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The consumer economy is facing a challenge from what's called the "sharing economy," a new way of introducing people who own things to people who need to use them. On this archived edition of To the Point, will new, Internet companies disrupt traditional patterns of doing business or will they just fade away?  Also, business interests find Tea Party candidates don't always share their goals, and worker advocates filling the void left by weakened labor unions.

Banner Image: TaskRabbit

Caitlin Shamberg
Sonya Geis

Making News Business Finds Tea Party Candidates Don't Always Share Goals 7 MIN, 25 SEC

Business groups were among those who helped dozens of Tea Party Republicans sweep into Congress. But now as lawmakers get ready to head back to the Capitol, business groups are wondering if those economic fundamentalists they helped elect are working against an important business interest: a functioning government. Jill Lawrence is national correspondent for National Journal.

Jill Lawrence, National Journal (@JillDLawrence)

Main Topic The Rise of the Sharing Economy 34 MIN, 40 SEC

Welcome to what's called "collaborative consumption" with Internet companies like Airbnb, RelayRides, Liquid Space and TaskRabbit. They're providing access to things you want without the burden of ownership — cars, houses, tools, garage space — even leftover food. They're building a marketplace that's already worth $26 billion, reducing waste and throwing a scare into business based on consumption. But what about safety, regulation and trust? Is this the future or only a fad?

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic (@DKThomp)
Milo Yiannopoulos, The Kernel (@Nero)
April Rinne, Collaborative Lab (@aprilrinne)
Anna Bernasek, New York Times (@annabernasek)

Today's Talking Point As Unions Shrink, Worker Centers Fill the Void 8 MIN, 18 SEC

On this Labor Day there's no denying that the labor movement is not what it used to be. But there are groups that are filling the void left by declining union membership. Some 225 "worker centers" have sprung up to focus on America's 22 million immigrant workers, both legal and undocumented. The growing immigrant work force is especially vulnerable to abuses, including a lack of health insurance, workers compensation and sometimes even a lack of payment for work performed. In Texas, the Workers Defense Project has taken on some powerful corporate players — including one of the biggest, Apple computers.  Steve Greenhouse reports for the New York Times.

Steven Greenhouse, journalist and author (@greenhousenyt)

The Big Squeeze

Steven Greenhouse


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