Blog 5

Why don’t we share our toys?


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.

Feature Image:
http://www.creativityland.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/hunter-gatherers.jpg

Sources:
Reader, John. “Hunter Gatherers.” Man on Earth. Austin: University of Texas, 1988. 136-55. Print.

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5 thoughts on “Why don’t we share our toys?

  1. I also find it ironic that we think of this Sharing Economy as such a new and innovative industry, when humans have been sharing since the beginning of time. The idea becomes even more ironic when we think about the Earth’s natural resources and how we are striving now, more than ever, to conserve these resources by sharing when sharing from the beginning could have prevented the depletion in the first place!
    Also, I liked your analogy to sharing like children because it makes me think about parents always saying, “play nice” and “please share”. Maybe our government is the “parental” figure now and isn’t doing a good job of reminding us that sharing is necessary? That may be a stretch but your analogy made me think of that!

  2. The question you pose at the end of this blog post about sharing our “toys” really got me thinking about stakeholders in a business. Even though a certain toy may feel very valuable to a child, its existence really only affects the child, thus rendering it as unimportant with the passage of time. The toys that adults possess (house, car, food etc.) are not quite parallel to children’s toys. They affect the families and coworkers of the owner if anything negative were to happen to them. Therefore, when considering a sharing economy, many people will seek business opportunities from ‘sharing’ the things that they own. Who is to stop them from lending things that affect their families, the environment, or society as a whole?

  3. I think it is so interesting how we seem to be returning to a “business” model that has been used since the beginning of society. The hunter gatherers depended on one another for survival so they were easily motivated to share. However, humans do not rely on each other for survival, so the motive to share is limited to goodwill. Additionally, it is easier to hand over a toy in person than it is to share with someone far away or that you do not know. On the other hand, as population increase puts more and more pressure on natural resources, people may again rely on each other for needs and wants. This pressure, in addition to increased globalization and network/privacy technology, may give the sharing economy a chance at success.

  4. I really like how you connected the idea of the sharing economy to an idea brought up in one of your previous blog posts. I agree the circular economy concept relates to the sharing economy because both ideas are concerned with efficiency and reducing waste of resources.

  5. We are still hunter-gatherers. At least, physically, cognitively, and evolutionarly. The question is how does that long history shape our behavior in these new societies we made?

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