Sharing the Cost of the Sharing Economy
Technological innovation is allowing a radical decentralization of our economy. From 3D printing to ridesharing apps to crowdfunding, technology is cutting the middle-man out of economic transactions. In doing so, it is lowering costs, increasing efficiencies, and giving both consumers and small entrepreneurs new opportunities. However, as economic transactions become decentralized, they become more difficult to regulate. How can we maintain the extraordinary benefits of technological innovation, while still advancing the legitimate goals of regulation: promoting our health, safety, and privacy, and preventing a debilitating fragmentation of our society? Recent attempts to regulate Uber and Airbnb show how difficult this problem can be.
Reuel Schiller is a professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. His research and teaching focuses on the regulatory state, legal history, and labor and employment law. His is the author, most recently, of Forging Rivals: Race, Class, Law and the Collapse of Postwar Liberalism.