Sharing has always been essential to human life, but “What’s new,” says Neal Gorenflo, founder of Shareable Magazine, “is our blindness to it.” Through our individualized pursuit of happiness—a lifestyle ushered in during the Industrial Revolution—many of us have forgotten that for centuries the most promising source of security came from our ability to build and maintain strong social connections and respect the commons.
From water and forests to public transportation systems and public health to human knowledge and the Internet, the commons includes all that we share. But it’s not just stuff, it’s also the ways we work together—a whole new economic and political paradigm. Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It, aptly notes, “In a world of hyper-individualization…sharing our stuff with friends or strangers can be a political act.”
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Click here to download your free copy of Sharing Revolution: The essential economics of the commons, the new e-book from On the Commons, from which this article is taken.