The New Urban Experiment — Prosperity Thru Sharing
|November 20, 2012||Posted by Staff under Social Change|
A city can broaden access to resources, reduce resource consumption, and spread prosperity through sharing. Society could share common wealth via taxation. These two 2012 excerpts are from (1) Shareable, Nov 13, on cities and (2) Guardian on fb, Nov 8, on a tax.
by Neal Gorenflo and the Guardian on FaceBook
- The City as Network and Commons
The very notion of prosperity is being redefined by a new generation. It no longer means McMansions, SUVs, and Rolexes — baubles which Millennials watched their parents destroy themselves over. Many want something different, and most couldn’t afford the old dream anyway, even if they wanted it. In this new experiment, prosperity is defined by healthy relationships, realizing one’s creative potential, civic participation, meaningful experiences, and purposeful work — all things that actually deliver happiness.
In a sharing economy, products connect us rather than operating as status symbols that divide. Here product service systems and time-tested urban commons like libraries, parks, streets, and public transportation make our daily needs widely accessible. Here access trumps the burdens of ownership. Here we stop destroying our planet chasing a manufactured dream.
It’s no accident that Gen Y is flocking to cities in what is the greatest migration in history. But there’s an epoch-making twist beyond these shifts: the Internet widens the circle of sharing beyond family, tribe, and nation to the global scale.
Scores of new companies have emerged to help strangers share a wide variety of assets — mostly in cities, the perfect platform for sharing. They include Airbnb and Tripping (rooms and apartments); Loosecubes and LiquidSpace (office space); RelayRides, Getaround, and Wheelz (peer car sharing); Techshop and hackerspaces (industrial workspace); La Cocina (commercial kitchen space); ParkatmyHouse and Park Circa (parking space); Zimride, Sidecar, and Ridejoy (ride sharing); SharedEarth and Hyperlocavore (garden sharing); Grubwithus (restaurant dinners); Vayable (experiences); Skillshare and TaskRabbit (skill sharing); Thredup (childrens clothes); and Yerdle (general).
This list just scratches the surface. Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh: Why The Future of Business is Sharing, has identified thousands of such startups. Rachel Botsman, author of What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, states, bike sharing is the fastest growing form of public transportation.
This is a world where we help each other realize our creative potential, instead of judging each other by what we buy. Where a good online reputation provides more access to resources. Where the more you contribute to the common good, the more you’re respected. Where we host, fund, teach, drive, care, guide, and cook for friends and strangers alike with little to no mediation.
Through networks and commons, we’re opening the world to one another on a peer-to-peer basis, and a new level of freedom is being realized through our social obligations rather than despite them.
Here, nearly everything becomes available to nearly everybody from the cloud at a low cost, on a pay-per-drink basis. Assets do not idle. We use only what we need when we need it.
JJS: Our words “common” and “community” etc come from the Latin for “share with”, because when we share with others, we create bonds with them. As modern humans, who’ve been living out of tribes, separated from each other for so long, relearn to feel comfortable sharing with one another, then it can’t be too long before they get around to the most fundamental sharing of them all — to share the worth of Mother Earth.
Once everyone gets an extra income from society’s spending for land and resources, then our lives change and we all become more human.
Of course, policy must change, too. We’d replaces taxes with land dues and pollution charges and the like and replace subsidies with a dividend from the raised revenue. Happily, some places are moving that way.
- Caroline Lucas Calls On Government to Consider Land Tax
Caroline Lucas, Green MP, said the Treasury was ignoring the potential benefits of a land tax. She sponsored private member’s bill calling for feasibility study after series of thinktank reports criticising tax system
The government will come under pressure to consider a tax on land as a fairer response to the financial crisis by shifting the burden of taxation to wealthy businesses and individuals.
Supporters of a private member’s bill calling for a feasibility study also claim the new tax would allow the government to cut income tax on low and middle incomes.
The Paris-based OECD, the International Monetary Fund and the UK’s Institute For Fiscal Studies (IFS) are among many organisations which argue for ending the reliance on taxes on employment and property transactions.
A report last year for the Treasury by the IFS called on ministers to investigate how an annual tax on land would work and for it to be costed as part of a wideranging review of the tax system.
JJS: Just as young people practice sharing in cities, so do the youthful parties — Greens and Liberal Democrats — promote a key policy for sharing the values, benefits, and advantages of locations. Maybe they could make more progress in advocating the idea if they gave it a name. Would a critical mass buy into “geonomics”?
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .