“Own Less, Do More”: Snap-Goods, ZipCars, Bubble Cars and the Post Acquisitive Consumer

October 5, 2011

More evidence that the “own less, do more” model, as explained in the recent interview with SnapGoods founder, Ron J. Williams.

Reuters:

Bubble-shaped vehicles will appear on Paris streets next week which billionaire entrepreneur Vincent Bollore hopes will help clear the traffic-clogged arteries of the French capital as well as providing a charge to his nascent battery business.

The electrically powered Autolib cars will be available for hire in a two-month trial starting October 2 at 4 to 8 euros per half hour to motorists prepared to pay a membership fee starting at 10 euros for a day of driving.

The 235 million euro ($321 million) project is the brainchild of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who hopes to duplicate the success of Velib, the bicycle-sharing scheme he launched in 2007 and which has been copied by several cities in France and abroad.

The scheme echoes increasingly popular car clubs such as City Car which allow members to hire a local car for as little as an hour at a time.

“We want to persuade people to shift from the concept of owning a car to that of using a car,” Autolib General Manager Morald Chibout told Reuters.

One Response to ““Own Less, Do More”: Snap-Goods, ZipCars, Bubble Cars and the Post Acquisitive Consumer”

  1. sinchiroca Says:

    Here’s a really odd way of considering programs such as this. Suppose that somebody had attempted to do this 200 years ago in Paris. “Rent-a-Horse”. Horses are left scattered around town for anybody to rent on short notice. It wouldn’t have worked, for a lot of reasons: no cellphones to integrate it, no computers to keep track of everything, no credit cards to nail down financial responsibility, and no workable method to prevent horse-thievery.

    But nowadays we have all sorts of technologies — and more important, institutions — that make such a system workable. Many of those institutions serve to reduce the anonymity of individuals. Your credit card, your cellphone, and your other forms of identification serve to nail you down, making you more trustworthy.

    It seems to me that the reduction of anonymity will only continue, not driven so much by Big Brother governmental lusts as by the desirability of participating in commercial opportunities that depend upon greater personal accountability. In other words, people will voluntarily surrender their anonymity (privacy) in order to gain greater access to opportunities that are only available to those who surrender privacy.

    Which leads to the obvious question: why don’t we just acknowledge the inevitability of it all and establish a national identity card? I realize that this is a huge political issue and far, far out of the purview of this blog, but ultimately it will be an enabling factor in the advance of schemes that permit more efficient utilization of resources. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just enter one of these rental cars, swap your ID card through it, and drive away after the computer verifies your ability to pay?


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