Jan 22, 2009

kk on renting v. ownership

Kevin Kelly has a thought-provoking piece on the long term trends of "renting" v. "owning" on Technium especially in the context of goods becoming more and more digital. This is the graf that particularly caught my attention, however...

As more items are invented and manufactured – while the total number of hours in a day to enjoy them remains fixed – we spend less and less time per item. In other words the long-term trend in our modern lives is that ALL goods and services will be short-term use. Therefore all goods and services are candidates for rental, sharing, and the social commons.

While time is fixed1, the number of different ways that we can spend that time increase, which means that unless there is some natural floor on the span of attention, we'll be spending less and less time on each individual activity. "ALL goods and services will be short-term use" is a useful lens to think about our relationship with physical goods, esp. in the context of the three Rs of green that are drilled into the heads of every child -- reduce, reuse, recycle.

1 Except on Lost, of course.