What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption
Book by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers
Reviewed by Giselle Carr
Issue 7 Spring 2011
Desire means different things to different people. In “What’s Mine Is Yours,” authors Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers argue that our collective desires for material goods have amassed over the past fifty years or so to become a near-unstoppable force, creating a culture of consumption. The concept of collaborative consumption, or rather the shift from “Generation Me” to “Generation We”, is born out of two interlocking trends. The first is a shift in values, based on growing consumer consciousness of the finite nature of inputs or resources, and consequent finite nature of growth. The second is the collective recognition that the quest for material goods has come at the expense of relationships with family, friends, community and the planet. The outcome is that an even stronger collective desire to re-create thriving communities again has emerged, along with the realization that self-interest and the collective good actually depend on each other.
The authors propose that the heart of collaborative consumption is the notion of redistribution markets, or “unconsumption.” Maximizing the lifespan of objects by keeping them circulated has obvious environmental benefit, but beyond that is the behavioral impact of people responding to a positive action with another positive action. This book inspires the reader to reconsider the consumer mind-set and move the emphasis from changing a particular consumer behavior to changing the system – one which converts our consumption into positive outcomes like fewer products, reduced waste, and more social capital.