This story is from the 2014 Access 25. Explore more from this issue

The Sharing Economy

A new breed of company promises us efficiencies in connecting demand to “slack resources.”

That car sitting in your garage. Your passion, which you’ve been dying to teach. They’re both examples of what an economist would call “slack resources” — things waiting to be used and monetized in a capitalistic economy.

A host of start-ups have launched with the goal of helping you do just that: teach your passion (Skillshare), contract your labor (TaskRabbit), create your own car service (Lyft, Sidecar). Mobile technology and the stagnant economy are huge drivers of this trend, but so too is culture. Studies show millennials, for example, are far less interested in car ownership than previous generations.

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