Sometimes big trends slip in through the back door. We get glimpses of them but we don’t see the bigger picture. We are gradually developing a new culture right under our noses.
I have often spoken of the shared economy and what that will mean for all of us. The words “shared economy” don’t resonate yet but you are beginning to live them. We are finding out that people would prefer “access” to “ownership”. Interpretation, I would rather have access to a car and its conveniences than having to own the car with its payments, maintenance, insurance and fees. I do want to be able to drive to a location and return safely from it as well. Question is, do I have to own the vehicle to do this? The answer in our growing shared economy is “no”. I can use my smart phone and access a vehicle and driver through ride sharing programs–Sidecar, Lyft and Uber or UberX. I can reserve a car through Zip car or Enterprise Car Share. There is also another company called Car2Go. In short car ownership is diminishing. This is a great service for those who are tired of driving, getting older and do not want to drive, don’t have the budget to maintain a vehicle and those who will use public transportation to commute one way and a car and driver the other.
All in all, public transportation will be utilized more and there will be less drivers on the road. The New York Times cited back in June 29, 20013, that driving by young people decreased 23% between 2001 and 2009. These millennials do not value cars and car ownership. Instead, they value technology. When adjusted for population growth, the number of miles driven in the United States overall peaked in 2005 and has dropped ever since. This means we will be looking at how much we invest in roads and public transportation and make changes accordingly.
Another aspect of this ending of ownership is the rise in rental properties. Due to the huge number of foreclosures and loss of equity in homes, a new class of housing developments is being built. Houses are now being built for the rental market rather than the ownership market. Builders are figuring out how to make the costs of building this type of property price market attractive. Home ownership, so highly prized in America, will be declining. This is a gradual trend but as more people are unable to qualify for loans and property prices continue to outstrip incomes, renting becomes the norm. As a society (America) with a number five life path, it is easy to see why this will become more attractive. Five’s love to move and change. Renting provides this ability.
Adding to less car ownership and property ownership is employment sharing. People are sharing jobs, offering their services up on websites such as “Taskrabbit” and sharing their expertise by the hour or by the job rather than steady corporate employment.
Our institutions of modern life are in the process of changing. The way we eat, our medical care, our insurance, our prisons, our banks, our courts, police force, factories, welfare systems and more are all in the process of disruption, chaos and change. Ownership versus access is a big trend that is only one of many more to come.