Mapping the Sharing Economy in Canberra
I had some difficulties understanding what this event was about. It seems to be in part about non-profit social organizations making use of the Internet and also in part about for-profit Internet social network based businesses. An example is the "sharing economy", where the Internet can be used to allow for resources to be shared more easily than they could be before. Some of this has been done by charities in the past, collecting and redistributing unwanted items, some by for-profit resellers but much has just gone to landfill, due to the high costs. A good example of a successful business are car share companies, such as GoGet.
One area where this model might be applied is education. There is a long tradition of co-operative forms of education, but these have suffered from the transaction costs and accreditation. The
Learning Exchanges of the 1970s would be an example of a form of cooperative education. At the other extreme, the Australian Prime Minister has proposed major corporations should design the school curriculum to produce trained workers for their company.
An aspect of this sharing approach is how they scale. One speaker this morning commented that their business did not take off until their were 10,000 subscribers. This may be a reason why this sharing approach has been difficult to get to work without the Internet, due to the start-up cost of an organization (even if it is non-profit and run by volunteers) which needs 10,000 participants to start delivering benefits.
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