“One of Tom Slee’s motivations for writing What’s Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy—published in February by OR Books—was to push back against people in the tech industry appropriating the language of “collective action and progressive politics” for private financial gain. “I wrote this book because the Sharing Economy agenda appeals to ideals with which I and many others identify; ideals such as equality, sustainability, and community,” he writes. “The Sharing Economy continues to have the support and allegiance of many progressive-minded people … [but evokes] those ideals to build massive private fortunes, to erode real communities, to encourage a more entitled form of consumerism, and to create a future that is more precarious and more unequal than ever.”

Slee’s book provides much needed historical context on the sharing economy phenomenon: a history of digital “openness” being leveraged for private profit, as well as a history of the commodification of the internet, pointing out key moments in time where legislation changed to first allow commercial activity on the web. “There was vociferous argument over the ethics of pursuing profit over the internet,” he writes. It’s a book about the sharing economy, but also more: it’s about how we got to this conflicting place where we all are seemingly beholden to commercial platforms that we don’t totally understand, mined for data by corporations profiting from users’ micro-work.”

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