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What’s Mine Is Yours

How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live

By Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
15-minute read
What’s Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers

What’s Mine Is Yours paints a startling picture of our future if we stay on our current trajectory. Widespread over-consumption and traditional production models spell almost certain doom – that is, unless we can nurture the new economic landscape evolving in front of our eyes: “collaborative consumption.”

  • Anyone who thinks they own more than they’ll ever need
  • Anyone who loves eBay, couchsurfing and Freecycle.com
  • Anyone who feels like there has to be more to life than amassing material possessions

Rachel Botsman is among the most influential thinkers on collaboration. She is the founder of the innovation incubator Collaborative Lab as well as a former director at the President Clinton Foundation.

Roo Rogers began his career working for UNICEF in the developing world. Today he is the co-founder of OZOlab and a former CEO of OZOcar, an alternative town-car service that uses hybrid cars.

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What’s Mine Is Yours

How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live

By Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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What’s Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
Synopsis

What’s Mine Is Yours paints a startling picture of our future if we stay on our current trajectory. Widespread over-consumption and traditional production models spell almost certain doom – that is, unless we can nurture the new economic landscape evolving in front of our eyes: “collaborative consumption.”

Key idea 1 of 9

We consume more today than ever before.

Americans love to shop. So much so that, in the United States, there are now more shopping centers than there are high schools!

Indeed, never before have we consumed so much, and the contrast with the past is astounding.

In the past fifty years, Americans have consumed more goods and services than all previous generations combined. American families in the early 1990s had twice as many possessions as they did only 20 years prior.

And since we have more possessions, we need more places to keep them. In the US alone, personal storage spaces comprise a combined area of 2.35 billion square feet. Just think: before 1964, personal storage facilities didn’t even exist.

But why do we consume so much more today than we did in the past? The answer lies in several different forces that work together.

For one, today’s marketing strategies are more sophisticated and pervasive. Advertisements are everywhere: the average person sees more than 1,000 advertisements every day.

Moreover, today’s products aren’t built to last. Companies deliberately design products to fail after a certain time as a way to increase sales. General Electric was designing for “planned obsolescence” as early as 1932, when they deliberately shortened the lifespan of their light bulbs.

Supermarkets are filled with incredible amounts of disposable products that can be used only once, like styrofoam cups and disposable razors.

Finally, politicians and economists believe that consumption is the engine of economic growth. As a result, there’s a strong political incentive to motivate us to consume even more.

For instance, to boost car sales during the recession in 2009, twelve EU countries decided to offer cash incentives to consumers who would trade in their old cars for new ones. In Germany, for example, customers that traded their old cars for more fuel-efficient models would get €2,500.

But, as you will see, our record-breaking consumption has consequences.

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