maintenance and cleaning services, are taking steps on their own, by treating workers as employees. They say that this lowers turnover and improves the quality of their services. Over time even bigger companies like Uber, many of which lose money and rely on investors to keep pouring in billions of dollars of capital, might find that it pays to treat workers better and even make some of them employees.

    But so far, experience with these companies shows that without the legal protections and ethical norms that once were widely accepted, workers will find the economy of the future an even more inhospitable place.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-04-11)
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  6. the most revolutionary aspect of blockchain technology is that it can run software in a secure and decentralized manner. With a blockchain, software applications no longer need to be deployed on a centralized server: They can be run on a peer-to-peer network that is not controlled by any single party. These blockchain-based applications can be used to coordinate the activities of a large number of individuals, who can organize themselves without the help of a third party. Blockchain technology is ultimately a means for individuals to coordinate common activities, to interact directly with one another, and to govern themselves in a more secure and decentralized manner.

    There are already a fair number of applications that have been deployed on a blockchain. Akasha,, or Synereo, for instance, are distributed social networks that operate like Facebook, but without a central platform. Instead of relying on a centralized organization to manage the network and stipulate which content should be displayed to whom (often through proprietary algorithms that are not disclosed to the public), these platforms are run in a decentralized manner, aggregating the work of disparate groups of peers, which coordinate themselves, only and exclusively, through a set of code-based rules enshrined in a blockchain. People must pay microfees to post messages onto the network, which will be paid to those who contribute to maintaining and operating the network. Contributors may earn back the fee (plus additional compensation) as their messages spread across the network and are positively evaluated by their peers.

    Blockchain technology thus facilitates the emergence of new forms of organizations, which are not only dematerialized but also decentralized. These organizations — which have no director or CEO, or any sort of hierarchical structure — are administered, collectively, by all individuals interacting on a blockchain. As such, it is important not to confuse them with the traditional model of “crowd-sourcing,” where people contribute to a platform but do not benefit from the success of that platform. Blockchain technologies can support a much more cooperative form of crowd-sourcing — sometimes referred to as “platform cooperativism”— where users qualify both as contributors and shareholders of the platforms to which they contribute. And since there is no intermediary operator, the value produced within these platforms can be more equally redistributed among those who have contributed to the value creation.

    With this new opportunity for increased “cooperativism,” we’re moving toward a true sharing or collaborative economy — one that is not controlled by a few large intermediary operators, but that is governed by and for the people.

    There’s nothing new about that, you might say — haven’t we heard these promises before? Wasn’t the mainstream deployment of the internet supposed to level the playing field for individuals and small businesses competing against corporate giants? And yet, as time went by, most of the promises and dreams of the early internet days faded away, as big giants formed and took control over our digital landscape.

    Today we have a new opportunity to fulfill these promises. Blockchain technology makes it possible to replace the model of top-down hierarchical organizations with a system of distributed, bottom-up cooperation. This shift could change the way wealth is distributed in the first place, enabling people to cooperate toward the creation of a common good, while ensuring that everyone will be duly compensated for their efforts and contributions.

    And yet nothing should be taken for granted.
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  7. Maybe you deleted the Uber app when they scabbed the deportation protest in New York, then re-installed it the next day because convenience outweighed your momentary dalliance with having principles. So here's a brief round-up of reasons why you should have stopped giving them your money years ago.

    I had hoped that I could just find someone else's round-up of all the reasons, but now I understand why I couldn't: there are so many and it's such a moving target
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2017-03-02)
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  8. Una importante riflessione andrebbe svolta su questo ultimo aspetto: il legame fra generazione e allocazione del valore generato. I modelli puri di sharing economy prevedono, non a caso, l’idea della contribuzione al valore, legando le remunerazione alla quota di valore aggiunto che ciascun partecipante al processo è in grado di apportare. Qui sta il grosso della sfida e delle aspettative cui questo fenomeno deve dare risposta: è o non è in grado di generare maggiori condizioni di uguaglianza, accesso e opportunità di cittadinanza rispetto ai modelli “business as usual”?

    Per rispondervi sto conducendo una ricerca ad hoc, su quanto la sharing economy consente la reinclusione nei processi economici di quote di cittadini esclusi dalla crisi economica e dai suoi effetti diretti ed indiretti.
    L’altro aspetto centrale, a mio avviso, è cogliere il portato dell’economia collaborativa come forma di evoluzione della sharing economy: non solo condividere asset per fargli riconquistare capacità produttiva, ma integrare gli obiettivi per cui quella condivisione ha luogo. Condividere i mezzi, certamente, ma in base ad una integrazione dei fini.

    Questa, secondo me, non è soltanto la sfida, quanto la missione sociale, economica e politica per cambiare il modello di sviluppo nella direzione dell’uguaglianza e del benessere.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-10-11)
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  9. A inizio giugno la Commissione europea ha pubblicato le linee guida del settore, mettendo in guardia i governi contro barriere e ostacoli. E in Italia l’Intergruppo parlamentare sull’innovazione prepara una proposta di legge per promuovere l’economia della condivisione, che, in pieno spirito collaborativo, è stata oggetto di una consultazione pubblica. Eppure questa rivoluzione dei consumi che molte città chiaramente incoraggiano inizia a preoccupare. Il potenziale economico della sharing economy non va naturalmente soffocato ma è altrettanto importante mitigare alcuni squilibri che, prevedibilmente, stanno emergendo.

    Proprio il caso di Airbnb sembra essere diventato emblematico del dibattito sul potenziale economico e i rischi legati alla sharing economy. Complice l’aumento della domanda turistica, e l’opportunità di un guadagno relativamente semplice, le offerte di strutture crescono esponenzialmente. Solo a Roma sono oltre 12mila gli alloggi pubblicizzati sulla piattaforma.

    Sulle questioni più urgenti – dai problemi legati alla sicurezza, a quelli legati alla tassazione, dal diritto del lavoro fino all’antitrust – sembra esserci consenso: servono nuove norme e e standard, quindi le amministrazioni un po’ in tutto il mondo si stanno muovendo velocemente. In Italia il dialogo tra Airbnb e i Comuni sembra essere proficuo.

    Le implicazioni di lungo periodo tuttavia potrebbero essere molto più complesse. La frammentazione e dinamicità del settore rendono il lavoro dei ricercatori difficile, ma i dati sembrano indicare che spesso i benefici economici e di rigenerazione urbana sono concentrati in quartieri specifici, mentre la potenziale distorsione sul mercato immobiliare potrebbe estendersi a tutta la città.

    Il problema si fa particolarmente spinoso quando i privati acquistano immobili proprio per offrirli per soggiorni più o meno brevi attraverso piattaforme come Airbnb e smettono di prendere in considerazione i normali contratti di locazione di lungo periodo. In alcuni casi parliamo di società che controllano decine se non centinaia di strutture. Questo fenomeno ha chiaramente il potenziale di distorcere interi segmenti del mercato immobiliare.

    Il resto della storia non è difficile da ipotizzare: il numero delle residenze disponibili diminuisce, il prezzo degli affitti sale, e le comunità locali devono lentamente spostarsi. I quartieri, spesso quelli centrali o storici, in pochi anni perdono identità e autenticità e diventano un pittoresco diversivo per visitatori di passaggio.
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  10. De Deelkelder, which translates into “partial basement” is a “tool library and more” in the Netherlands. The space has a mission to give people access to things they only need occasionally, such as a barbecue, tools, projectors, speakers and camping gear, so they can save money and avoid having to store items. The plan is to build an ecosystem of Libraries of Things. As the website explains, the vision is that each district has a physical place where people can borrow and loan things, meet each other, gather, and exchange experiences.
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