At a very high level, the shared economy is a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes a wide range of applications, such as Uber, BlaBlaCar, TaskRabbit, Airbnb, RelayRides, Getaround, Liquid.
Some of these applications provide an alternative to formal marketplaces, some are becoming businesses in their own right in competition with more established companies. Others act more as socio-economic networks, involving little or no financial transaction. Some are in between the two, with participants not required to pay formal fees but invited to make “donations”.
Whatever the economic model, the shared economy has revived an age old idea (that of pooling resources among like-minded people) but projecting it on a much greater scale, and putting in contact people who do not know each other but have something to share. This is resulting in a mushrooming of applications, with great benefits for consumers and citizens.