Sometimes I want to live in a collective. For example, I want a kayak, but storage space and the knowledge that I'm too busy to use it very frequently prevents me from buying one, so what I'd really like to do is share a kayak with some other people.
This notion could extend to many other possessions as well, particularly kitchen appliances and power tools. As a matter of fact, a couple of minutes ago, I wished for a dehydrator. There are certain things that I'd like to preserve that way (like shallots and chilies) but not enough to justify owning one. I know my sister has just such a device, and if only she lived closer than Atlanta, I would ask her to borrow it. Along the same lines, I myself recently purchased a pressure canner. It's not a super extravagance, but it cost enough that I thought about it for over a year before I laid my money down. It's in my attic right now; surely somebody could be getting some use out of that baby.
Wet saws, chop saws, reciprocating saws-- I know how to use them, and they would probably come in handy once a year or so, but if I owned any of them, they would join the pressure canner languishing in storage, declining in value.
Most Americans have too much stuff, me included, and there is a certain transcendence to using the right item for the job that is undeniable, but access rather than ownership might be the way to go. I think that sharing would be a huge step toward eliminating the consumerism that plagues many of us.
Who's with me? (I'm bringing a lot of sweet kitchen appliances to the deal!)