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The sharing economy allows individuals to monetize underused skills, spaces, and objects. While the individual gains more freedom, companies free themselves of many of the responsibilities of employment. But the origins of “sharing” may be traced to an unlikely place; Cold War ideologies and the notion of human capital. This essay explores that idea and asks us to consider the cultural specificity of this phenomenon.

Of course, ‘Uberization’ (as the sharing economy is often called) also brings attention to an important connection between branding and culture. When a brand taps into a culture’s desires so acutely, and brings to life the spirit of the times, its vision becomes embedded not only in cultural practice but in that culture’s language.