Trust: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing.
It seems, here, that if we raise our hand and say, “I need this. Can you help?”—our community collectively answers, “Yes.” – Corbyn Hightower
An entire burgeoning business sector in fact is growing around this idea of what Rachel Botsman calls “collaborative consumption.” In fact, according to Botsman, this sharing economy is worth $100 billion worldwide.
The average power drill is only used 6 to 13 minutes in it’s lifetime. That’s a lot of dusty power drills. Tool libraries are popping up all over the place. And companies like Redbox and ZipCar, DVD and car rental companies respectively, are thriving. Botsman thinks we are on the brink of something big.
“The 20th century was about hyper-consumption, but the 21st century will be defined by collaborative consumption. It’s that transformative. People are just now beginning to connect the dots,” she said in an interview with Fast Company.
The Internet has created millions of connection points to allow digital neighbors to ask, “Can I borrow that?”
Perhaps the poster child of this movement is Airbnb which allows its community members to rent out couches, rooms, apartments or homes to one another. It’s a great way for the rentee to earn some extra cash, and for the renter to find a nice, homey place to stay.
When you rent something you are likely to get something of better quality than you could buy because these products were built to last. And it is without the hassle of buying, maintaining, insuring, storing, and disposing of more stuff. Americans spend $22 billion per year on 2.4 billion square feet of self storage, says the Center for the New American Dream. Imagine what we could do with that money if spent elsewhere.
Sharing economies help build community and build trustworthiness. Not to mention that sharing items is better for the planet by using fewer resources.
But perhaps the biggest benefit of sharing is that it makes us feel good. A recent study conducted by Co-operatives UK in 2011 found that 80% of those who share feel happier after doing so.
Botsman believes the collaborative consumption business model can help companies better provide services and goods to people wherever and whenever they need them, at a price they can afford, and allow businesses to profit and thrive, without draining our natural resources. It’s winning all around.