Imagine a factory that produces widgets. In this particular factory, the workers bring the raw material needed to make widgets from their home every day; moreover, the brick and mortar that comprise the factory are also owned by the people who toil inside. In this fictional factory, the workers even sell the widgets themselves when they’re done making them. Indeed, the workers own everything within the factory — except, oddly, the punch clock. But it just so happens that their paychecks can’t be distributed without the punch clock — and so, the “owner” of the punch clock, and therefore the factory, takes all the money that the workers make, takes a cut, and then distributes it to investors, debtors, stock-owners, and finally workers.
If you worked at this factory, you might be inclined to wonder why — given that you and your co-workers own nearly everything — even bother with having an owner at all? And what are the lazy investors even doing in the equation? With a bit of moxie, you and your fellow co-workers could just rip the boss’s punch clock off the wall and design your own.
This imaginary factory is essentially the model that many “sharing economy” […]