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Are we oversharing?

By Emma Chaplin on Mar 04, 2016

It’s hard to see why anyone would have a problem with collaborative consumerism. In an overpopulated world it allows for more recycling of products, sharing of space, transport, holiday locations and property. Renting, swapping, lending – anything one person has that someone else needs or wants can be collaboratively consumed.

But as collaborative consumption becomes more and more popular around the world and technology allows us to do it more efficiently, what could happen in many years to come when the whole economy has shifted back to trading and bartering as the norm? Throw in the technology to allow us to share efficiently in a civilised society and we are in a very new position. The key word in all of this is ‘sharing’. This includes the sharing of assets to allow people to save money by not having to buy them in full.

Think of it this way, currently if you want to drive around in your dream car, you have to work hard, be successful and purchase the said car yourself. What a great sense of achievement to own something you have always strived for. It might be a watch, a house, a pair of shoes? But anything we class as a luxury item has to be earned to position yourself in society. The clothes you wear, the way you smell, it all contributes to the image you present to define who you are, and people work hard to define themselves by their assets and appearance.

Let’s face it though, that car sits on the drive doing nothing for 90% of the time. Your aftershave bottle lasts you a year and you regularly change your shoes to match the outfit you choose that day. So how far will collaborative consumerism take us in the future? Could it get to the point one day where technology allows us to find a way to share these luxury items effectively so that everyone can have them when they want them and share them when they don’t…Will they then actually be luxury items any longer?

Don’t get me wrong, sharing is nothing new. Timeshares in holiday apartments and luxury yachts, carpools, borrowing your mates jacket on a night round the town. But the shift in technology, time management, social media, interaction on a global scale and the openness to collaboratively share could eventually lead to us all having a slice of everything we want, without having to work as hard for it.

I’m all for collaborative consumption as a way to improve recycling, reduce waste and pollution and stop us from consuming all our natural resources, but I do fear that in generations to come, with the way technology is making our lives easier and collaborative consumption could allow everyone to have a bit of what they want, that we will no longer have that desire to work hard for something! What will happen to the need to really graft for what you want if everything is accessible in one form or another? There’s a lot to be said for working hard for life’s luxuries and the sense of achievement and satisfaction that comes with it.