SCI Seminar Series - Dr Maurie Cohen - Be Careful What You Wish For: The Empty Promise of the “Sharing Economy”
|Dates:||24 September 2014|
|Times:||16:00 - 17:30|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Speaker:||Dr Maurie Cohen|
Proponents of sustainable consumption have long endorsed the attenuation of societal commitments favoring product ownership and the corresponding ascendency of exchange relationships predicated on communal access. Concomitantly, the past several years have given rise to a new wave of Internet-enabled commerce that reconfigures customary systems for the usership of goods and services. Most sustainability proponents have encouraged this upsurge of interest in so-called collaborative consumption as a hopeful and positive development with some analyses even interpreting the renewal of sharing as early evidence that established consumerist lifestyles are starting to unwind. There is, though, an interesting paradox—namely the absence of much genuine sharing in the purported “sharing economy.” This presentation will highlight the empty promise of business models premised on the mutual utilization of products and explain how a small handful of crusading entrepreneurs has misconstrued these unfolding developments. The critique is premised on a two-dimensional taxonomy that distinguishes four different consumption modes based on ownership type (individual or conjoint) and ownership motivation (pecuniary or non-pecuniary). Applications from urban transportation are used to demonstrate the utility of this framework. The resultant analysis discloses the ersatz quality of most contemporary sharing activity and exposes its ineffectualness as a sustainability strategy.
Dr Maurie Cohen
Role: Associate Professor
Organisation: New Jersey Institute of Technology
Biography: Dr. Maurie J. Cohen is Associate Professor and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Associate Faculty Member with the Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University, and Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute. He is Editor of Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy (SSPP), an academic journal founded in 2004 by the United States Geological Survey, Conservation International, and ProQuest LLC, and co-founder and Executive Board Member of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI). His books include Innovations in Sustainable Consumption: New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social Practices (with Halina Brown and Philip Vergragt) and Exploring Sustainable Consumption: Environmental Policy and the Social Sciences (with Joseph Murphy).
Travel and Contact Information
Harold Hankins Building
Booth Street West