Book review: Generation Share, The change-makers building the Sharing Economy
This is a big, thick, coffee table book profiling people and organisations from all over the World, exploring what and how they’re sharing. It’s a series of case studies, a couple of pages each, attractively presented with images of the places and people.
There’s a wide range of examples, from slum schools in India, to food security in Detroit. The quote from Malik Yakitini, the founder of Detroit Black Food Security Network, pretty much sums up the global proble:
“We live in a capitalist system where everything is commoditised and access depends on wealth. There is a rampant individualistic mindset prevalent in capitalism and this greed, (the not-sharing), is the root of poverty. I am working hard to dismantle it and create another system that is more equitable. The way out of it is to see each other as an extension of ourselves so, sharing is natural like in your family.”
The solutions are as individual as the people implementing them. The next page features a ‘People’s Wealth System’ created in Greece following a law in 2012 prohibiting access to public healthcare for uninsured Greeks. The response was for more than 60 ‘Solidarity Clinics’ to spring up in Athens alone, serving 80,000 people. The doctors and nurses share their time, and the clinics, some of them in abandoned buildings, operate without money. The sharing doctor in this example gives reason for her kindness and compassion.
“The solidarity movement is not about charity. It’s about the belief that, tomorrow, you could be in the same position as the person you are treating today. My dream is for a better society. I don’t want to be paid by my patients. I want to live in dignity and share my skills to help others in need.”
Then there’s the Lena Fashion Library in Amsterdam, where young women borrow, rather than buy, clothes. And the sharing grandma. And the house swoppers. And the Egyptian woman who created a micro loan company, the first in the Arab World, specifically for women. Story after story.
Sharing, what does it even mean? What is the sharing economy? These questions are also addressed, with sufficient space to formulate ones own ideas. The sharing economy could be described as:
Systems, small and large, individual and corporate, to enable access. Access to what? Everything. Access to whom? Everyone.
Generation Share is a detailed exploration of the shifting attitude towards a sustainable and even survivable future. As we say at EthicalMuch, ‘Share What’s Good’. Anyone wanting to borrow our copy of Generation Share can drop us a line and we’ll send ours forward.
Generation Share is authored by Benita Matofska and Sophie Sheinwald, published by Policy Press.