Sharing vs. owning: Collaborative economy


Collaborative consumption is getting a lot of attention of late, though it’s far from being a new concept. Collaborative commerce sites Craigslist and eBay have been around for almost 20 years. Content and information sharing sites like Wikipedia and Napster are nearly 15 years old. But a new generation of successful start-ups like Uber and Airbnb has given the movement credibility.

The collaborative economy exists in multiple forms, depending on whether businesses or individuals provide access to goods, and whether payment is monetary or an exchange of goods or services. But one common theme is the theory that anyone is able to participate and the driving forces behind the development of the collaborative economy – the global economic collapse, advances in smart technology, and increasing urbanization have made sharing services more desirable. Urbanites have less need for ownership, so they would rather pay for temporary access to goods and services. Apparently “to share is to own more”. However, most people participate in the collaborative economy for reasons of convenience and price rather than a desire to lessen their impact on the planet. The success of the collaborative economy lies not in being “green” but its ability to appeal to a broad audience.

[Extract from Worldwatch Institute website (click for full article) 07.11.14]

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