Collaborative Consumption

The end of consumerism as we know it.. a distant dream or a possibility?

Social researcher Rachel Bosman has some interesting ideas about a new movement called ‘collaborative consumption’. The rise of collaborative consumption is a cultural and economic force, reinventing, not just what we consume, but how we consume.

We’re bartering, trading, swapping, sharing, but they’re being reinvented into dynamic and appealing forms.

We have actually wired our world to share.

Many big concepts were emerging — from the wisdom of crowds to smart mobs — around how ridiculously easy it is to form groups for a purpose.

We started moving from passive consumers to creators, to highly-enabled collaborators. The Internet is removing the middleman, so the peer-to-peer revolution is happening at phenomenal rates. We now live in a connected age where we can locate anyone, anytime, in real-time, from a small device in our hands.

There is a renewed belief in the importance of community, the usefulness of real-time technologies, the pressing environmental concerns, and a global recession that has fundamentally shocked consumer behaviours: all collectively define collaborative consumption.

There are thousands of examples from all around the world of collaborative consumption, organized into three clear systems.

The first is redistribution markets based on ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, repair and redistribute’ mantra.

The second is collaborative lifestyles – the sharing and resources of money, skills and time.

The third system is product service systems. This is where you pay for the benefit of the product — what it does for you — without needing to own the product outright.

These three systems are coming together, allowing people to share resources without sacrificing their lifestyles, or their cherished personal freedoms.

The site, the book, audio & video of her lecture at the RSA, her presentation at the TED.

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