The sharing economy refers to move toward the free trade of goods and services rather than the use of money to represent value. This harkens back to a time before civilization – when we would have made deals with one another by discussing what we could offer our friends and fellow tribesmen and women.
Money is more practical but it of course creates great inequality and countless other problems. But thanks to the internet, trade is back in a big way. That’s because it’s now possible to ask an entire community for goods and services from the comfort of your home. Got something you need done? Just check the app and see if there’s someone in the local area willing to do it in exchange for something you can do.

Some of the most innovative businesses in recent memory have been built on this notion. Here are a few of them…

Uber
Uber is a taxi company that does away with the taxis. The idea is that anyone can sign up and then offer lifts through the app and that users will then have the convenience of being able to choose their driver based on their fee and how far away from them. Bottom line is that getting a lift is now much cheaper and the taxi industry is quaking in its boots.

AirBnB
AirBnB is to hotels what Uber is to taxis. In other words, this is a tool that lets you find accommodation without paying over the odds for a hotel. Instead, you’re paying to stay in someone front room, their outhouse or their holiday home. And if you have some spare space yourself, there’s nothing to prevent you making a little money from that!

Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing takes this concept one step further by allowing users to invite people to stay on their couches completely for free! The only expectation is that they extend the same offer to other users and that way, they can guarantee they have a free place to stay as they travel anywhere in the world!

Shpock
Shpock is a ‘bootsale app’ meaning that it allows you to make money by selling your old things that you don’t need any more to people in the local area. It’s a great way to make money from something small that you wouldn’t be able to sell elsewhere and it’s a great way to get cheap things. And you can even trade things directly, doing away with the need for cash!

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