The trend towards leasing

By Thane on Mon 10 January 2011

I was a little unnerved today when I read about an emerging trend in consumer behaviour: business seems to be moving towards an "ownerless" model. This isn't, of course, true lack of ownership - it just means that consumers prefer not to own things. We tend to want the latest and greatest, and we want it now, and we want it without commitment. ADHD?

What I'm wondering is: what happens when all your personal data is stored (read: owned) by Google or Amazon, your car, house (and the land upon which it stands) and furniture are owned by the bank, your wardrobe is leased to you on a monthly basis (catering for the latest fashion trends), and your communication devices belong to the networks?

The obvious benefit is a "life of sponteneity", which I definitely find appealing, being a bit of an ADHD kid myself, but what are the drawbacks? I would be quite uncomfortable with big corporates and governments owning all of the seriously valuable assets in the world, dictating the terms of those agreements because of their sheer size or capacity for violence.