The sharing economy is characterized by individuals sharing, renting or loaning products belonging to other individuals, without gaining ownership of the products. This is a brand new way of doing business and it raises a series of questions about consumer safety, labor rights, and what services and products it is legal to trade. These are all questions that the present legislation is not geared to answer yet.
There is no simple answer on how to balance the sharing economy’s potentials and dilemmas. It is a political issue that the government wants to answer through a strategy that is making use of the potentials in the sharing economy while taking the citizen’s experiences into account.
“People who share their car with others, do it because they think it is a good idea. And it should preferably continue to be a good idea after the new legislation.”
– Henrik, provider of lifts through the service GoMore
MindLab interviewed eight people who all have experience as either buyers or suppliers in the sharing economy. Through the interviews it became apparent that the sharing economy is tied to a social contract founded in trust between the persons involved. Based on this and other insights MindLab made a series of idea-workshops with the employees of the Ministry of Business and Growth. The focus of the workshops was on how to ensure high consumer protection, so the new legislation can balance a support to the social contract on one hand and a supplementary regulation in cases where the social contract cannot stand alone on the other.
The Ministry of Business and Growth will launch the strategy for growth through the sharing economy in 2016.