The sharing economy: Grist’s theme for January | Grist
This thing we call “the sharing economy” — the messy, fascinating world of networked goods exchange, freecycling, carsharing, and beyond — is an unusual hybrid of normally warring sensibilities and belief systems.
It’s got enough touchy-feely-huggy utopianism to turn the stomach of any self-respecting contemporary skeptic. But it’s got enough market-economics pragmatism to raise the hackles of your typical leftie communitarian.
The sharing economy, in other words, cuts across our assumptions in intriguing ways. That’s one reason we’ve picked this subject as our January theme here at Grist. Another is that the sharing-economy vision offers one imaginable route around that big pileup on the road just ahead of us, where an out-of-control growth economy is slamming into the physics of climate.
Why is there so much buzz and innovation around sharing right now? Part of it is the limping economy, of course — the “real one,” the one that’s all what’s mine is mine. Part of it is a growing awareness that mindless consumption is a big ingredient in the recipe for our sweating climate. And then there’s technology.