You have heard of these companies: Uber, airbnb, Lfyt and more. If ordinary people just have unused seats in their cars and empty beds in their houses, the thinking goes, why not just rent them out for less than you'd pay for an actual taxi or hotel room?
The services have caught on because we live in a time of shrinking salaries - thus the need for both cheaper products and services, as well as the need to make money on the side.
For many Americans, this economic and social innovation has been quite useful. It's an interesting sign of the times and how we are responding to a disguised economics problem.
The sharing economy is about desperation.
NPR list of links about the sharing economy.