The Impact of P2P Production on the Global Economy

Introduction

While the sharing economy is minuscule compared to the overall market, its significance is increasingly rising. PwC estimates that within ten years, five major sharing economy sectors (finance, staffing, accommodation, automotive, streaming) will account for more than 50% of global revenue. Inevitably, the economic shift will be accompanied by a formation of a new social fabric. The new demographic will behave differently directly impacting consumption and employment.

Typically, sharing or “P2P” is considered to be the backbone of modern business disruption. However, it is important to consider a scenario where the same magnitude of disruption can affect the whole economy. An economy based purely on collaboration is unlikely to be possible for many reasons, such as patents and monopolistic behaviour. Despite this sentiment, some of the formalities that arise in a peer to peer or “commons” economy can be implemented alongside the current market system.

Employment

Assuming that automatisation will continue at current pace and information will no longer be owned by a corporation; two outcomes will be occur. A universal basic income will be introduced as a result of a high level of automation. Secondly, information will flow through a centralised hub, available for public use and consumption. The twin outcomes will become a strong facilitator of the p2p production apparatus which will enable it to work in autonomous fashion.

Almost every product in the 21st century carries information within it. As information becomes centralised for public use, marginal costs of production will start to fall rapidly. The requirement for labour will start to follow the plunge in costs. Consequently, the majority of goods will be priced so low, that work will become a choice, rather than necessity. This type of work flexibility is already being observed as a result of disruptive technology. Approximately 2.7 million Americans work as independent contractors…

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