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Sharing Communities Are Spreading Across the World Like Wildfire

How some see sharing as a new paradigm and a means to a more democratic society.

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Las Indias
An Iberian Peninsula-based cooperative, Las Indias advocates for distributed, P2P practices as a revived economic model. The group behind the book  The P2P Mode of Production: an Indiano Manifesto, Las Indias educates people about the benefits of the sharing economy, promotes the commons and connects participants in the sharing movement.

Collaborative Chats
A monthly series in San Francisco for the collaborative consumption movement, Collaborative Chats brings together leaders, participants and curious bystanders of the sharing economy for panel-style discussions. The chats, which Shareable is a founding partner of, range from topics of funding and gaining traction in the movement to exploring how and why Generation Y-ers are more interested in sharing than owning.

Share Exchange
One of the nation’s first local economy centers, the Share Exchange in Santa Rosa, Calif. is a community meeting place, a collaborative co-working space, a local made marketplace and a non-profit promoting local economies.

“Share Exchange is at the crossroads of the localization movement and the shift to sharing,” says co-founder Kelley Rajala. “We are a unique intersection of sharing, exchanging and local economic development.”

Rajala explains that we simply can’t continue to consume as we have been and that being in the most wealthy, powerful and resource-consuming nation, she feels a responsibility to facilitate the transition toward a sharing lifestyle.

“By having a physical shared location and organizing events, mixers and swaps, we have cued up the opportunity for people to meet new friends,” she says. “Sharing becomes a natural activity within a trusted circle of people.”

Mesh Labs
Built around the principles introduced by author/entrepreneur Lisa Gansky in her book  The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing, Mesh Labs serves to help businesses succeed in the sharing economy. With a global reach and a reputation as leaders within the sharing movement, Gansky and her team utilize technology, social media and community connections to educate startup and existing companies about the wisdom of embracing “the new wave of information-enabled commerce that's also improving our communities and our planet.”

Shareable Australia
The recently-created Australian channel of Shareable Magazine, Shareable Australia acts to create person-to-person connections within the sharing movement. The channel helps to facilitate and spread the word about Meetups, unconferences, swap meets and the sharing marketplace, and reports on local movements and events.

“The sharing movement provides a compelling alternative vision for succeeding in the 21st century by placing commons-based models at the centre of our politics, economics and society,” says Shareable Australia editor Darren Sharp. “The central idea of the commons is that resources, both physical & knowledge-based, can be shared for mutual benefit that give people access to an ends (a ride to work, lemons or an encyclopedia) without needing to own the means to produce these assets.”

Sharp notes that sharing enables individuals to define themselves through relationships of trust, reputational standing and social connectedness rather than the commodity treadmill of mainstream consumer culture.

“Common sense tells us that relationships matter and provide the basis for happy, productive people and communities,” he says. “The sharing movement can help us get over our attachment to stuff and re-frame idle material possessions and surplus knowledge as an exciting opportunity to share, learn and connect with those around us.”

Pioneering Organizations
Many of the above-listed groups are new kids on the block in the world of sharing. There are several well-established, pioneering sharing organizations that have long been leading the way including  North American Students of CooperationThe Center for Popular Economics;The New Economics Institute; and the  New Economics Foundation.

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