Collaborative Consumerism Essay

1309 words - 6 pages

Collaborative Consumption

Someday we’ll look back at ourselves and wonder why we had to own so much stuff. What was the point of filling our homes with one-time-use objects or our garages with cars? Surely the rush of buying and the human desire to consume is hard to replace, yet that doesn’t mean we need to buy happiness in the literal sense of the word. Times are changing and so is consumerism; the customs of buying and selling are now a thing of the past. Collaborative consumerism, the idea of increasing the usefulness of what we own and what skills we have to offer, is the future. Collaborative consumption is quickly changing the way we see our role as consumers and though ...view middle of the document...

But critics … argue that the formula is really nothing more than the wolf of materialism wrapped in cheaper sheep’s clothing” (268-269). No matter how consumerism is portrayed, disguised or not, it’s safe to say that the human desire to spend money and consume isn’t changing.

Collaborative consumption offers a bright side to this dilemma; creating less waste is one of the main effects of this new way to buy and sell. We are in essence simplifying our lives, de-cluttering homes, and lessening landfills through lending, renting, trading, and sharing goods instead of buying them. This is one of the most effective ways to waste less and stop producing unnecessary items; getting the full use of a product by sharing it is much more efficient than producing hundreds of items that will only live up to their glorious function once, maybe twice, then be left idle in a corner somewhere. Racks upon racks of DVD’s and CD’s are ancient history thanks to new services like Netflix and Spotify, which have made sharing and accessing music and movies easier than ever, essentially making the ownership of a physical CD or DVD superfluous. Trading websites are an innovative way to reduce the amount of clutter amounting in peoples’ lives. For example, the book you could never get yourself to read, could very easily find a new loving home through an easy online barter. And in an urban lifestyle where you have lots of neighbors and sparse space, does one really need to own a car? Businesses like Zipcar and Lyft have made getting from point A to point B so easy and affordable, paying and hassling through the ownership of a vehicle is now something to seriously question.

This sharing and collaborating between people prompts connections to be built, even if they are electronic and occur online; technology is reinventing and redefining community. We are learning to put our trust back into people, and it’s about time. By evolving the way we do business with one another through collaborative consumption, the need for a middleman is being eliminated. The traditional way of consumption places no importance on human interaction; we simply find what we need, buy it, and leave. Damien Cave put it even better saying, “when people spend so much time buying, thinking and talking about products, they don’t have time for anything else, for real conversations about politics or culture or for real interaction with people” (271-272). This couldn’t be truer. The reason traditional corporations have been prospering is because they’re convincing individuals they need brand name and advertised stuff to fulfill wants and desires. Let’s say we stop focusing on brands and paying attention to advertisements; instead, we seek out alternate way to get the gadgets we need, which are just as trustworthy thanks to customer ratings, and simultaneously give us the chance to...

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