I recently came upon the idea of Clouditems, and although I haven’t tried that service, because it isn’t made public yet its idea gave some thoughts worth sharing.
Our economics is driven by our empty unecological and greedy consumption. We are obsessed with the need to purchase or obtain in any other way lots of physical goods that will fulfill our lives. As the world goes on and we are presented with new products, the current ones aren’t attractive any more. This need causes our world to fill with dozens of unnecessary objects
But a junk for one person can be a valuable & precious item for another. Winter coat on Hawaii? Worthless, and in Alaska? iPhone 4 (not 4S, I mean the previous version iPhone just 4, no S) for a respectful media company manager? Worthless? But for poor kid from Brooklyn? It’s the same with the most basic of the products we need: food. And yet, somehow humanity hasn’t figured out how to eliminate hunger, even in times like today, when we produce too much food in earths overall balance. This issue doesn’t concern only objects. We are surrounded by physical objects, information and energy which value is very various for every person, depending on many circumstances.
It’s funny that we use the fridge in winter and can’t figure out a way how to use the freezing cold air from outside our home to keep our food cool. On the other side using our all electronic devices, heat from the kitchen and heat generated by our fitness training (or other) would probably be enough to warm our apartment. It’s similar with information.
The problem is creating a smart system for sharing and exchanging the necessary resources, and making it as open secure and fragmented as possible. You wouldn’t want handing over all of this information just to few companies, persons or countries (although they like the idea of more control). After all it’s a very valuable information what is needed and where and when it’s needed, and the same with what is accessible. Besides we hate the idea of communism. And connecting the right individuals by some central HUB can be very easily turn into a full communism.
We are very good at presenting our products and objects which we want to get rid off. Usually in form of selling them. That’s why Amazon and E-bay are so succesful. The problem lies in presenting our needs, there are lots of services allowing us to sell or give something away. But I haven’t seen much services (there are few like Kiva and Kickstarter, but they only consider money, and I am not worried about wasting money) that would present our needs of acquiring/ having/ accepting a gift. Maybe it’s a matter of our honor. We are ashamed that we need something, but we are proud if we have something and can sell it? Another reason is that people in need usually don’t have the tools and skills to develop such a service. They’re too occupied in fighting for survival, or just earning money so they can purchase the desired resources. But purchase isn’t the only solution, there are lots of individuals out there who wished to give away resources desired by another individuals. In form of physical objects, energy or information(ok, I know information is energy). The problem is connecting them.
With rapid rise of Internet and social media, new sharing tools should emerge and I don’t mean social sharing of a nice tweet with your besties, but rather sharing physical objects or energy with individuals who currently need it. As worlds consumption is beating its records year after year, our natural resources are processed with not reasonable vision of the future. The energy production is at its peak and still rises. Yet in the same world we waste massive amounts of energy, materials and products because we don’t know what to do with them or to whom should we give them. The key to solving this situation lies in creating various ways for presenting our needs. Free trade and capitalism have taught us of many ways to show our valuable assets which we want to sell. Unfortunately we still aren’t very good in informing the community about our needs. I hope the Internet will give as services and tools for connecting people with needs and people with surplus of assets. And I’m not writing about money, we don’t waste that. But we waste a lot of energy, resources and products.