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GLOBAL FORUM Charity shops and jumble sales make money for local communities and good causes. How is undercutting them “building communities”?

a society that has nothing innovative to offer, a society so fearful of change that it dare not create anything new. The sharing technology may be innovative, but the economic vision underlying it is stagnation, not prosperity. And it’s an unpleasant vision, too. Sharing is a fundamentally generous act: it is giving goods, services, time, for nothing. But people who are always looking to make money aren’t being generous. If everyone is constantly looking for ways to make money from “sharing”, we will be not only economically but morally poorer. Sharing is also an act of faith. You lend someone your car if you trust them not to

steal it and not to crash it. If you don’t trust them, you either don’t lend your car or you charge them to borrow it – in which case you are in a trading relationship with the borrower, not a sharing relationship. Money is an expression of LACK of trust. So the “sharing” economy, in seeking to monetize the generosity that people show towards others, is not “building trust”. It is destroying it. So the “sharing economy” is shabby, unproductive, stagnant, mean and distrustful. I don’t want to live in such an economy. I would much rather have Mike Wright’s vision of an economy founded on advanced manufacturing and high-

tech services, in which skilled people earn high salaries. Mike is an executive director of Jaguar Landrover. He’s a filthy capitalist. So am I. And so, actually, are Benita Matovska and her kind. After all, they don’t do this sharing stuff for free, despite their altruistic spin. They make money from it. That’s old-fashioned capitalism. Not “transformed” in any way.

l FRANCES COPPOLA is the author of the Coppola Comment finance and economics blog, which is a regular feature on the Financial Times’s Alphaville blog.This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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Making It: Industry for Development #21