The Case For Collaborative Consumption

Rachel Botsman

Recent technological advances (e.g. swap trading via the internet) have led to a revolution in collaborative consumption (CC), transforming not only what we consume but also how we consume. Technology is enabling trust between strangers and is making sharing frictionless and fun; it is leading society away from individual hyper-consumption toward CC. Rachel Botsman identifies four key drivers behind this development: (1) a renewed belief in the importance of community; (2) a torrent of peer-to-peer social networks and real-time technologies; (3) pressing unresolved environmental concerns; and (4) a global recession that has fundamentally shocked consumer behaviours. She also highlights three major systems of CC: (1) redistribution markets; (2) collaborative lifestyles; and (3) product service systems. Ultimately, Botsman argues that society is seeking to build systems that serve our innate needs for community and individual identity, and that technology is enabling this rediscovery of CC and the collective good. While this growing recognition of our innate need for community should be supported, the Christian understanding of what community is delves far deeper than a simple transactional model. Rather, community participation is about sharing in a common life—a life which requires bonds much stronger than those supplied by technology. 

Source: TED: Ideas Worth Spreading

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