Collaborative Consumption

“We now live in a global village where we can mimic the ties that used to happen face to face but on a scale that would never have been possible before…we’ve wired our world to share”, says Rachel Botsman, who has been thinking about how consumerism is being reconfigured in the emerging collaborative culture.

Botsman is interested in how the online network is facilitating a reemergence of bartering and trading, supported by mechanisms that enable trust between strangers. She sites eBay, Swaptree (media exchange), Zopa (social lending), GoGet & ZipCar (car sharing), as well as You Tube, as examples of a burgeoning peer to peer economy. For Botsman this isn’t a passing trend but heralds a major shift away from individual ownership and hyper-consumption.

What she has to say is very relevant to collaborative production, which also in a sense takes us back to older folk traditions where creativity wasn’t synonymous with the individual author or artist. Her book, What’s Mine is Yours, co-authored with Roo Rogers, is out now. Her TED talk is well worth fifteen minutes of your time.