The sharing economy’s rapid growth since 2008 is no secret. Decreasing household incomes, the increasing prevalence of technology in everyday life, and the rising demand for sustainable goods and services have fueled the sharing economy’s popularity. While plenty of experts discuss the different ways the sharing economy has and will continue to change dynamics of daily life in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, others see the potential for sharing trends and services in the developing world.
Urban Development in Latin America
It’s easy to forget that while many sharing platforms were first developed and tested in metropolises like New York City and San Francisco, some of their biggest user bases are located in emerging markets that might not share U.S. cities’ infrastructure and near-universal internet access. For instance, in 2016 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, ranked third in the world for available Airbnb bookings – just behind New York City and Paris, France. Services like Airbnb and Uber help bridge the ‘digital gap’ between emerging markets and the developed world, as they require users to set up online accounts with banks or other payment services in order to engage in transactions on a platform.
In Rio De Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and other South American cities municipal governments have hosted ‘civic hackathons’ to solve logistical problems in waste management or tourism. They provide participants access to relevant data in order to facilitate innovative solutions. While these events don’t utilize a specific sharing platform, they embody the trend and value of collaboration popularized by the sharing economy.
Sharing Trend Spotlight: Community Supported Agriculture
In areas with less infrastructure and access to technology, people rely on locally produced goods and services to sustain themselves. In remote, agricultural locations Community Supported Agriculture has become a popular method of exchange and tool for growth. Consumers pledge a fixed amount of money to a farmer in exchange for a share of the crop produced. The investor’s capital funds the crop’s growth and receives hand-delivered crops after the harvest. Local websites allow farmers and investors to maintain contact throughout the growing season and communicate about the crop’s progress. While Community Supported Agriculture largely functions without a particular sharing economy platform, it reflects the global trend towards peer-to-peer transactions that result in stronger social cohesion and mutual economic benefit for the parties involved.