The Guardian

From Airbnb to city bikes, the ‘sharing economy’ has been bought up by big money | Evgeny Morozov

To flourish, the informal digital networks providing new services needed to be protected from the market
‘The year 2018 is to the sharing economy what 2006 was to user-generated content: it can only go downhill.’ Illustration: Mark Long

Of all the ideologies spawned by Silicon Valley, that of techno-populism – the making of empty promises on the basis of seismic digital disruption – is the strangest. Promising a world of immediate and painless personal empowerment, techno-populism is ambiguous enough to unite big tech firms, startups, cryptocurrency aficionados and even some political parties.

The history is murky, but we do know the date when it went mainstream. It can be traced to Time magazine’s selection, in 2006, of “You” – the millions of ordinary people behind the user-generated web of the 2000s – as its Person of the Year. That choice ingrained techno-populist themes deep into our collective unconscious.

While actual contributors to sites such as, the web was a shadow of its former eccentric self.

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