Monday, April 18, 2005

If You Don't Have Enough For Everyone...

This post over at Dirt and Soundwaves caught my attention. I’m familiar with the idea of shared transportation – particularly those modes popular in many European towns – but the notion of extending the concept to embrace lawn mowers, tools, and the like is definitely attractive.

Unfortunately, as Mikhail points out, before the United States could be convinced to ease up on individual ownership and move towards rentals or shared ownership, the price issue – renting is less cost effective than outright purchase – would have to be addressed. If demand for rentals were to increase, however, this discrepancy could be remedied by decreasing rental price.

Of course, this shift requires more than a pinch of pragmatism. In our individualistic and increasingly urban society, we may have to begin by introducing ourselves to our neighbors.


Devo said...

What are you, a COMMIE?! I fear that the stigma still remains, even though we whupped those red bastards but GOOD.

I wold imagine that education still remains as one of our primary weapons in this particular battle. Convincing people that it is truly in their best interests to invest in their world is tough though, particularly when part of that investment NEEDS to be in the very long term, and the fruits of said investment will probably not ripen anywhere near in our lifetime.

To touch on a subject worthy of a separate post entirely, I posit that this extreme myopia is partly attributable to Sesame Street. I shit you not. Ten-second TV (watch a few sitcoms tonight, pay close attention to the length of each shot. Try to find ONE shot that lasts for longer than ten seconds) has allowed our attention span to contract to the size of a sound byte. And considering many of us here in the ol' US of A were reared and weaned from the breast to the lull of Bert and Ernie's constant bickering and the 1-2-3-4-5 song (you know, the one with the pinball machine), it's hard to argue that the ten-second TV mentality has NOT been ingrained so deeply into our very consciousnesses that it is nearly intrinsic now... Especially since the initial victims of this mass media assault on our brains are now reproducing and plopping THEIR children down in front of the very same babysitters they had as little tykes themselves.... extending the reign of mass media culture and the ritalin-baby progeny it begets and enslaves...

What was I talking about again...?

Mikhail Capone said...

re: "Your points regarding rent/purchase "market distortions in prices" are valid and will need to be addressed. If the interest in renting were to increase, the prices could be lowered. This would help."

Cross-posting from my blog:

I think that's exactly the reason why car-sharing is catching on in most big North-American cities (as well as Europe); because it costs less than owning a car.

But for anything else than a car - or even for a car if you need it every day to go to work - renting/leasing/sharing is not cost effective, which encourages over-consumption.

In short: I agree with you.