As the Sharing Economy Matures, Should You Rent or Buy?

More than an economic reality, the sharing economy is a sign of the times, suggesting that the individual consumerism that has powered the American economy may be shifting.

Born out of the Great Recession, when people needed new ways to make and save money, the sharing economy has expanded from DVD rentals to include dresses, handbags, cars, pets, drones, children's toys, etc. More than an economic reality, the sharing economy is a sign of the times, suggesting that the individual consumerism that has powered the American economy may be shifting. Boston College sociology professor Juliet Schor, who studies the sharing economy, said:


"It's very counterintuitive from the old individualistic American culture, where what people aspire to has been increasing amounts of privacy, gated communities, owning your own. So it is a real twist on where values, sensibilities and culture have been."

Also as a result of the recession, the millennial generation tends to value experiences more than material purchases and happiness studies confirm this trend: the luster of buying a new product wears off quickly relative to the benefits of a good experience. So in a time when American debt is generated not by the purchase of luxury goods but by middle class items like a home and an automobile, perhaps renting will prove a lasting way to guarantee a dignified standard of living.

As Felix Cramer says in his Big Think interview, car sharing could help ween America off its dangerous addiction to an automobile culture:

Read more at the New York Times

Photo credit: Shutterstock

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
Sponsored
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
Keep reading Show less

The mystery of Jesus’ brother gets even weirder

The controversy over whether Jesus had any siblings is reignited after an amazing new discovery of an ancient text.

Jesus and James. Unknown painter. Possibly 14th century.
Politics & Current Affairs
Keep reading Show less

Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
Keep reading Show less