The idea of the sharing economy is well documented.  It is a trend towards sharing more things and owning less things.  Much like traditional libraries sharing books and music, the trend is toward sharing and bringing cost of ownership to nearly zero for many things.

Need Pruning Shears or a Ukulele? Try the Public Library (WSJ – Subscription Required)

Beyond how nice and quaint this is, consider how disruptive this will be to industries.  Already, you see libraries struggling to stay relevant because books have become cheaper and easier to obtain and the demand for those items has decreased.  Amazon now charges a small fee for reading thousands of books that you check in and out any time you want.

But what will happen when cars are shared?  A lot of good things.  For example, unsafe vehicles will no longer be allowed on the road.  Kids do not need to buy those beaters anyway, because in the vehicle sharing system everyone will have access to driverless cars that are clean and safe.  No more drunk driving either.  With approximately 40,000 road deaths in the US in 2016 there should be no issue curing the driving disease.

Tool lending libraries have cropped up.   This is ideal because many tools you do not need regularly but when you do need them, you may spend more buying the tools (which will clutter up your basement or garage after use) than hiring a professional.  But with YouTube videos on repair easy to find and tools you can borrow instead of buy, the need for repair people is on the decline.

And anyway, how long before I pay a monthly appliance rate and robots drop off appliances that I rent month to month.  If one breaks, the robots swap out for another and take it back to a central location for repair.  And with this model, we’d be making things that last once again instead of giving companies an incentive to create things that break after a few years and need to be replaced because they are too difficult to fix.

By sharing, we cut the number of products we need to produce and we also make it better for the manufacturer to produce longer-lasting items.

So with cars and appliances “shared” for a monthly fee do I really need tools?  Maybe not.

What about other home repairs though?

Well, being able to print modular units that snap into standard fittings in your home mean you can change most things quickly and with minimal construction.  And since you will be able to check out the 3D printer from the tool library, delivered via robotic driver, you really will only need to pay for the raw materials.

But who will help you put it together?  There are two options – manual cranes, tractors and lifts will give way to smart tools (robots) that can help.  Also, since everyone has freed up time due to needing to work less, there will be more projects to support one another in the community.  In fact, the very act of building a stronger community  can create a happier and healthier community.  This is also mentioned in the latest 2017 Happiness report about the many top counties with happiness have wealth, but also a strong safety net and social aspects.

The general public will never be able to improve their happiness and wealth going forward unless they shift away from an ownership and “more” model because technology has gotten too good.  Current people with resources including money and access to technology can use these things to continue to consolidate wealth and as jobs disappear, more unemployed or underemployed people will be seen as burdens because other’s cannot “get rich” off them.

The good news is there are many people who are wealthy and/or highly technical that see these trends or at least some of them, and much like John Galt, many of the world’s best technologies and services may remove themselves from current, antiquated governments and social norms and lead the way to making real progress.  Anything less will destroy the markets they have come to depend on.