The news is full of their names, supposedly the vanguard of a rethinking of capitalism. Lyft, Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Uber, and many more companies have a mandate of disruption and upending the “old order”—and they’ve succeeded in effecting the “biggest change in the American workforce in over a century,” according to former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. But this new wave of technology companies is funded and steered by very old-school venture capitalists. And inWhat’s Yours Is Mine, technologist Tom Slee argues the so-called sharing economy damages development, extends harsh free-market practices into previously protected areas of our lives, and presents the opportunity for a few people to make fortunes by damaging communities and pushing vulnerable individuals to take on unsustainable risk. Drawing on original empirical research, Slee shows that the friendly language of sharing, trust, and community masks a darker reality.
Tom Slee writes about technology, politics, and economics and in the last two years has become a leading critic of the sharing economy. He has a PhD in theoretical chemistry, a long career in the software industry, and his bookNo One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart is a game-theoretical investigation of individual choice that has been used in university economics, philosophy and sociology courses. He lives in Waterloo, Canada and blogs at www.tomslee.net.
The so-called sharing economy has given the world taxi companies like Uber and accommodation companies like Airbnb. It is hailed as modern, progressive and unstoppable. Even Toronto Mayor John Tory, a notorious fogey, is a fan. But as Tom Slee writes in his authoritative new bookWhat’s Yours is Mine, the original idea, however laudable, has turned into something far darker.
InWhat’s Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy, Tom Slee, an author and blogger who also works in the software business, delivers a smart and searing critique of a business that people are only just beginning to think about in a serious way… . What makes his book hit harder than the endless expanses of online commentary is that Slee realises it isn’t just a matter of theory.
In a field crowded with tech-utopian blowhards and app-happy snake oil salesmen, Tom Slee stands apart. His laser-sharp insights about the real impact of popular start-ups on our livelihoods and communities are the perfect antidote to sharing economy hype. What’s Yours Is Mine is required reading for anyone interested in technology and economic justice.
The sharing economy landscape, as with the media landscape, begins to look totally different once you look at it not as a range of new types of business, but business as usual. Tom Slee, a British software designer living in Canada, released a book titledWhat’s Yours Is Mine, and in it, this is precisely what he does.
… his clear style, knowledge of his subject, and comprehensive bibliography makeWhat’s Yours is Mine a must-read.
[A] superbly argued book.
In this empirically and technically-informed critique, Slee shows how the "sharing economy" turned sharing into taking.
Slee is an extremely well-informed skeptic who presents a satisfyingly blistering critique of high tech’s disingenuous equating of sharing with profiteering. ….Should be close at hand for activists fighting the blind greed of Silicon Valley’s self-entitled profiteers.
Lucid and rigorous… Tom Slee dismantles the facade of the sharing economy, revealing hidden and often troubling truths about companies like Uber and Airbnb. If you want to understand how Internet businesses really operate,What's Yours is Mine is the place to start.
Tom Slee's essential new book shows that the sharing economy has very little to do with sharing. Slee uses wit, clarity, and facts to demolish the self-serving mythologies of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and figure out what Uber, Amazon and their kind are really up to.