In the LosAngelesTimes.com, Sandy Banks writes about how she first heard about the sharing economy. Her daughter was able to travel cheap in Europe by going online each day and finding a couch at a stranger's place where she could sleep. She called this the "peer-to-peer economy."
Another aspect of the sharing economy could be called the "the Netflix economy." It is animated by web start-ups that either rent items themselves or serve as the middlemen, linking people who want something with people who own it. In an NYTimes.com article, Claire Cain Miller charts the rise of the rental economy which many cultural analysts see as a shift away from the old model of overconsumption with its emphasis on owning more things. Here "the rental economy is part of a growing post-recession movement to value experiences over possessions."
From a spiritual literacy perspective, two of the most interesting aspects of the evolving sharing economy are the importance of trust in these transactions. This new paradigm challenges us to not be frightened that others are out to take advantage of us. Or as Ernest Hemingway put it: "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."