After listening to the podcast from KCRW, The Rise of the Sharing Economy” I thought back to another blog I posted about a theory known as the circular economy. This theory describes that organization’s should redesign their business model and reuse as many resources they can within their supply chain. The concept of the sharing economy takes this one step forward. Instead of redesigning the internal business model of an organization, the sharing economy concept takes a more collaborative approach – it looks how to connect people, the environment, and the economy.
But is this really something new? Haven’t humans been sharing since the beginning of time? Hunter-gatherer societies are one of the most efficient groups of people. Though there are not many hunter-gatherer groups left, some still exist. Hunter-gathers live under carrying capacity. They put in very few hours a day of labor, hunting for men and gathering for women, to access food. As they return from their short days of work, each member shares his or her resources with the rest of the group. No one is hungry and everyone is able to spend leisure time with his or her family and community. The key to hunter-gatherers survival is the sharing of resources.
The concept of sharing has evolved into an industry – the collaborative consumption industry. Today, the use of technology has allowed society to adopt the concept of sharing and turn it into a business. More and more companies, as discussed in the circular economy theory, are turning towards collaborative and sustainable strategies in their business models. Today, people are realizing that there are a finite number of resources in the world. So why don’t we share our toys (cars, houses, bikes, food, and talent) like we did when we were children? Is it any different? When we were children our favorite toy probably seemed just as valuable to us as a car may mean to us today.
Reader, John. “Hunter Gatherers.” Man on Earth. Austin: University of Texas, 1988. 136-55. Print.