What we share and how can we share?

The type of things I have shared:

At first glance i found myself thinking ‘What have i shared’ and I think the answer to most of this is time and skills. I’ve developed a couple of websites for free over the years. Generally get enthused about other people projects and help them out on them anyway I can. I’ve put out a few free 3d models online for people to use. Small things like that rather then some overt gesture. I’ve done a bit of charity work here and there. I’m involved recently in a founding of a art school/art studios that hope to provide art access and cheap art workspaces, this is sharing of sorts as well, but I would be more comfortable declaring it as such when the project actually starts.

The type of thing I appreciate other people sharing:

I’ve gotten alot from open source code, i develop games and the development time would increase dramatically if it wasn’t for this sort of resource. I’m a big believer in this sort of shared intellectual property.

On a smaller scale I get alot from friends, a lift here, a free meal there, adds dramatically to my overall quality of life.


I think it is larger the culmination of these small kindnesses that improve peoples lives on a day to day basis, from friends and family. It is difficult to facilitate this fromt he top-down as it works on a personal level.

On a grander scale helping ‘resource sharing communities’ would be useful. By this i mean communities such as those that develop free code librarys or those that bring together information in other ways with no other intention then the benefit of others. As a creative i’ve found great use in resources of medieval illustratons, as a student benifitted from free collections of scholary papers and articles, etc.

This sort of sharing has been enabled by the internet and if were supported in some greater way would benifit society as a whole. I wouldn’t think monetary incentives would be much use though, (even on a business level the results of their use of employees is dubious) it would have to be something more subtle to encourage such behaviour.

This applies to physical properties as well of course, but due to the set-up of society as a whole it’s harder for these sort of projects to to manifest themselves effectively on a large social level.

When I think about sharing, I always come to the conclusion that enabling a larger culture of sharing would be of benefit but draw a blank as to how this can be made to happen on a wide scale. In certain aspects the idea of sharing runs counter to the ideas pushed onto us by advertising and media that encourage focus on the individual and possession oriented thinking  (this being of benefit economically)

It comes down to hacks

Hello karl, I read this with a lot of interest. Your experience does resonate with mine, and with those of most of frends.

I also appreciate your honesty in concluding that you simply don’t know how to encourage sharing behavior, rather than drawing some makeshift grand scheme that would change everything. Acutally, I am not sure such a grand scheme even exists: personally, I feel more inspired by small-scale projects, speficic instantiations of the sharing principle.

There is a book you might enjoy, called Collaborative Consumption. It does not offer much in the way of theory, but it does have a number of lively, refreshing war stories. For some reason, one that stuck to my brain is this carpet manufactring company in America, whose CEO got the idea that he could make more money with less damage to the plante if he leased the carpets rather than selling them. The logic is this: carpets are made of two layers: one is soft fabric you stand on, the other is a tough rubber-like material that is used as a structure. The fabric layer wears out more quickly than the rubber-like layer, so when you change your carpet you are typically throwing away a perfectly usable layer alongside the worn out one. So this company leases you a carpet. When you want it changed, you phone them. They come to your house, pull out the old carpet and install the new one. Then they drive off with your old carpet , take it back to the factory, recycle the fabric and reuse the structural layer… which will probably end up in someone else’s house (hence collaborative consumption). Result: lower prices, higher profits, lower environmental impact.

This is not a comprehensive solution. It works for carpets, because carpets happen to be made of two layers which wear out at different speeds; but it does not work for wooden or ceramic tile floors. Maybe the Grand Sharing Solution will be made of millions of different sharing hacks.

Collaborative consumption

This idea of collaborative consumption seems like a brilliant idea!

One of the problems I find when talking to people about how to best enact social change on any level is that there seems to be two tribes, those who have a grand scheme and plan to bring things toward that scheme, and the second a more ‘grass roots’ approach from the bottom up.

Now both these approaches have their merits, and my personal preference would be for the bottom-up small scale ventures, but I  find myself trying to bring idealistic ideas in line with reality. I’m sure the majority of people on this site feel there are things about society that should and could be changed (me included), but the approach to changing them I feel is one subtle and multi-faceted.

I would say neither a ‘grand scheme’ exists and also that very few small scale ventures acheive their goals (outside circles of people already interested in the idea, quite often we preach to the choir). The real change I think happens by the repetition of these small scale ventures and the wider cultural shift this causes, as opposed to the actual ventures themselves.

That all being said the idea of ‘Collaborative consumption’ seems to straddles both of these nicely, I could see how policy could bring about a structure for such conumption to occur naturally. I think i might just check that book out.

Collaborative consumption initiative in Cluj, Romania

Hi there,  just when I thought this collab consumption thing exists in parallel worlds with mine, this morning I  discovered there is a very incipient project in my hometown, a winner of a startup competition…

Of course, the name is in English, it even sounds weird in Romanian since it’s obviously so new! and most of their slogans and materials are almost copy-pasted from Western documentation…  they even posted a video of Rachel Botsman, the author of the book Alberto recommended (http://usetogether.ro/blog)

And the subtitle sounds really familiar: “It’s not about owning things. It’s about access to things.”

So maybe this whole thing will take some time to kick off, and in time reflect also the local component and culture of sharing, which now is inexisting in most of my country. But the good thing with towns like mine - half a million inhabitants, of which 1/5 are students, young and energetic - is that the word of mouth and really convergent social networks works great, so in no time everybody will hear if there’s something great happening and poeple will start by imitating the few who say “this is good for you!”. So maybe this kind of culture can be developed even when people don’t really realise what’s happening and why they’re doing things: because it’s trendy and those cool guys are doing it.

A central issue with which all others must have links

Uh. This reminds me of Nadia’s discussion and her feedback loops. We could argue endlessly, until we no longer know where to turn.

It is not easy to find ways to generate more sharing, in order to enable a larger culture of sharing.

As Karl pointed out, we live in a ‘possession oriented thinking’ society. We know that this does not combine with altruistic values​​, such as sharing.

Why is that?

Alberto made a good description, in ‘How I learned to share’.

‘You should aspire to a nice apartment for yourself and your family, in which you would share with your neighbours only the staircase. If you were more affluent, even better: you were encouraged to go for an independent house, with your own fenced garden and no sharing at all.’

We focus on what is separate.

Everything depends this concept.

I recently read this text from Jean Staune lately, about the theory of non-separability. This deep explanation, from a scientific point of view, answers my wildest questions, and appears to me as a solution, if we want the world to stop feeling as if separated, and modify behavior to try to feel as non-separated.

‘Beyond all the practical, psychological, social, aesthetic or moral problems, the question of the nature of nature is what has always seemed to be the central issue with which all others must have links more or less tenuous, RESULTING IN THAT THEY ULTIMATELY ALL DEPEND ON IT FOR THEIR ANSWERS. Until the discovery of non-separability, there was still hope that all the paradoxical aspects of quantum mechanics would vanish when the interpretation would be replaced by other, more complete or more subtle mechanics. I know now that it will certainly not be the case, since the non-separability has experimental evidence independent of the principles of this theory. So I know with certainty that some ancient philosophical underpinnings (intrinsic reality of the physical space-time, causality, locality) of scientific representation of the universe must be changed.’ (My translation. Ref)

There is a pattern of life essential for mankind. There are basic factors, like sharing, which bring us closer to this pattern, and which would contribute to the harmonious progress of mankind. This may appear idealistic or even fantastic and impractical to many people. But the conclusion is unavoidable.