Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Borrowers

Have you noticed how we own fewer and fewer things?

With Spotify, the raft of online video on demand services and Kindle I'm beginning to wonder what to do with all that shelf space since I no longer buy CDs, DVDs or books...

As for gadgets, well, I have one in my pocket which does pretty much everything - plays music, shows the newspaper, receives my communication - and another that sits in my bag that, well, does the same things on a bigger scale.

This isn't new, of course. We have always borrowed. What is going on holiday if it isn't taking a few days of another life from somewhere ?

But increasingly, consumerism is about borrowing, not owning.

In the case of television it has, if anything, made the medium less ephemeral. A programme that would only appear once is now there forever to be accessed.

As we move to a world we we hire cars and bikes from city streets, we are set to own less and less. The downside of this, of course, are all the monthly recurring bills that now appear on our credit cards.

As Spotify struggles to make any inroad with their £10 a month, however, it seems that we still have some way to go before we are truly borrowers and not owners.