4 The Collaborative Economy: What Are We Talking About?

Trade, at least in its commercial aspect, is a traditional form of cooperation between people, wherever and whoever they are. Inseparable from trade, business is its result: Phoenician and Greek sailors travelled the Mediterranean in search of precious resources such as lead, wood and wine, materials that they exchanged from their next stopover for spices or marble; for them, this already required cooperation with the traders they met at each port they call upon. Similarly, for millennia, the caravans that travelled the Asian silk roads bought and sold with those they found along the way, in Samarkand and elsewhere. From human memory, trade cannot therefore be dissociated from business, nor business from cooperation, since it has been verified throughout history that any trade implies cooperation between the parties. The economy is indeed collaborative by nature; it is therefore through an abuse of language that a doctrine that attempts to present social facts as “new” is developed on the Internet, social facts that are hardly different from those that have sustained business through the ages in all corners of the world: the collaborative economy is not a discovery; it is practically a pleonasm!

What is true, on the other hand, is that by shrinking the world to the scale of a virtual agora without territory or borders, the Internet is changing the conditions of the trading of news or knowledge, goods or services, whether ...

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