Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Came across an article in the Boston Globe profiling the first National Swap Day Event which was held in Boston during the early part of January.

Rachel Botsman, coauthor of the recent book “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption," weighed in on the growing popularity of swapping and "attributes the swelling of swapping to a perfect alignment of social and economic attitudes. The recession forced budget-conscious consumers to barter rather than buy. Sophisticated technology made it easy to organize quickly online. Such sites addressed people’s interest in recycling their belongings. And despite the apparent rancor with which they shop, swappers say they enjoy the sense of community."

“The result is a big shift away from the 20th century defined by hyper consumption, essentially buying more stuff and a culture of me, myself, and I towards the 21st-century era of collaborative consumption,’’ Botsman said. “In the past, it was not worth the hassle to swap stuff. Network technologies now create an infinite marketplace to match millions of haves with millions of wants, whatever they may be, from a small device in our hands.’’

I'm curious to see what she has to say about people's interest in the the creation process. How much or how willing are people to participate in the production of exchange in addition to filling the role as end consumer. As well, with this shift towards collaboration over sole ownership, is she seeing any new patterns or change in behavior as it relates to what and how much people consume.

Also mentioned in the profile is a brief nod to GrowNYC, an environmental nonprofit created by the New York City mayor’s office. Recognizing the trend towards re-use, they've recently added and organized 13 “Stop ‘N Swap’’ events (attracting more than 4,000 people) to their Office of Recycling Outreach and Education.

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