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Sharing and Consumption: How they Work and How they Don’t Work

14 November 2019 at 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Room 205b, Campus on Viale Romania, 32

Speaker: Russell Belk, York University


We could drastically reduce consumption by sharing outside the family in a manner that is similar to the ways we share within the family.  I consider why we share our possessions and resources with others and how this tendency is this affected by the Internet.  I begin with what sharing is and how it differs from marketplace exchange, gift-giving, and renting.  There are multiple models of sharing through the Internet, including some with a profit motive and others without.  I will describe how these models differ in terms of how well they work and how they impact feelings of community. I then consider three specific contexts of sharing: housing, transportation, and hospitality, drawing on insights from both Western and Asian contexts.  I conclude by suggesting that we may be entering a new era of sharing and community through the electronic commons and assess threats to making this happen as well as ways to facilitate it.