I learned about the term collaborative consumption from a classmate when he wrote a paper on it in a previous class. I knew already about the concepts that this term describes.
This is the description of collaborative consumption from Wikipedia:
"The term collaborative consumption is used to describe an economic model based on sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting access to products as opposed to ownership. (Wikipedia)"
This video I stumbled upon today, it also describes exactly this phenomena, they call their project "Cosume".
Video found here. Project webpage.
I think both terms are great, creative and inspiring. There are numerous things going on around collaborative consumption, new companies based on this way of thinking, for example companies offering a way for you to rent out your car or hire your neightbours' car in case you don't have one or renting out your sofa for people travelling. On a smaller scale you can find people changing things on facebook or on their blogs. (Pssst, clothes-swap in Stockholm during the weekend) A vital part for collaborative consumption to work is that there needs to be trust between the parties but hopefully more of these sort of projects will give a stronger community feeling between consumers.
Collaborative consumption could definitely be a great alternative to our consumption culture since a lot of our consumption is unnecessary. Rachel Botsman gives a great example in this TED-talk, on collaborative consumption, on how a bought drill is usually not used more than 1-2 times, so why not rent it? What we need might not be a drill, but a hole in the wall.
However, as with all great ideas there are some problems as well. With collaborative consumption might arise some law problems on when you are just a bunch of friends sharing a car to when it becomes a business. In some of these cases cooperatives might be the solution, but we might be in a gray area on this for some time until new laws are established. (do check the link out, for videos and more info on the law problems)
Finally, collaborativeconsumption.com will give you most of the answers you need on this subject.
Do you have any personal experience on collaborative consumption? Please share!