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Recycling Use, Gig Economy, Ethical Economics

The Gig Economy: Recycling Use

  • by
  • 4 Sep 2018

The link between sustainable practices and the growing Gig Economy establishes changing social attitudes throughout the consumer market. As individuals are taking agency over their products and services, we witness a recycling of purpose that transforms our original single-user structure into a multi-profitable platform that serves many, as opposed to the one.

These liberally progressive socio-technical companies, such as Uber, AirBnB, and Deliveroo, promote alternate routes to success within the labour market. Through shifting work practices to the freelance community, identifying underused products, and marketing these to social needs, we enter an efficient use of both product and person, that is more profitable.

Take behavioural trends in the consumer market, for a physical example. Organisations are distancing from single use products and companies are encouraging paperless initiatives, refillable water bottles and coffee cups. People are looking to make the most out of products that would have otherwise been wasted, and these social behaviours seems to have flown into the hyper-growth of our Gig Economy and its workers.  

In the Gig Economy, if a single user has a surplus of unused assets, then the product is rented to another user to gain additional value in a timeframe where it would have otherwise been left unused. Peers are optimising each opportunity for use to encourage minimal time or product wastage through reallocating use to another for a prearranged time, normally for a monetary gain. Overall, these efforts to recycle and redistribute use are driving towards a more sustainable economic system that minimises waste in peer-to-peer markets.

Take AirBnB as an example, the accommodation sharing platform. Without reassigning a consumer’s need for accommodation to the otherwise empty property, that flat/house/cottage etc. would have not gained the value the consumer would have brought. Through comparing the two scenarios, it is evident that the accommodation loses potential value when unused, whereas the gig economy attempts to override any loss of potential value through optimising otherwise wasted use of the property.

The social movement that rewrites traditional market models and introduces these new means for economic activity has the potential to outpace leaders within centralised economies. Observing the Uber’s rate of global growth, identifies a competitive edge throughout domestic markets. The digitised market shift relies on the peer-to-peer market that has reliable trust networks built through their online communications and rating systems.

Of course, as we move into new decentralised economies we will be met with new challenges.

Throughout the last 12 months, we have been watching the slow regulation of Uber as a taxi company. We are witnessing industrial conflict as there are struggles to adapt and change. These niche empowerments for the drivers are detailed as unchecked powers within an unregulated market place. And before these markets spiral, institutions are placing caps on the growth of the Gig Economy in the car and ride market to analyse current statistics on employment and the environment.

There is a call to disrupt the Gig Economy’s market disruption as inefficiencies become evident. Stemming from the car and ride market, this may be a movement that filters through other verticals within the Gig Economy (peer-to-peer employment, and resources).  This developed niche within the market can be viewed as a series of socio-digital experiments that yield potential to promote sustainable consumption practices among peers.

For a deeper evaluation of this subject please see:

https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/jaro2017/HEN445/um/67863091/67863283/Martin_2016_The_sharing_economy_1_1_.pdf

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