The Sharing Economy: a Marketplace in our Own Neighborhoods

So, let’s imagine the worse-case scenario for the next week: no agreement comes out of negotiations over the US debt ceiling, the stock and credit markets tank, and we’re all left holding some devalued cash. How will we take care of the basics such as food, shelter, clothing, and transportation?

Grab a gun? Break into a grocery store? Squat in an empty house or building? Yep, these are pretty extreme measures… that, no doubt, some will take should the economy collapse. Sister site Insteading came across a very different approach: the sharing economy. Essentially, all that stuff we’ve all got (or our talents, or our labor) become our “cash”… and, through small-scale organization (think neighborhoods), we share what we have with those around us (and they do the same in return).

Sound sustainable? Realistic? Randy White, the founder of BrightNeighbor, thinks so, and shared his ideas in a recent TEDx talk. Take ten minutes to watch, and share your thoughts… can we pull together in this way if it becomes necessary? And, if we can, could we start before it becomes necessary?

Image credit: orcmid at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at