Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Botsman’

Collaborative consumption – what it is and why it matters to Labour

02/03/2011, 02:00:46 PM

by Jonathan Todd

There is a piece of land registered on Landshare in every postcode in the UK. If you stacked every film shipped weekly by Netflix in a single pile, it would be taller than Mount Everest. The value of goods traded annually on ebay is more than the GDP of 125 countries. Bike sharing is the fastest-growing form of transportation in the world.

Something is going on here. And Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers think they know what it is: collaborative consumption. Defenders of the big society have latched on to the decentralised, networked mega-trend that Botsman and Rogers describe in their book, “what’s mine is yours – how collaborative consumption is changing the way we live.”

After Botsman gave a version of her stump speech at the RSA last month, I asked whether this trend contains any lessons for Labour. She was, understandably, reticent to politicise her baby. The big society shouldn’t be owned by any political party, nor should collaborative consumption, she told me.

Of course, she’s right. The civic institutions that are supposed to make up the big society were around long before David Cameron tried to destroy them. And collaborative consumption is too nebulous a concept for any politician to convincingly declare it their passion. I’m not even sure that it adds up to a unified idea. There are, however, elements of Botsman and Rogers’ argument that hit upon some truths that Labour should absorb. (more…)

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