The Sharing Economy: Legal Problems of a Permutations and Combinations Society
The sharing economy is just one of several possible expressions to designate the complex model of social and economic relationships based on the intensive use of digital technology. Constant permutations and combinations allow these relationships to be established through the intervention of a third party making traditional contractual positions flexible in such a way that today’s employee is tomorrow’s entrepreneur, or today’s consumer is tomorrow’s supplier of goods and services.
The current legal framework is, in many respects, unable to accommodate such big changes and new legal regulations are required where adaptation of the existing ones proves to be inadequate.
This book highlights where changes are needed and where adaptations are required, with a particular focus on the Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, British and Brazilian contexts. For that, four different approaches are undertaken, namely the meta-legal, macro-legal, micro-legal and transnational approaches. The study that results from these different approaches enables readers to acquire a general view on the current legal problems arising from the sharing economy, and was a direct result of a research project of the Centre for Legal and Economic Research, at the University of Porto, funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.
Maria Regina Redinha is a Professor at the University of Porto, Portugal, as well as the Director of the Centre for Legal and Economic Research at the same institution. Her main research fields of interest are atypical employment, the digital workplace, and the labour implications of the sharing economy.
Maria Raquel Guimarães is a Professor of Law at the University of Porto, Portugal, teaching civil law and contract law. A researcher at the Centre for Legal and Economic Research, she is also the General Editor of the law journal RED—Revista Electrónica de Direito. Her main research fields are contract law, including electronic payments, e-commerce and consumer protection.
Francisco Liberal Fernandes is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Porto, Portugal. He teaches courses on Labour Law and Real Estate Law. He is a researcher at the Centre for Legal and Economic Research. He has published more than fifty titles in the field of labour law.
"In a society of permutations and combinations, there are multiple legal problems in the contractual, labour and consumer protection fields emerging from the so-called collaborative economy. New working arrangements such as UBER and related phenomena, work conducted through digital platforms, tourist accommodation, and new forms of employment (gig employment) all call for adequate regulation, the design of new means of financing the economy and the adoption of relevant legal instruments that allow the qualification of the employment contract and also provide protection for the self-employed. This book is a remarkable contribution to the study of the new shared economy, bringing together valuable and stimulating scientific analysis presented at an important international meeting organised by the Faculty of Law of the University of Porto's Centre for Legal and Economic Research."
Justice Manuel Pinto Hespanhol Vice-President of the Supreme Court of Justice and President of the Social Section (Labour) of the Supreme Court of Justice, Portugal
"The CIJE is to be congratulated on this collection of essays on the legal aspects of the sharing economy. The so-called “gig” economy is generating huge enthusiasms and concerns in equal measure. The challenges for law and regulation have already reached the European Court of Justice. Whether, going forward, such activities should be forced to comply with existing rules, be made subject to sui generis rules or, indeed, no rules at all, is the subject matter of this collection. An important and fascinating read."
Ian Walden Professor of Information and Communications Law, Queen Mary, University of London
"This impressive book provides a practical framework for the bright future of the age of the sharing economy. We need multiple perspectives to analyse and resolve the intricate issues and this book makes a crucial breakthrough in this area, grounded on profound, evidential, multidimensional and transnational studies."
Professor Fumie Suga Hosei University
"This book tackles one of the most significant aspects of modern economy and society, the so-called “gig” economy. It features a wide range of essays from different authors who provide interesting new insights on these new and complex legal issues. It is a remarkable achievement from the Centre for Legal and Economic Research of the Faculty of Law of the University of Porto, for which praise is richly deserved."
Dr Miguel Pestana de Vasconcelos Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Porto
"It is not true that the collaborative economy is disruptive to the point of implying a system subversion or the construction, in totum, of a new block of norms. What we are facing is nothing but the old hiding under the cloak of the new. This does not mean denying the need for a legal structure capable of addressing specific points. The way forward cannot, nevertheless, forget the existing legal acquis.This book is, as I previously said, a piece of art on collaborative economy. There will not, certainly, be many projects which gather the varied knowledge of jurists, professors, magistrates and lawyers. But, above all, few will be able to resolve the challenges posed by a sharing economy. A reality which is far from being a challenge limited to only a branch of Law."
Inês Neves, University of Porto, 2019
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