Saturday, October 16, 2010

Idle Capacity

Broke and green - - two attributes that are starting to define consumers in the global economy. What does mobility look like when you are broke and green? It looks like Zipcar -- a U.S. company with 400,000 members who pay an annual fee and can then rent cars by the hour. I noticed several Zipcars in lots around the Georgia Tech campus on my last visit - - around college campuses and urban environments are probably target markets. Broke and green produces a collective impatience with waste. The average American spends 18% of his or he income on running a car that is usually stationary - - I have three such stationary objects in the garage as I write this. Idle capacity equals waste equals a desire for greater efficiency.

Renting, in the context of broke and green, could become one of the byproducts of a sustainable economy. In some respects, the Internet and social networking makes renting easier - - from clothes to toys to cars to electric drills - - why buy something with embedded idle capacity when you can rent it?

Sustainability equals collaborative consumption, especially in the context of brokenness and greenness.

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