This morning in a small Croatian village my family partook in something called ‘Radna Akcija’ (Work Action). This is a throwback to communist times in Yugoslavia when everyone in the village was expected to “muck in” and help build something for the benefit of the village. In the old days, this may have been building a road, helping extend the water supply, digging the channels for a new sewage system or simply cleaning up after a village party.
This type of communal activity glued the socialist system together and older villagers wax lyrical about the sense of community and the bonds these Radna Akcija initiatives created. The people are proud of the infrastructure that they built for themselves. As a result, they keep up the tradition every month. It’s like a turbo form of our own Tidy Towns.
Interestingly, we know that humans like to share and collaborate.
The ability to share, inform, exchange ideas and therefore organise through language is what propelled humans into poll position in the animal kingdom.
The entire idea of storytelling is the notion of sharing experiences. Where do you think the great Irish expression, “Come here till I tell ya” comes from?
We like to involve others in our world, to talk and exchange ideas. A sense of humour is nothing more than sharing your own funny ideas and hoping to get a laugh. Humans have always shared ideas and we have always collaborated for the greater good.
The Yugoslavian communists exalted a greater force – the notion of the moral superiority of the collective over the individual. But this collaborative model wasn’t conceived by Karl Marx; it goes right back to Aristotle, who first observed that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. When people collaborate and share, there are enormously positive things that can come from such endeavours.
As I watched all this collaboration in Dalmatia and the use of people’s time, abilities and tools, I thought of the recent news about Airbnb in Ireland where the Revenue are in cahoots with Airbnb to tax the income people are getting from renting rooms, flats and houses.
The news underscored just how many people are involved in the likes of Airbnb right now. It seems that in the past year Airbnb has grown very quickly indeed. I know loads of people renting out rooms and apartments on Airbnb, and I have stayed in two Airbnbs this year alone.
At its essence, Airbnb isn’t so different from what the villagers were doing this morning, except it’s a capitalist version.
The thousands of Irish people renting out rooms are an example of a new form of economy – the sharing economy.
The sharing economy is going to change the way we live because the sharing economy offers society an opportunity to use stuff that we are wasting – such as an unused room – and, at a personal level, the incentive is income in a cash-strapped economy.
Crucially, this potential income isn’t something new, it’s just converting a wasted resource into cash. What can be more attractive?
An unused resource is a wasted resource.
Karl Marx understood that, at its heart, the consumer economy is grotesquely wasteful, but his solution, rather than being Aristotlean, was brutalist.
Communism preferred confiscation over collaboration and, as a result, ended up with the truly bizarre situation that the whole was actually less than the sum of the parts because lots of the parts were seized and sequestered before they could be shared.
All this is now changing. The mass use of the internet – all three billion of us internet users – has opened up a new way in which the waste of individual consumption can be shared and reused over and over.
This will profoundly affect income, GDP and living standards.
In the past we could only share with people we knew. Now with platforms like Airbnb – as well as eBay, Uber and Kickstarter – we can create second-hand or shared value and we can generate income out of nothing.
The new sharing economy, exemplified by Airbnb and Uber, will be transformative. We are moving from individual consumption towards something that is called collaborative consumption.
To get an idea of how much waste individual consumption generates, think about your car.
Did you realise that on average in the developed world a car will be idle for 92 per cent of the day and night? This is a monumental waste and a huge financial and environmental cost to all of us.
Is it any wonder that Uber is exploding all over the world given that it turns the unused car into an income stream?
The sharing economy isn’t just a new form of taxi driving or a glorified version of the old-fashioned B&B. It is going to become an entire economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources.
It includes shared creation, finance, production, distribution and trade. At its heart, the sharing economy could become the core of environmentally friendly capitalism driven by the three Rs: recycle; reuse and repair.
The Revolution is already here.
A report in April by PricewaterhouseCoopers said that five sectors in the sharing economy could see their combined global revenue jump from $15 billion to $335 billion by 2025 at the current rate of growth.
The areas referred to were: travel, car-sharing, finance, the jobs market and music- and video-streaming services.
PwC also cited one of its surveys as showing that 18 per cent of adults in the US have participated in the sharing economy as a consumer, and 7 per cent as a provider.
The future will be a shared one. Fancy it? Why wouldn’t you?
He’s usually on the ball so he deserves a lie in every now and then :-)
(this is my non comment in order to follow the res)
The future is here already David it’s just not widely distributed yet.Not my quote but life’s too short for attribution or harvard referencing systems. The challenge is to prevent public or private sector highwaymen from stealing/misallocating the wealth of the cashed-up new collectives. I’ve been staying in an apartment within an italian palazzo for the last five days courtesy of the airbnb system.It’s artfully and tastefully furnished and overlooks terracotta tiled rooftops and all the dishevelled elegance and streetscape that you’d expect of Italy. This mansion is certainly a long way from the only mansions I would have known in… Read more »
Just got up – it’s a hard life Mike.
WE already have a “sharing” economy.
People sweat and toil, and share the proceeds with gamblers, when the gamblers lose the private capitalist gamble on Anglo Bonds.
In fact, we are “punching above our weight” with regard to this sort of behaviour.
Many years ago a political office holder on 350 K started lecturing us on “meitheal”.
The superficiality of the office holder, and the many houses owned, were too much for more people.
There was no “meitheal” coming from the political class. Or indeed the state system.
I think it destroyed the usefulness of concept.
The Irish Tax authorities and “sharing”. A bit of a sarcastic joke really.
You work as hard as you can, and then “share” half the proceeds with them. It is compulsory. You do not even get the opportunity of thinking about it. And then everything you spend is taxed. And if you try to save for the rainy day, that is also dis-incentivised.
In fact just about every activity is punished. Except those pertaining to crime, corruption, bribery, fiddling company accounts, sucking out of the state system, and being a reckless banker.
It will work in Croatia. And maybe in rural Ireland. In urban Ireland there is far too much deceit. And in my lifetime the level of deceit has increased.
Ironically there is only tax required to be paid if there is a cash charge. Volunteer labour or labour provided in an exchange where no cash is involved does not attract taxes, yet. The new economy (or not so new)is an exchange of services. Barter is back with a vengeance. Here on the Brinkworthy estate is a community starting to provide for each other. Helping out the neighbour with a free job and being gifted some fresh vegetables, while not broad based is happening. Surpluses are thus transferred to others with less. All benefit as it is voluntary rather than… Read more »
Poverty dressed up as a lifestyle choice is what you are describing there, David. It scarcely merits talking about. Feel free to exhale now.
Now if only we could devise a way of distributing micro electric energy. There are so many ways of producing electric power on very small scales, e.g. exercise bikes, all we need is a distribution system and we have the environmental problem licked. All technology advances are mute if we destroy the biosphere, as we are currently doing. Maybe the emerging areas of collaboration David describes above will lead us to the real prize of collaborative energy production. We are awash in personal energy which is 99.999% wasted. All we need is an IP address for our individual energy account… Read more »
We have a “self help” club here on Salt Spring Island. All club members are expected to do their bit. The original bondholders bought the property and set to work and together built the docks for the boats they owned. $0 years later the tradition continues with over 250 members contributing to work parties 3 or 4 times a year. All positions are voluntary. All work is ‘collective”. The result is a large modern marina with the annual moorage costs a quarter of the commercial rates in the region. In addition local members have reciprocal rights at 50 other clubs… Read more »
A cashed up collective may be the only part of the economy correctly operating as the rest collectively crash.
“Financial writer and trader Gregory Mannarino predicts that big debt defaults are coming. Mannarino contends, “We are starting to see this with Greece and Puerto Rico here. It’s everywhere. This is a global problem and it’s going to engulf the world. This debt problem is going to swallow the earth. They have done this on purpose. They cannot be this stupid. . . . They are doing this on purpose and there is going to be no soft landing. It is a global issue and it is going to implode.”
Central Bank Scam Explains World Malaise
True Scale of Dollar Ponzi Scheme Becoming Apparent …
[…] The cashed-up new collectives – David McWilliams […]
I totally share Deco’s cynicism.
It’s a real joy to read his comments, which I find “spot on”.
The only thing that changed from the Renaissance up to now, is the technology.
But unfortunately, the System that governs our lives or the MAL-TRIX, as I call it, is still being controlled by parasitic Governments and Public Administrators, bad Banks, bad Corporations, and the Elites, that exert their control and mantain the “status quo”, mainly through the Educational System and the News.
We are only sheep in the human farm, mostly (DMW is one of the exceptions) being fed total lies.
I was thinking about wasted resources. Particularly the car. Sure I use it for fractions of the day. What a waste. BUT when I want to go somewhere, like the store for groceries, to the club for a sail, or a couple of screws to finish a job, I jump in the car with no wait, it gets me their quickly and efficiently without any waste of time. Talking of the spare room which is storage or for guests I considered the main bed , the only one I use for 40% of the time. I could advertise for a… Read more »
Thanks for that contribution. It’s interesting to get the insight of people who left our shores some years ago and put their hopes dreams and energy into a different culture. That truly was a wasted resource for this little Country. Maybe a garage conversion would get you up and running on airbnb? Kind Regards
Comments re the COMEX where fractional reserve fraud, bare naked shorting (criminally illegal) of the silver market results in cash settlement in cash rather than delivery. Posted on Lemetropolecafe Just what the doctor ordered, from our good friend Mexico Mike up in Canada who has checked back in. Running stops Hi Bill! I just want to vent at this point. Look, we know the crooks keep the COMEX opaque for a reason. They can see where the big positions are concentrated as options expiry dates approach, and they know where the stops are set. They also know the limits of… Read more »
A flyspeck of gold for a dollar/pound /euro…
But these aren’t really collectives, are they. Uber drivers see full time, they’re attractive because they’re cheaper, so uber is just a low cost taxi service. It’s not cheaper because there’s anything more efficient about it, it’s just because the drivers earn less. Airbnb is either renting out a spare room , or an alternative to buy-to-let. These aren’t social. The new part of a small town getting together to dig a trench for a pipe to join the town sewerage system, is. As far as I can see, the only really interesting thing appearing at the moment is the… Read more »
Stephen If there’s a mechanism to utilize and generate an income stream from an underused asset isn’t that a good thing for individuals and therefore society? The airbnb owner will need tradespeople to maintain and develop the property. Visitors will use taxis and restaurants and pubs etc. What could be more social than pulling wealth into an area in a bottom up way and allowing that wealth to circulate in a small community? The old b & b system put food on tables and clothes on kids backs. The hotel brands siphon off the wealth into trust funds for the… Read more »
In relation to being hyper connected and receiving hundred of “messages” a day my concern is that the new generation may just be receiving advertising “noise” dressed up and polished for the new kids on the block.However this generation make TV on youtube the last generation watched passively for the most part.
But I know I prefer to try to actively contribute and be constantly forced to re-consider or defend my perspective by people on this blog than to passively watch or read old media.
Economic citizenship. Giving incentives to attract entrepreneurial people to a country rather than driving them out because of economic difficulty.
Currency war update, Vietnam devalues. Ding Dong goes their currency.
http://www.xe.com/currency/xdr-imf-special-drawing-rights After the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1973, the SDR was redefined as a basket of currencies. Today the SDR basket consists of the euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling, and U.S. dollar. The value of the SDR in terms of the U.S. dollar is determined daily and posted on the IMF’s website.Apr 9, 2015. Booking a flight today I printed off the itinerary. In the small print discussing what amount of money could be claimed in the event of delayed flights etc I noted that the unit of currency used was the IMF SDR. Other currencies were… Read more »