In 2013, the Economist ran a piece praising the rise of the “sharing economy,” in America, from the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis which made sure that, for the first time in recent history, a whole generation of millennials would, on average, earn less than their parents over their lifetime.
For many young Americans, as it is with most young Bangladeshis today, owning a car or their own home became a far-fetched dream, and life began to feel particularly difficult.
But, with the creation of online peer-to-peer (P2P) rental markets, human ingenuity and adaptability triumphed over those odds, giving them access without the need for ownership, and made way for “collaborative consumption.”
The sharing economy has now taken over Bangladesh, with ride-sharing apps like Pathao and Uber being the most popular as they help to work around our most pressing and pernicious problem of acute traffic congestion.
Critics, however, are quick to question the legality of these enterprises, citing various objections like the difficulty of taxing them and the loss in income for CNG drivers.
These companies are providing immediate relief and immeasurable benefits to thousands of users, helping them get to work on time and thus facilitating productive activity for the whole country.
And unless our government has a better and immediate solution for our traffic woes, it would be foolish and ultimately harmful for all of us, to stand in the way of Pathao and Uber.
Instead, our policymakers should work with them to develop appropriate regulations and guidelines to ensure absolute safety and security for users, as well as find ways to mitigate the impact on CNG drivers.