Changing Models of Ownership and Value Exchange

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RICHARD RADKA and ABBY MARGOLIS

From cars to music, houses to handbags, growing numbers of people no longer aspire to own. Belongings that used to be the standard for measuring personal success, status and security are increasingly being borrowed, traded, or simply left on the shelf. In the last 5 years, we’ve seen massive growth in new business models in which people are willing to tradeoff the right to own a product, in the fullest sense of that term (indefinite access, right to transfer, etc.), for new kinds of social capital. Indeed the integration of social capital with commodity work has been noted as an important new mutation in the private sector. New businesses are spawning to help people make use of products that otherwise sit underutilized including the spare bedroom, the snow blower, the ladder or extra bike. These new businesses span vertical industries and appeal to audiences at a range of socioeconomic levels.

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