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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Scientist describes Uber, Airbnb as new model for sustainable society

An environmental social scientist at The University of Manchester, Dr Chris Martin, has described the duo of Uber and Airbnd as new model way of building a sustainable society, reports NaijaAgroNet.

He also said that this new form of consumption could be rolled out to bolster the sustainability of other day-to-day functions including production, education, banking and transport and further described the Silicon Valley success stories like Uber and Airbnb as paving the way to a more sustainable global society.

The ‘sharing economy’ model, he said, has seen a boom in the collaborative use of services, which has come under criticism for disrupting traditional and independent business activity.

Dr. Martin contended that it is bad for business in his new paper, The sharing economy: a pathway to sustainability or a nightmarish form of neoliberal capitalism? published online in the journal Ecological Economics this week, that radically decentralising economic activity and allowing people shared access to services and resources is more than just an economic opportunity for big business and an employment solution for governments.

“This decentralised, online model of economic activity has significant sustainability potential but it is currently being overlooked by big players who are focused on the commercial aspects,” he declared, explaining that the potential, and the appetite, for a sharing economy promotes social sustainability, in addition to environmental sustainability and economic growth. 

“The core ideas and technologies behind Airbnb and Uber could also be used to empower citizens and civic society to participate in previously centralised activities, be that more open education, car-pooling or microfinance models in place of traditional banking,” Martins said.

For him, the taxi giant Uber and holiday rental firm Airbnb are at the tip of the sharing economy iceberg, underscoring that policy-makers, innovators and entrepreneurs need to look beyond the idea of ‘sharing’ just service industries. Rather, they could focus on exploiting the potential of the sharing economy to reduce overall consumption and create a more equitable, sustainable economy and society.

  Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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