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‘It is like eating a meatball at a gasstation, you are allowed to be ashamed of it.’ These are the words of dutch comedian Arjen Lubach in one of the episodes of his show. But what was it about? There are many things to be ashamed about: Those extra beers, the excess studentweight, or the amount of pandapoints you have. No, Lubach was talking about the usage of Airbnb. The rental of housing causes a lot of nuisance for the residents in the neighborhood and many of the houses are rented out illegaly. There are more disadvantages to the sharing economy. UBER, who wants to go public, also took some damage to their reputation. Today we are going to talk about the sharing economy.

Many people also refer to it as the platform economy. The inventors, mainly people from Silicon Valley, start with a nobel cause: Share and redistribute. But very quickly these inventors change to money hungry investors who become detached from reality. They get a good profit from every transaction, use a lot of your data and advertisements are sold continuously. Dont understand me wrong, the sharing economy is the future. It reduces waste and promotes social contact, but unfortunately there are to many big corporations who try to exploit the users of the sharing economy. 

Most absurd about the sharing economy is, it raises income inequality. The idea was originally, that the people who can not afford to purchase goods could rent it for a cheap price. The renter can make a small income where he could not before. In reality rich people are buying stuff to rent out through one of these platforms. There are many cases of landlords investing in real estate so they can rent it out through Airbnb. Also the platform Peerby, where people can rent out tools, has many of these free-market pirates. This is a cause of increasing income inequality and thus nullifies the original goal.

But this column is written by someone who is a big advocate of the rising sharing economy. You just need to watch with who you share and what the intention is of the other person. A tip is to look closely at how many times the good has been rented out. If it happens too many, that is often a bad sign. Another tip is to read the reviews about the platorm itself. There are probably many people who used it before you, so use their knowledge.

Also you can be a part of the sharing economy! This does not take much effort, but will give you many returns. Next to goods are many other things you can share. One of the most important things we possess is knowledge. You are probably highly educated and possess a big healthy brain, so use it. Not only for yourself, but also for others. Share your knowledge, tutor someone, discuss with others and see where it takes you. I have been told that the smartest person in the room is dumbest, because he can not learn anymore from the others. I do not believe this anymore. We all have our own opinions, references and points of expertise. It is impossible to not learn anything from others. Share your knowledge and knowledge will be shared.

In the study of economics we study about the distribution of scarce goods. One scarce we good we all have is time. It is not infinite and we trade in it. When we provide labor our income is mainly based on how much hours you work. You can use time also in another way: Share it! Use your time to help the people around you. Help the old lady with getting across the street. Help your neighbors moving their stuff. Take the time to talk to those who have it really hard.