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Welcome to TIME’s subscriber Q&A with TIME columnist, Joel Stein, who wrote this week’s cover story on his experience working with the “sharing economy” companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, RelayRides, Yerdle and others. He is the author of Man Made: A Stupid Quest For Masculinity.
deconstructive asks, Joel, thanks for your detailed story on the sharing economy. We can indeed enjoy the potential benefits of peer-to-peer deals and cutting out some of the middleman. But of course, however, there is the flip side, aka the dark side - risks of people assuming liabilities (that companies would traditionally take one) and missing out on protections under government regulation - as Uber is famous for skirting around regulations. But perhaps an even worse risk is to the job market itself as sharing companies' "creative destruction" displaces jobs - cab drivers may not always be the most pleasant people, but they have to eat too, and not all may be able to get jobs with Uber. Hotel workers too when home-sharing takes off, etc. So how do YOU think we can solve the problems of displacing jobs and liabilities so everyone (literally) can truly benefit from sharing and access - and still remain employed at a living wage?