The World Economic Forum’s annual conference in January has taken a radical new stance, proposing that the future of the world’s economy is dependent on a sharing model facilitated by the internet of things (this is just a fancy way of saying borrowing stuff off your phone).
It doesn’t sound groundbreaking but this is a pretty big deal. As Jeremy Rifkin, an American economist and social theorist, points out, there has never been a successful contender to socialism vs. capitalism models until now. It seems like the clock is ticking for the ‘take, make, and dispose’ economy.
Most of us forget what we ate for dinner the night before, how on earth can we start building a new economic revolution? Well the truth is, we are all using it already, just not enough. Platforms like Airbnb and Gumtree are the big names but the newest kid on the block is Fat Lama: a peer-to-peer rental platform where you can find anything from cameras to drones listed.
Intrigued? Take a look at some of the benefits of renting your belongings:
Ever heard of e-waste? (we aren’t talking about junk mail!)
E-waste is electronic waste caused by the millions of tonnes of phones, computers, cameras and cables we dispose of every year. Technology moves so quickly which is exciting, but it also creates an immense amount of trash. It is by far the biggest recycling crisis we face today, accounting for 2% of America’s landfills and 70% of all toxic waste produced.
A few ways to tackle this problem include:
There has been a concerted effort in recent years to stimulate community in urban areas. Up until now, cities have been centres of disconnect, where people living on the same street might never actually say a word to one another. However, this is all starting to change. Suburbs are becoming more vibrant than city centres, social clubs are on the increase and the internet is acting as a tool to connect people in person.
For peer-to-peer borrowing to work, it requires face-to-face encounters. Moreover, you will likely have common ground with the people you meet, given the mutual interest in a specific item. If you are renting a camera off someone, chances are they will either be a photographer or at least a fellow camera enthusiast.
Along with reducing your reliance on production, renting will save you lots of money.
Think about the price we pay for an electric drill ($100+), or a DSLR camera ($400+), and ask yourself, is it worth the money?
A lot of the time, as previously mentioned, this stuff is used so infrequently that you might only use it a handful of times. Your average DSLR camera though will cost around $20 a day to rent, and can be negotiated for a weekly fee as well. This approach could save you hundreds of dollars that could be better used on saving for a deposit or a holiday somewhere!
Experiences, relationships, and journeys are the things that build our characters, not the things we own and buy.
Around 78% of millennials would sooner spend money on experiences over owning possessions. This is reflected in recent years in a boost for spending in the travel and music industries. Today, young people are more happy to spend their money developing a mental scrapbook of stories, relationships and journeys rather than clutter their homes with an inventory of items they may only use a couple of times.
So, if you need to use something only to allow you to have a great experience - maybe a GoPro to document the ascent up a mountain, or a barbecue to host a great garden party - don’t buy it, check out whether you can rent from your neighbours instead.
Aside from the environmental and social advantages, there is also the potential to boost your own finances simply by listing your underused belongings.
Think about the bicycles you have lying about or a ladder in your shed you may have only ever used once. Well by renting such items out, you can quite efficiently make up their original cost, all with minimal effort. In fact, you can often far surpass this benchmark, with some people earning $5000 per month, a figure far over the average income in any country.
Started in East-London two years ago, Fat Lama is a peer-to-peer rental platform where you can find anything from hoovers to drones listed. In practical terms, Fat Lama is a way to make money off your personal belongings and rent items you don’t want, or can’t afford, to buy. It also has the capacity to become a lifestyle; of trying new things and meeting new people.
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