OECD Forum 2014: The Sharing Economy
Monday 5 May
10:15 - 12:00
Green Amphitheatre
Parallel session

Society is in the midst of a global digital revolution. In the past decade internet penetration worldwide has grown by more than 566%. The majority of consumers now own at least one mobile device. High speed networks combined with sensors, machine-to-machine communication, and “smart” applications are bringing the next wave of innovation. 

Wireless connectivity now links objects like GPS devices, vehicles and even street lights to the Internet. This is leading to entire interconnected systems that can help countries achieve important economic and social goals. Some expect the “Internet of Things” to connect 50 billion mobile wireless devices by 2020.

The Internet benefits individuals with a larger variety of digital goods and services, lower prices, higher productivity, a more efficient labour market, and improvements in the environment, health and education. It benefits businesses with improved efficiencies in everything from commercial services to industrial manufacturing and expands global markets. And it benefits governments, making it easier to consult and communicate with citizens and deliver services more cheaply.

Connectivity and digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way we live, work, learn, socialise, and connect. The internet has lowered the barriers to starting a business and a new wave of digital entrepreneurs are using the “Internet of Things” to offer services that would have been unimaginable in the past. Part of this revolution has involved the rise of peer-to-peer (P2P) and human-to-human (H2H) services, allowing people to share everything from their cars and homes to their talent and time. People have been swapping and sharing since the beginning of time, but increased global connectivity is making this possible on an unprecedented scale. How does the sharing economy affect traditional notions of buying and selling in a capitalist economy? Are we experiencing a shift in the relative importance given to ownership and access in society? How do regulatory frameworks need to be adapted to address the shared economy?

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