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The Peer-to-Peer Economy

774px-Albert_Anker_-_Stillleben_-_UnmässigkeitIn the past few months, I’ve been reading more and more about services that match (put together; connect) people who have something to sell or some service to provide with the people who are looking to buy it. This newer way of doing business, what people are calling the peer-to-peer economy, bypasses (goes around) the middleman (person between the seller and buyer, usually a salesperson). (A peer is someone who is like you in important ways, such as being the same age or with the same status, being in the same grade in school, having the same skills, etc.)

For a few years now, people have been using websites like Airbnb that match people who have accommodations (a place to sleep and stay) to rent for a short time with people who are visiting a city and want a place to stay. It could be as simple as a free sofa, bed, or bedroom to an entire apartment or house. This often cheaper and more roomy (with more space) alternative (other choice) to hotels is appealing (attractive) to many people.

More recently, people have begun to use smartphone apps (computer programs) to give and get rides (transportation in a car or other vehicle), similar to a taxi service. Instead of calling a taxi, you go on the app to see if someone in your area is available to give you a ride. In Los Angeles, for example, actors, musicians, or other people in the entertainment industry (business) with time between auditions (interviews for a performance job) or jobs can make some money this way. There are now companies that screen (check; investigate) a driver’s and car’s records and make sure the person has a proper license, registration (properly registered with the government), and insurance (an agreement with a company to help pay for damages or healthcare costs in case of accidents). Like renting a room in someone’s house, this type of ride service is typically less expensive than using established (already there) services.

New to me until recently are services that allow people to sell a place at their dinner table. Let’s say you’re visiting a new city or a new country and you want to eat some authentic food of that place, perhaps a home-cooked (meal cooked in a home, not a restaurant or bought from a store) meal. You can use these new services to find someone wiling to cook you that meal, or allow you to join them for a meal, and experience what it is like to eat with locals (people who live there) the type of food that a local eats.

For people who are struggling (having difficulty) in the poor economy of recent years, this type of peer-to-peer service helps to make ends meet (earn enough money to pay for the necessary things to live). For others, it’s a way to supplement (add to) their earnings (pay).

Are these types of services available where you live? Have you participated in the peer-to-peer economy? If not, would you consider renting out a room in your home, giving someone a ride in your car, or cooking them a meal in your own home?

- Lucy

Image Credit: Albert Anker-Stillleben from Wikipedia

20 Responses to “The Peer-to-Peer Economy”

  1. Dan Says:

    Hello Lucy, thanks.

    The only thing that gets closer to those kind of services I tried out in the past, was a website for language exchange.

    I would consider it, why not? I do not have that much to share though.

    My car is tiny and, let’s say, not new (2001).
    My apartment is just 50 square meters with just one bedroom, for me and my three cats.

    That is it! all I have.

    At the moment I am carpooling with a coworker. Is that considered peer to peer economy? anyway, I am saving money.

    Hey guys, do you think the Government could be considered the middlemen?
    They want our money and tax everything. They want to suck our blood. They are like leeches.

    I do not know, it is ok having taxes and regulations but not too much.
    I think they should close an eye and leave some freedom to the people of making money in those new ways.
    Hey, does that make me a republican? I am not sure, I have not a political party.

    Practicing peer to peer, as one of the interviewed said, is a cultural change.
    Not a bad idea, there is room from everything in this world, even for this peer to peer.

    And think that we are just at the beginnings with this technology that allows us to share at a global scale.
    I wonder what next.

    thanks

  2. Dan Says:

    Ok guys, rereading myself I reckon that I suck as they say.

    Keep in mind I am getting up at 4:40 this week, and that make my brain a pulp.

    Hey Myo! HI! how are you?:-)

  3. Steve Says:

    I have reader with many pleasure about the peer to peer… I’m an Italian and I live in Tuscany Precisely in Florence and my personal experience about your present blog is very grateful because since two years I host for a medium period an American student in my home. Prevalently are male student and I can say that I have met and lived special persons so much polite and disponibile to help me on home works… This is a fantastic way to improve a language because between of us in anything we making and saying our interests are of change information and education. I’m an assiduous reader of your blog like I have a subscription with prof. Jeff’s English lessons, in two years I have reached an interesting level of English’s comprehension in a unexpected way and fast time like say Jeff anytime. You have a fantastic way to learn English and everything is easier than other classic method of learning. I an 48 years old and thanks my peer to peer and yours Eslpod I learned so much thongs… I feel my mind always open to receive new information and every day my knowledge grow up quickly and enjoyably… Thanks to that I have began to travel oversea in particular in USA…. In the beautiful California… It’s a fantastic state with fantastic people and my dream is to live there a day… I left a little bit of my heart in California and I’m so glad every time Jeff repeat ….. In beautiful Los Angeles California…. Thanks Lucy and thanks so much Jeff you are my preferred teachers and American friends…. Have a wonderful life…. Bye Stefano

  4. Myo ko ko Says:

    It is a good service indeed.
    When I was an university student, two of my friends and a few others stayed at other friends’
    houses instead of renting a flat.
    I’m not sure it can be called one form of peer-to-peer economy.

    Also, I should mention this experience –
    After I graduated, me and five other friends of mine decided to go to the Yangon, the “then”( I think because
    now the new capital of Myanmar is Nay Pyi Daw.) capital, to search for a job.
    As you all know, I was born in a small town in a remote area. And grads from rural areas usually
    go to the big cities in order to work with a compromised income. That is one reason I’m here in this city.
    So, to go on my story, we had to rent an apartment to stay in and we altogether (all six guys!) stayed in that flat.
    Well, I know six guys (but no cats! ;) ) in an unroomy flat is not something comfortable!
    But we could save a lot of bucks (money) on that.

    So, Lucy, I’m sure this cannot be called a peer-to-peer system.
    But we can call this a peer-WITH-peer economy system, I think. ;)

    Thank you, Lucy, for the post.
    And for the another use of this word “screen.”

    Myo ko ko
    An assiduous (regular, but not hard-working! ;) ) blogger here.

    P.S.
    We no longer stay at that flat. Some of us are working at different places throughout the country and some are working at overseas.
    And I also remember the meals and dishes we’ve had — there were a lot of boiled potatoes, tomatoes, and onions in them! ;)

  5. emiliano Says:

    A fantastic marvelous idea Lucy I do think it is but here as long as I know nothing about Peer-to-Peer economy or similar.
    Living a Crisis so big what has happened here in Spain, it could be similar to Peer-to-Peer, it has been that lot of couples
    or families have to go and live with their old parents.
    Retired people are now sharing salary, house and food with their sons or daughters as they have lost their houses, work,
    and hopes.

    Peer-to-Peer economy could be a good way to make and easy way of living for lot of persons, but Spanish people are too
    proud to admint the are going through troubles, and it is really difficult to find a Spanish family to share their food, or
    their house, with some other persons circumstantially to get some money.

    It is not our character and it is a pity.
    Years ago we were going to have a Russian girl at home after being our daughter Laura in St. Petesburg, but it was cancelled
    and it was not possible.

    It comea to my memory once that living with my parents and being 22 years old I was offering home to an English boy who
    was awaiting some money from his country England that didn´t come and he had nothing to eat.
    So I asked my mother if I could offered he home to have dinner with us, all my family, parents and sisters, my mother who
    was a nice soul said to me, yes Emiliano you can bring him our house to stay and eat, so I told the boy he could go with me
    home and have dinner with us all my family.

    I was working in the Bank so the boy, who didn´t speak a Word in Spanish, wait for me at three p.m. and we go together home
    and have dinner along nearly towo weeks.
    All my family were amused with the English boy that eats a lot, I do think it was the only meal he had in full day.
    It was in July and after so good meal all the family went to the bed and have a nap, the boy said it was a stupid custome to
    nap every day after dinner but he was the first who fall asleep after having such a good meal and after one or two hours
    snoring he left home till next day at 3 p.m. at the door of the Bank.

    Yes, it was a Peer-to-Peer situaation but without receiving any money, poor English boy waiting at the Bank´s door to have
    an incredible meal with and Spanish family of five persons he didn´t know, he only could spoke with me, ja,ja, it was really
    very funny and my mother was absolutely nice and in a good position to cook the meals.

    ++++++

    Steve you are very welcome here in the blog, please try to write as much as possible and feel free absolutely to tell us
    wich ever thing you like.
    Florence? Incredible nice beautiful city where I could live so well as in Madrid. Yes, Florence it is one of my best Cities….in the
    world.

    *****

    Thanks a lot dear Lucy, nice subject to talk about.

    emiliano

  6. emiliano Says:

    Sorry, this family story was on the sixty years, may be on 1967 and yes we did Peer-to-Peer on those times.

    Nice remembering……..

    emiliano

  7. Parviz Says:

    Hi Lucy,
    Very much thanks for introducing this new kind of service.
    As long as I remember it has been usual between my friend (or relatives) to inform each other about the new events, inventions or opportunities.
    To tell the truth, this is the first time someone tells a name for this kind of business (service).
    The first reason for this industry to be going on for long time- here- is because majority of us are native born- and by that they know each other- communicate each other and inform each other when something new comes up.
    On the contrary, Los Angeles is very big and wide, and Angelinoes may not be acquainted with each other as we do here. Many people in LA are not native Angelino. And even though they have lived there for a long time They may not Know other people farther than their neighbors. Which is, of course, both good and bad.
    The bad thing is, it may get lonely. The good thing is You don’t have to be accountable to everyone for everything you do.
    _________
    I live in a big city where I emigrated here 4 years ago.
    I know I would be more successful, if I have had some friends who could help me out with peer to peer economy.
    People are comfortable dealing with strangers, unless someone recommend you to them.
    _______________
    After 4 years of living here, I could eventually find some friends.
    A friend of mine is, actually, very very sociable. I admit he is very good at peer-to-peer economy.
    He runs a supermarket, not far from where I live. I might go to hep him whit sale, sometimes.
    Not only me, but most of his other friends would come over and we would meet for a 3-hour chat, each night.
    My friend is a real assistance center. You can believe it, his cellphone holds more Phone number than every one I know.
    He provides every service- from buying you some bread from the bakery to referring you to a surgeon.
    Of course, he doesn’t do it all by himself, but using his friends.
    —–This time I am doing you a favor and next time you will do a favor to me, and so one—-I scratch your back and you scratch my back.

    The interesting thing is that the service if free or- in the case of a doctor-it costs next to nothing.
    I love this new industry.
    And hopefully it will work for every one to lighten the burden of daily life.
    Thanks,
    Parviz

  8. Parviz Says:

    Sorry——people are not comfortable dealing with ———–

    Dan
    May be you should get out of your comfort zone, sometimes (No offense).
    Don’t clutch at your car and apartment. They are not loyal.
    You don’t want to live one time for 90 years, you want to live 90 times every day, instead. But that is not possible, if you are not a risk taker.
    _____________
    Of course, the government is a BIG middleman- with due respects to your governments- who takes from poor and give it to the rich.
    But beside all the negatives that can be counted for the government, I am happy that The government has provided peace for every one.
    There is no uprising every day, insurgents are not going to make the country a hell of chaos.
    That is what I more like having a strong government, with some disadvantages.
    In the case of economy, I guess it is up to people to make it moving.
    There are many options for practicing, and Peer-to-peer economy is one good way to make sure every one gets a decent shot of life.
    Thanks to Lucy, I know have another way to go with.
    Thanks,
    Parvis

  9. emiliano Says:

    This morning I have been watching the photos of Mr. Obama in Mandela´s funeral.

    Funny, to see him and his wife Michelle, as he is talking with Denmark beautiful
    President laughing and having a good time together while Michelle is with a hard
    gesture in her face.

    He is a man like you Dan, like me, or like Jeff, a nice beautiful blonde and we
    go crazy with her forgeting where we are, and that several cameras are watching
    everything we do or to whom we talk.

    Poor Michelle that has to change her seat with her husband to avoid that
    nice talking.
    Just incredible funny situation………..??????

    emiliano

  10. Tania Says:

    Hi! The first snow this winter, this night. It is snowing…covering all our problems.

    Best wishes,

    Tania

  11. Dan Says:

    Hey there everyone

    Always an enjoyment reading everyone here.
    Hey guys, I think that drugs companies are not telling the truth or half of it.

    Yesterday, I took a few pills expired 9/2011 and it still worked.
    I wanted to throw it away, but I did not and gave it a try. I am glad I did so ’cause the problem was, say, unnerving
    I only tell you it was a vasodialtor drug.

    I am probably thinking too much, pushing myself too hard, I guess.

    I am not perfect, sometimes even I that see a doctor every three or four year experience some little issue.
    I do not usually take medications, just an aspirin every once in a while.

    Thanks

  12. Dan Says:

    Hey Emiliano,

    I was listening to Pavarotti on youtube “nessun dorma” “la donna è mobile” “vesti la giubba” he was great.

    Do you like him? I think it is worth remembering him just for the time one is reading this.

    Thanks

  13. Myo ko ko Says:

    Hi Dan
    I’m fine. Thanks for your greetings.
    Don’t take out-of-date tablets, my friend!
    They can harm your health.
    Don’t be a penny-pincher in buying medicine.

    By the way, you said you’re single and cook meals yourself.
    Why don’t you find a partner?
    Give this issue a second thought?
    If you had a spouse, she would get meals ready for you and more importantly feed your three cats!
    See, this couple, Emiliano & Cuca.
    What a nice merry life they have!

    Dan,
    Think it over. Get the pros and forget the flip side of it.
    (Emiliano, Parviz. . . please help me in pushing Dan to take this matter seriously . . . ha ha ha)
    Well, don’t get me wrong. I’m just giving you a good tip! ;)

    Myo ko ko
    (Not from a dating company!)

  14. Willy Says:

    I like the home-cooked service. I find it interesting.

  15. emiliano Says:

    He Myo Ko Ko,
    I would like to give an advise to Dan but I can´t and there is some reason for that my friend that
    Dan knows perfectly well.

    There is a saying here in Spanish that says “mejor solo que mal acompañado”

    “Better to be alone than badly accompanied” and it is a good advise Myo Ko Ko.

    Cats are always good nice friends and don´t disturb, ja, ja,

    He Tania, you feel happy with the snow like every Winter, it has to be beautiful
    in the mountains.
    Take care and be alert not to meet Vlad in your walk along the forest.
    emiliano

  16. Aécio Flávio Perim Says:

    Myo is right. Taking old tablets can make you worse than you were before instead. Good advice, Myo! Wise words.
    Aecio from Saturn.

  17. Parviz Says:

    Hi Tania,
    Here we are also experiencing our first snow falling, this year.
    I have been meaning to ask you why have you become so rare appearing on this blog?
    You rival the full moon, showing up only one occasion a moth!
    Anyway, I hope your problems will fade away with this snow and a nice happy year awaits you.
    Cheers,
    Parviz

  18. emiliano Says:

    Yes, I like Pavaroti´s voice very much it is unique, but he wasn´t a very good actor
    doing the roles in the Operas.
    Just a pity as sometimes it is necessary to be good actor too.

    The perfect one is who have to two or three significat characteristics, good voice, bell
    canto, conditions to sing a large repertory but beside just to be a good actor that is
    absolutely fundamental.

    For instance Cecilia Bartoli have all of them, just to mention only one, but there are
    several.
    I we talk about men Placido Domingo have also all of them and he is active yet.

    There are very good Opera singers and good actors too, this is absolutely necessary
    to be one ot the greatest.

    Pavaroti have a lot of conditions by all means, but as an actor I didn´t like him very
    much, just a pity as singing he was one of the best and may be the one I like more.

    Incredible voice and conditions to sing, just unique but a pity he was so quiete
    in the scene.

    Of course this is my opinión, nothing more.

    My best Dan.

    emiliano

  19. Parviz Says:

    Sorry ESL friends–
    —showing up one occasion a month—

  20. Lassana Says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks Lucy for this topic. I thinks this kind of practice is very smart.
    Peer-to-peer economy is very good for people, because they can share things among each other.

    The services offer by certain companies are beneficial to people, that allows them to get more choice.
    The services are more closest to their needs.

    exchange a flat with an other person, when we travel for vacation can be convenient and simple.
    The transportation with a car can also be a good alternative and cheap compared to a taxi.

    The best usefulness about peer-to-peer economy I think is the participation at event like markets outside.
    People go there in order to exchange clothes, toys, material and much other things.
    No sale is accepted here, it is the rule !

    These events are always a success here in France !

    See you soon

    Lassana