by John Vasko
Society today (in 2016) is full of private consumption. It is not that private ownership is a bad thing, but it may not have the best efficiency in terms of utilizing existing resources and building social relationships. There are other avenues that can be explored.
Facilities exist like 24 Hour Fitness where members can share gym space and at the same time gain a social experience. Members of 24 hour fitness can also go to a different city or state and still experience the familiar gym that they are members of back home. Additionally 24 Hour Fitness helps members network and build relationships while providing service. The point here is that membership-based economies can be more fulfilling and simultaneously more efficient at maximizing resources.
Looking at the other side of things, imagine for a moment that instead of a gym membership each member would need to privately own their own weights and swimming pool. Not only does private ownership in this case become cost prohibitive but many items from the gym are totally impractical to take while traveling. 24 Hour Fitness is not the only membership-based economy though.
A library is a kind of membership-based economy, and most people are familiar with the library concept for books. However, there can be many different types of libraries for all different kinds of resources.
Has anyone heard of a tool library? HNL Tool library is a new organization that is just emerging in a partnership with Re-use Hawaii (more on that later). It has a “brick and mortar” shop in Honolulu at:
200 Keawe St in Kakaako
Currently HNL Tool Library’s annual membership fees are $35, $55, or $75 (depending on the kind of membership) (1). As HNL Tool Library is just beginning it only exists at 1 location and is only open at certain times. However, there is great potential for Hawaii. If HNL Tool Library is able to expand to other islands (ie. Big Island) and get a significant membership it will be able to service lots of people by facilitating sharing of tools.
Also, if HNL Tool Library can get the social experience right like 24 Hour Fitness has done, then not only will resources (tools) be more effectively utilized but people will have a reason to make that inconvenient pick up and drop off of tools (because it is part of the social experience).
The idea is that ultimately people should be looking to each-other (fellow humans) for support rather than corporations like Home Depot or Lowes. With the success of a tool library hopefully other kinds of libraries will begin to emerge. Perhaps there could be even be a car library? ie) imagine you didn’t have to ever rent a car because you could just get one at the car library. Creating the right kind of membership-based economy for the economic climate could have a significant impact on more efficiently using resources, which could in turn better benefit the planet while maximizing utility for members.