"What's Mine is Yours: : The Rise of Collaborative Consumption" by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers

I was listening to Radio 4 yesterday and usually I drift off when Thought for the Day comes on, but yesterday this caught my attention. The speaker is the Right Revd Graham Jones, this is the first part of the “Thought” and this link will take you to the complete text “What’s Mine is Yours is the title of a new book out last Thursday that’s made me think again about the way the internet is reshaping human behaviour. This book is the latest salvo in favour of a movement called collaborative consumption. Apparently we are all wealthier than we think because we’ve all got time, skills and possessions which can make us money. Have you got a spare room? Then get online to sell your accommodation for a day or a week. Want to let someone drive your car when you are not using it? There is a website for you. You can even let others use your bike. Apparently the fastest growing mode of transport in the world is bike sharing.

Two statistics have stayed in my mind. 1.6 million people in Britain are said to be planning house swaps for their holidays this year - more than 100% up on a year ago. And then there is the clincher. The average power drill is only ever used for twelve minutes in its whole lifetime. It didn’t seem possible until I realised that my own power drill has probably only clocked up 4½ minutes in the past ten years.

So why shouldn’t we share what we’ve got? Look at the success of eBay. It now trades £1800 worth of goods every second. We buy goods we have never seen from people we have never met and send them the money first. The internet has built trust in a world where it has been diminishing in almost every other way.”