Since the launch

Challenges regarding rules, regulations
and government intervention

Challenges regarding rules, regulations and government interventions

Explosive growth

The explosive growth of some platforms makes developments in the sharing economy highly unpredictable, while platforms’ responsiveness to trends makes them very dynamic. It is therefore hard to tell in advance whether an idea will take off and hence become disruptive and/or require regulation by the government.

Preserving a level playing field

The market playing field must remain accessible for all (aspiring) entrepreneurs, and everyone has to play by the same rules. Both existing and new enterprises should have fair and equal opportunities. Market disruption is part of renewal. This can add to the diversity of supply, which is good for the market. It remains a task for the government to preserve this fair and level playing field. This includes monitoring compliance with agreements in the sector and obligations with respect to having permits and paying taxes.

Disruption of existing markets

Existing market parties may feel threatened by the rapid growth of disruptive platforms. From a competition law perspective, a platform that autonomously acquires a (near) monopoly position is, in principle, free to operate. But it must of course adhere to the rules that exist for its particular activity. The challenge is to work with the relevant market authority and the existing market sector to arrive at a clear picture of what is and remains fair. This should incorporate the permits, taxes and other arrangements that apply to the existing market and hence apply to newcomers as well.

Social security & labour rights

The traditional labour model, in which people are employed by an organisation or earn standard hourly wages, often does not apply when working for or via a sharing platform. This kind of work is of another character, and platforms increasingly determine the price of labour. This is clearly relevant to the matter of protecting social security and labour rights.

Value system change

With data-driven platforms, there is a lot that can be measured. Financial transactions have their value, but so does being active in the community and in society at large. Still other indicators may be worth measuring as well. If the economy starts producing fewer goods because more goods are being shared, then the GNP will decline; but this alone is not an indicator of economic developments in the country. If social and recycling values become measurable as well, then this may change the value system of the economy. This presents an opportunity, but to successfully entrench this change is also a challenge.