Author Jeremy Rifkin describes the so-called “share economy” as “the first new economic system to emerge since the advent of socialism and capitalism in the 19th century” (“The ‘Share’ Economy Is Here to Stay,” July 6). New economic system? Really?
If these “sharers” are charging a fee for their services, and they are, then it is capitalism, pure and simple. In fact, it seems to be an attempt to return to the 19th-century system of laissez-faire capitalism under which businesses operated with little or no government regulation and were “free” to engage in child labor, racial and gender discrimination, and to subject their employees to unsafe working conditions and their customers to unhealthy products, including tainted foodstuffs.
Let’s not be dazzled by smiley-face sloganeering and appeals to high-tech mumbo-jumbo. Real sharing does not come with a price tag. And anything that does is just business as usual.