If you’re one of the many people who’s embraced the sharing economy, you’ve probably stayed in someone else’s apartment or ridden in someone else’s car. Maybe you’ve also done away with your clutter of DVDs, books, or CDs, since you can watch movies on Netflix, read books on Kindle, and hear music on Pandora.
The concept of having more while owning less sounds paradoxical, but that’s exactly the scenario we’re finding ourselves in. Technology is enabling us to move away from ownership and towards an economy based on sharing and subscriptions. Platforms like Airbnb and Lyft or Uber connect renters and riders to landlords and drivers, and digitization means all kinds of media can be stored, streamed, or downloaded in seconds.
But where does it end? Are there things we’ll always want to own, and if so, what are they?
In a new video from Big Think, author and WIRED founding executive editor Kevin Kelly explores the limits of what he calls the subscription economy and asks, “Is this the end of owning stuff?”