Professor Arun Sundararajan Discusses the Future of Capitalism with Rana Foroohar of Time Magazine

Nearly 300 alumni, students, and faculty gathered in Paulson Auditorium for a discussion between Arun Sundararajan, Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences, and Rana Foroohar, Business & Economics Editor at Time Magazine, about Professor Sundararajan’s new book, The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism. Ms. Foroohar is the author of Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and The Fall of American Business which she characterized as an outline of the problem for which The Sharing Economy offers a solution.
Dean Peter Henry offered introductory remarks to the buzzing audience before Professor Sundararajan and Ms. Foroohar delved into discussion about the economic and social implications of crowd-based digital platforms like Airbnb, Uber and BlaBlaCar, which have begun to activate dormant corners of commerce and community.
Professor Sundararajan and Ms. Foroohar agreed that the concept of a ‘gig economy’ is not new, but its recent digitization has allowed for economic and social paradigm shifts. “It’s about scaling that old gig economy and putting it into a form that can compete with industrial capitalism,” Professor Sundararajan explained. It was clear to the audience based on Professor Sundararajan’s comparisons of Airbnb to Marriott-Sherwood and of BlaBlaCar to Amtrak that these crowd-based platforms are providing viable alternatives to their traditional counterparts.
Ms. Foroohar and Prof. Sundararajan explored how regulation will unfold in a trust-based, continuously decentralizing economy. Prof. Sundararajan, who described himself as cautiously optimistic, said he looks to the potential for more equal distribution of wealth as a signal that the sharing economy will bring growth as opposed to slow down.
Engaged audience members asked a number of questions that provoked thoughtful conversation about the future of work. A cocktail reception and book signing gave alumni, students and faculty a chance to continue their conversations and reflections.

Media Coverage for The Sharing Economy  
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