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[Talk] Tracing the Constellation of Actors in the Peer Economy - 4/16 @ 12pm

By andresmh6 months ago - permalink

Tags: talks peer economy sharing economy future of work

Tomorrow (4/16) we’ll have a Denise Cheng from MIT presenting her research on the peer economy. This is what she has to say about it: 

Americans’ normative understanding of work is imploding. Throughout most of the twentieth century Americans equated landing a job to a lifetime of smooth sailing. In recent decades, faith in gainful employment has collapsed, and other models are emerging to fill the void. The peer economy is one such model.

Whether by radio, by newspaper or by screen, you cannot miss it. Stories abound about hobbyists who sell crafts on Etsy. Dwellers use Airbnb to rent out parts of their living space to travelers. Ordinary people who use their cars as private drivers for a few hours a day. This is the peer economy. At its base are online, peer-to-peer marketplaces that enable people to monetize skills and assets they already have. Peer economy platforms equip suppliers or providers with tools that empower them to transact with strangers and, in turn, depend on these transactions for ongoing income.
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I lay out the expanse of the peer economy and why it is so exciting. The flexibility of working in the peer economy brings in many people who are defined out of the traditional workplace—homecarers, the elderly, the mentally disabled, alongside the underemployed college graduate. Powering this momentum on a macro level are investors, companies, corporations, scholars, policymakers, and more. On the micro-level, however, there are very real risks, and I will detail known problems in the space, including tax remittance, regulatory skirmishes, liability, and operational costs. 
Finally, the peer economy’s expanse is also why it is so confusing. Peer economy, sharing economy, collaborative economy, crowdsourcing… liberal use of these terms have led to widespread misunderstandings. I suggest that inaccurate terminology leaves the peer economy vulnerable to criticism and peer economy users in limbo as policy begins to take shape.
 
Denise is a M.Sc. candidate in Comparative Media Studies and Research Assistant at MIT Center for Civic Media, she searches the future of work, specifically how to configure a worker support infrastructure around people who earn income on peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Etsy, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, and UberX. As a a former Peace Corps volunteer, the project lead of a well-reputed citizen journalism outlet, and many other stints on the way to MIT, her roots are in the future of news, media/digital literacy, media justice work, and community building. Denise has a B.Phil in Cultural and Participatory Journalism from Miami University of Ohio. Like a moth to a flame, she is drawn to DIY media, neighborhoods, design of all types and creating frameworks—media expression or fulfilling work—that enable people to pursue what they find meaningful.

This talk will be held in Microsoft Building 112, second floor at noon. Email andresmh@microsoft.com for more details. 

Photo from OuiShare on Flickr

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