Turning the Tide: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption


One idea that came out of a Transition Bloomington’s first swap meet, was to get a flat bed truck and schedule it to drive around various neighborhoods on different days. A swap truck. You’d hear it coming because of its distinctive little tune. The kids would leave their screens to go out and get a healthy snack, and you’d go out to see if there was anything you needed or to drop something onto it that you wanted to let go of. The Transition Truck would be a kind of Pied Piper, painted in bright circusly colors, and gracing every local parade. One of my Transition Bloomington cohorts has already volunteered to compose the tune.

The “TT” will, with one stroke, help us re-knit our neighborhoods, re-knit neighbors with one another, get the the kids outside again, and last but not least, create a a continually rotating pool of stuff.

After awhile, as gas gets more expensive, swap out the truck for a horse and cart, with free fertilizer for our gardens as it clops down the street.

This is the Luddite version. Rachel Botsman notices how our technology has spurred this ongoing global movement towards sharing, and calls it “collaborative consumption.”

Here’s some quotes from her 2010 TED talk, followed a link to the 15-minute talk itself. Thanks to Maggie.

“It would have seemed like a crazy idea even a few years ago, that I would swap my stuff with a total stranger whose real name I didn’t know without any money changing hands. Technology is enabling trust between strangers. We’re wired to share. And that’s creating an economy of what’s mine is yours. We’re sharing and collaborating again in ways that are more hip than hippie. We’re moving from passive consumers, to creators, to highly enabled collaborators. The internet is removing the middleman so that anyone can make a living selling peer-to-peer. And the ubiquitous force of this peer-to-peer resolution means that sharing is happening at a phenomena rate. We’re monkeys. We’re born and bred to share and collaborate. Moving from a culture of me to a culture of we.

“We rationally know that an economy built on hyperconsumption is a ponzi scheme. And in 2008 we hit a wall. When mother nature and the market both said, no more.

“This is happening because of four key drivers:

  1. A renewed belief in the power of community.
  2. A torrent of peer-to-p social networks and real-time technology fundamentally changing the way we behave.
  3. Pressing unresolved environmental concerns.
  4. A global recession that has fundamentally shocked consumer behavior.

“These big drivers are creating the big shift, happening in three areas:

• Redistribution Markets: reduce, reuse, recycle (swaps, etc.)

• Collaborative Lifestyles: sharing money, skills, time (e.g. land share to grow food)

• Product Service Systems: sharing rarely used tools (even cars, which sit idle 23 hours per day).

“We are losing our urge to own. I don’t want stuff, I want the needs or experiences they fulfill. Access is better than ownership. Our possessions are disappearing into the cloud.”


This entry was posted in new economy, Reality Ramp-Up, Uncategorized, unity consciousness, Uranus square Pluto, visions of the future, waking up, zone zero. Bookmark the permalink.

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