How Collaborative Consumption Could Help Shrink Government

One of the saddest things about the recent Agenda 21 conspiracy silliness has been the repeated accusation that environmentalism is somehow about abolishing private property or adopting communism.

It's true that many of us believe that owning less stuff can bring you more freedom, but that's really a message about building a smarter economy, not imposing more authoritarian rules.

In fact, sharing more may be key to achieving one of the political Right's biggest goals—shrinking the size of government. We've already seen New York replace some employee vehicles with a Zipcar fleet, and a report over at O'Reilly Radar suggests that collaborative consumption could herald massive savings for local and federal government alike:

What is clear is that, after years of spreading through the private sector, collaborative consumption is coming to government, and it's making a difference. A specific example: Carsharing via Zipcar in city car fleets is saving money and enabling government to increase its efficacy and decrease its use of natural resources.

After finally making inroads into cities, Zipcar is saving taxpayers real money in the public sector. Technology developed by the car-sharing startup is being used in 10 cities and municipalities in 2012. If data from a pilot with the United States General Services Agency fleet pans out, the technology could be also adopted across the sprawling federal agency's vehicles, saving tens of millions of dollars of operating expenses though smarter use of new technology.

Could the sharing economy become a meme that helps us move beyond outdated notions of left and right, and focus on what actually works?

Share your thoughts below.

Tags: Car Sharing | Collaborative Consumption | Economics | United States

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