A New Breed of Share-holders

Washington wants us to be shopping more and saving less (at least in the near-term), but Americans actually seem to be going in another direction.

Writing recently in The AtlanticSara Horowitz, founder of the nonprofit Feelancers Union, suggests that a new model of “collective consumption,” involving thrift and shared resources, is being forged. (It’s a phenomenon that we’ve explored before.)

“This sharing economy is based on people coming together to create their own markets (Airbnb), their own products, (Etsy) and their own currency (TimeBanks),” Horowitz writes. “It relies on shared needs, trust and the belief that the group is stronger than the individual.”

Peter Drucker, who devoted his career to studying the workings of organizations and societies, well understood the inherent power of groups. “There are situations in which this phenomenon we call ‘group’ has more reality and life than the individual, situations in which the individual is willing to die so that the group may live,” he noted in a 1947 lecture. “You may try to explain this phenomenon rationally . . . but you won’t get very far this way.”

Because of this, Drucker would not have been surprised to see new modes of consumption arising among Americans. When it comes to individualism versus collectivism, no one approach applies. That goes for the workplace, too.[EXPAND More]

“The most thoroughgoing individualist society, the perfect market model of classical economics, presupposed a tremendous amount of collective organization in respect to law, money and credit, transportation and so on,” Drucker wrote in Technology, Management, and Society. “But precisely because individual effort and collective effort must always be calibrated with one another, the organization of work is not determined. To a very considerable extent there are genuine alternatives here, genuine choices.”

Are you sharing more resources either in your personal or professional life—and, if so, how?[/EXPAND]