Happy Easter and Passover, readers! It’s a time of rebirth. Everything taking a form will have a chance to be reborn, and its spirit will continue passing on to the next purpose.
Previously, I discussed letting go of things that no longer deliver value to us and recycling resources in my post “Spring Cleaning.” At this special time of rebirth, I would like to suggest readers to consider a new way of sharing.
This new way of sharing is one step further from recycling. Recycling is passing goods or materials that you once owned to someone or something that creates new value. As opposed to ownership, this new way of sharing represents an economic model based on sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting products. New sharing guides us into a lifestyle of removing all the things that don’t add value and concentrating on the things that deliver value. What are the things that you absolutely enjoy and keep to yourself, and what things do you not?
Have you heard the concept of “collaborative consumption”? The concept was widely championed by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, co-authors of What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. This week, I had the fortune to hear Rogers speak at a monthly meeting of Shared Squared.
Rogers explained the central concept of collaborative consumption is simple: Access to goods and skills is more important than ownership of them. He shared his view on how the world of consumption would change with the concept, and he spoke of some of examples, from enormous marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist, to peer-to-peer marketplaces, peer-to-peer travel, and car sharing (Zipcar). He particularly likes the bicycle sharing in Paris.
As you can see, this is not just a concept but rather a movement actually happening in our everyday life. But the concept of reusing or public sharing of products is hardly a new one. For decades, we have utilized some form of public product sharing: the New York Public Library or neighborhood Laundromats are great examples. With some of the latest advances in technology, however, we are going through a different kind of sharing: sharing with virtual communities.
The concept of sharing led me to think about what “owning” really means to us. What makes us tick? We are no longer interested in simple consumption. We are rather seeking an experience of unity or a sense of belonging to the community by owning particular goods. Living in a city that is known for its materialistic nature, I can’t help feeling a strong urge to “own” certain things. I think that it comes down to a lifelong exploration of “What’s your core value?” So, my saga of fighting against owning beautiful things goes on.
So what do you think of collaborative consumption? Share your thoughts with us!