Trust In The Age Of The Sharing Economy

Jul 9, 2014
Originally published on July 9, 2014 12:41 pm

Until recently, there were a few gems of conventional wisdom followed by most: don’t get into a stranger’s car; don’t open your door to someone you don’t know; don’t lend out your valuables. Well, those rules — and so many more — are being upended by the way we’re now living.

“If it was really true that we didn’t trust people, Airbnb wouldn’t exist.”

The advent of a slew of Internet businesses, like Airbnb and Lyft (sometimes called the “sharing economy”), as well as Tinder, change the way we interact with strangers. Wired executive editor Jason Tanz says they’re fundamentally changing how we trust one another.

“It’s a little bit of humanity in what was, previously, a fairly impersonal transaction,” he told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “If you look at how our economy has developed after the industrial revolution, the whole idea is building systems so you don’t have to know or trust the people you’re interacting with.”

These online services are designed to help people trust one another, Tanz says.

“When there are systems put in place to help safeguard your interactions and help give you information about the people who are providing these services to you, it turns out that people are willing to go that extra mile once that bridge is breached. If it was really true that we didn’t trust people, Airbnb wouldn’t exist.”

Guest

Copyright 2014 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.