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What’s Yours Is Mine: Against the “Sharing Economy”

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Original Language: English | 244 pp. | November 2015

2 Seas Represents: Dutch, French and Nordic rights.

Rights sold: Germany (Antje Kunstmann Verlag), Taiwan (Briefing Press), China (Ginkgo Book Co.), Canada (BTL Editions, English), Canada (Lux Editeur, French world rights), Spain (Taurus/PRH), UK/Commonwealth (Scribe),Brazil (Editora Elefante).

ECONOMY | NON-FICTION

Superbly argued…a brilliant chapter on how star-rating ‘reputation systems’ between users simply don’t work, because people feel bad about giving low ratings even when they are amply deserved, so they all cluster between four and five.” – Guardian Book of the Day

“Building upon his previous empirical critiques, Tom Slee explains how ‘sharing economy’ companies have used feel-good rhetoric to mask illiberal and irresponsible business models.” — Chris Jay Hoofnagle, lecturer in residence; faculty director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

“The Sharing Economy frames its critics as Luddites, bureaucrats and rent-seekers, but Tom Slee is none of these. A thoughtful technologist, Slee paints a well-researched picture of companies that have built up massive market valuations by externalizing their costs and sidestepping regulations designed to protect consumers. This book is clear-eyed and important.” — Sue Gardner, former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation

“In this lucid and rigorous book, Tom Slee dismantles the facade of the sharing economy, revealing hidden and often troubling truths about companies like Uber and Airbnb. If you want to understand how internet businesses really operate, What’s Yours Is Mine is the place to start.”  — Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows and The Glass Cage

A takedown of the so-called sharing economy. 

The news is full of their names, supposedly the vanguard of a rethinking of capitalism. Lyft, Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Uber, and many more companies have a mandate of disruption and upending the “old order”—and they’ve succeeded in effecting the “biggest change in the American workforce in over a century,” according to former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

But this new wave of technology companies is funded and steered by very old-school venture capitalists. And in What’s Yours Is Mine, technologist Tom Slee argues the so-called sharing economy damages development, extends harsh free-market practices into previously protected areas of our lives, and presents the opportunity for a few people to make fortunes by damaging communities and pushing vulnerable individuals to take on unsustainable risk.

Drawing on original empirical research, Slee shows that the friendly language of sharing, trust, and community masks a darker reality.

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