MP’s, big business, corporates, Kite marks & membership fees. Is this what the sharing economy is about?
So yesterday I attended the launch of SEUK (Sharing Economy UK) a body set-up to represent the interests of the Sharing Economy.
The day started off by meeting my mate Bernie Mitchell, we’d agreed to meet at Crussh by Westminster Tube, as he was anxious to show me their bullet proof coffee (eventhough he know’s I don’t drink coffee!). This didn’t go well, as firstly their map was completely wrong as to where the place was, it’s actually 500 yards down Millbank.
Then they messed up on my order of blueberry and banana granola, which is pretty hard to mess up to be honest. Then Matt, from ECHO, who had also been brought along on the promise of great coffee by Bernie, was not impressed with the coffee.
Anyway, we set off back to Portcullis House, part of the Houses Of Parliament estate. I nearly wasn’t allowed entry, I was wearing my ‘Unfuck The World’ T shirt. The Met Policeman asked me to unzip my hoodie to read the T shirt, he could have only seen ‘ck The’. He told me that I couldn’t come in with that T shirt.
I told him ‘that it is the name of organisation that encourages good things’, unimpressed he said ‘that that doesn’t matter’. So I said ‘it’s only a collection of letters’. ‘Yes’ he said ‘but it’s offensive’ and I responded with ‘really’. He said that ‘children come into the building’. I was tempted to then say that the children would be potentially more at risk from some past MP’s, given the recent child abuse cover up relating to MP’s, than my T shirt. But I said ‘I am sure most children would have heard that word’. He finally agreed to let me in, if I zipped up my top.
It wasn’t his fault, he’s just doing a job. It’s the society that is screwed up. I was watching the video footage of the shooting of an unarmed and innocent black homeless person in US. The people who were there witnessing it, were rightly shocked and outrage, using many swear words. I know that later, when this video was shown on TV news channels, the swearing would be bleeped out, as it would cause ‘offense’, but no one seemed to give a shit much about showing a person being murdered by the police.
Anyway back to the SEUK launch. Finally allowed in, I went into the room where the event was being held. I was already feeling like I was attending the launch of some corporate type thing, as most of the attendees were in suits.
So the event kicked off with an initial opening intro from a corporate lawyer. Then the floor was handed over to government minister Matthew Hancock and then finally to Debbie from SEUK.
Immediately I felt uncomfortable about this, especially as the thrust of Debbie’s words were about ‘regulation, government, Kite marks and membership fees’. Not about helping the micro businesses, not about people, not about how we can create more wealth from sharing resources and using that to do more good.
To me the Sharing Economy started and has grown as reaction to the old school ways of life and business. The clue is in the title and it is all about sharing. MPs and sharing is an oxymoron in itself. The disruptiveness of the sharing economy does not need regulation, kite marks and big business involvement.
The focus needs to be on helping, sharing resources, people, making money for the right reasons and using it to help others.
My fear is that this yet another attempt by government, big business and regulators to get involved with the sharing economy and impose the old school ways onto it. After all I am sure governments are concerned about how to tax sharing. Too much sharing threatens the very power of the old school party politics system, that my opinion is a massive failure.
The people who have got up and done things differently and created the sharing economy, where people who were disenfranchised and disillusioned by the old school world.
I am not sure how much the SEUK will represent that ethos of people first and sharing resources to make the world a better place and to be fair to them they are only just starting out. I am concerned all that will happen with the Sharing Economy, is that it will be taken over by big business, governments and it will become a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. It has become fashionable and that always inevitably attracts the wrong attention.
With 7 billion (and growing) of us on the planet and dwindling resources, we better start focussing on sharing. Otherwise I’ll need to buy a new T shirt that says ‘We didn’t Unfuck The World – now we’re all Fucked’.