THE so-called sharing economy is the new utopia taking form on the extreme fringes of the political left in France. It provides anti-globalists, environmentalists, a few Socialist Party renegades, and what’s left of the communists with a new tool to fight capitalism.Its somewhat esoteric designation suggests it is the result of a long process of theoretical reflection. It already has its thinkers, its books and its first Nobel Prize in Economics with Elinor Ostrom.Like all bad ideas, it has every chance to succeed. But what is it really about?The initial observation is indisputable. The advent of the internet and new technologies has changed relations between individuals. Whether it’s housing, cars, household equipment, commuting, access to knowledge, personal assistance; in other words, material goods or intangible services, everyone can share or exchange with everyone else.What are the — once again indisputable — consequences of this sharing economy? By replacing individual purcha...

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