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Matthew Feeney joins us for a discussion on how the so‐​called “sharing economy” undermines the regulatory establishment and makes people’s lives better.

Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor
Trevor Burrus
Research Fellow, Constitutional Studies

Matthew Feeney is the director of Cato’s Project on Emerging Technologies, where he works on issues concerning the intersection of new technologies and civil liberties. . Before coming to Cato, Matthew worked at Reason magazine as assistant editor of Rea​son​.com. He has also worked at The American Conservative, the Liberal Democrats, and the Institute of Economic Affairs. Matthew is a dual British/​American citizen and received both his B.A and M.A in philosophy from the University of Reading in England.

This week we’re talking about Uber, Airbnb, and other business models that are based on “sharing” human and physical resources, often using information technology to facilitate these transactions. In other words, the sharing economy.

How do these new business models work? Are they even all that new?

Are consumer feedback systems effectively replacing the quality‐​control mechanisms that are ostensibly the reason for government regulation in these markets? Asked another way, how safe are these services without government licensing and regulatory oversight?

What effect have these new business models had on traditionally regulated services like taxicabs and hotels?

Why do libertarians seem to like the sharing economy so much?