by Randolph J. May, Michael J. Horney
Free State Foundation
July 31, 2014
New markets of individual buyers and sellers have emerged from the ability of Internet users to avail themselves of innovative online applications. Services like Airbnb and Uber allow people with underused goods – like an apartment or a car, respectively – to connect via Internet with people who will pay to “share” them. This “sharing economy” is a powerful engine of economic growth, yet now it is under attack by regulation from state and local governments that see it as disruptive to existing marketplaces. Individuals have always been able to sell or borrow goods and services through yard sales and community markets, but the Internet has changed the process with a faster, easy-to-use information exchange. In order for the new sharing economy business models to continue enhancing overall consumer welfare and our nation’s economy, a market-oriented and deregulatory perspective must become a shared vision.