Collaborative consumption

by Rob Horning

28 October 2010

 

Over at Generation Bubble I have a review of a business book called What’s Mine Is Yours, about what the authors dub collaborative consumption. What they mean by that is things like car-sharing services and Freecycle—basically ways to use the internet to facilitate peer-to-peer exchange. In part because it was a book geared toward management types, it rubbed me the wrong way, and I ended up at a very skeptical place about the whole idea. I don’t think it’s a terrible thing to give away your stuff through Freecycle or to use a bike-sharing service, but these are not necessarily things to be particularly proud of either. Ideally these practices would disappear into the fabric of everyday life rather than constitute a “revolution” in retail that entrepreneurs and investors need to bandwagon into ubiquity and that consumers need to trumpet as triumphant proof of their evolution into post-individualist subjects. It just doesn’t seem a good idea to have a subjectivity or to form communities that are anchored in shopping practices.

 

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