Pop Culture / Speaking Out

Nirmala Sitharaman and “#BoycottMillennials”? Sure, but what about the sharing economy?

. 3 min read . Written by Vanshika Goenka
Nirmala Sitharaman and “#BoycottMillennials”? Sure, but what about the sharing economy?

"The Automobile Sector is down because millennials prefer traveling by Uber/Ola.

Property Market is down because millennials have started live-in relationships.

Agriculture at an all-time low because millennials prefer Pizza over Dal/Roti.

And my favourite,

BHEL at its lowest in 15 years because millennials prefer Pani-Puri.

Welcome to 2019, an era where Millennials and Modi are culpable for everything that goes wrong with the Indian Economy.

If you’ve done your rounds of twitter in the last 24 hours (which if you’re a millennial reading this of course you have) then you’re fairly aware of the recent statement by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on this infamous generation with hashtags like #boycottmillennial and #sayitlikenirmalatai trending.

In the classroom of the current economic setting, our baby boomer government is playing the first bencher. They are the toppers who are picked by the teacher to be the class monitor and who superfluously dictate the status quo. Millennials on the other hand, have been relegated to the belligerent backbenchers, the designated class disruptors whose only job is to have a smart mouth.

Image Courtesy: Google

But remember the backbencher that argued with the teacher and made the whole class interesting? The one that the teacher told to ‘shut up’ because they didn’t have the answer to the student’s very valid but out of textbook question? That’s what the millennial generation is.

And our very-valid-but-out-of-textbook-question is the answer that has solved major economic issues through the globe. The concept of a sharing economy model.

Remember the global economic crisis and the cataclysmic recession of 2008? That’s the time that a major chunk of the millennial generation was actually starting out into the job market. Historically speaking, we entered the workforce during the worst economy in decades and starting one’s career underpaid and underemployed can have a lifelong impact on one’s earning power.

Unlike boomers or Gen X-ers who took great pride in the ownership of big-ticket items and material possession, millennials place more value on experience. As “Children of The Great Recession,” we haven’t been big spenders or risk takers; which is what largely contributed to reshaping the economy. Scarcity is the mother of innovation and it was this very scarcity that drove this generation to learn to share and create a sharing economy platform.

The ease of access and frugality replaced the prestige of ownership thereby giving way to the concept of a shared economy. At a time when excessive ownership and control caused an almost irrevocable economic crisis, the onset of the sharing economy’s success was inevitable.

This peertopper lending platforms model could solve several problems simply by mutual ownership. Living in an age of innovation and technology coupled with an information overload, we figured how to twist this to our advantage. Technological innovation in the form of Uber, Ola, AirBNB, ZoomCar, WeWork and several others was certainly a major life hack that helped be able to live fuller lives without sacrificing resources or future goals.

This collaborative consumption has expanded access to sought-after assets such as cars and vacation accommodations while managing to drastically reduce the costs associated with it.

Take the example of privately owned cars that sit unused 95% of the times in a city like Mumbai. Previous generations were more comfortable taking on debts to buy a new car as they had a stable wage and pension to fall back on. Peer economy on the other hand have facilitated this desire in times of a whimsical economy by means of a shared economy – ZoomCar and Uber as prime examples.

The instability of the economy and the fear of buying cars only for its value to reduce in half forced us to develop platforms like Uber and Ola. And not the other way round.

It is this collaborative economy –a wild concept postulated by us ‘aaj kal ke bachche’ who have no money or jobs, that is one of the fastest growing business trends in the history with investors dumping more than 23 billion dollars in venture capital funding since 2010 into startups operating with a share-based model.

And speaking of the slowdown in auto sales, it is the liquidity crunch in the non-banking sector that has dried up the lines of credit to both auto dealers and potential car buyers thereby causing a reduction in the sales.

Not blaming the millennials for an economic downturn but looking at institutionalised problems instead –what a wild concept!