What if, instead of only teaching that “stealing is a crime” we also teach that “hoarding is a crime.”?
Stealing will surely be much lesser in a society that is truly anchored in the spirit of sharing.
Instead of insisting on CLEAR property rights (this belongs to me and that belongs to you), how about bringing as much as we can into the commons (we designate certain things as “ours,” right now
I am using this and you are using that but eventually it will go back into our shared pool)?
To this we can add the idea of trusteeship (Right now, since I am using this, I’ll be very careful with it — because tomorrow you will be using it).
Now, we have created a system that doesn’t bother as much about ownership — in fact it makes it a crime to hoard, a socially shameful act.
Not that we’ll be sharing underwear or toothbrushes, but surely the more expensive stuff that we don’t fully use or use only sometimes.
This might be the key to many other changes.
When I share, I build relationships. I learn humility and can no longer draw my self-worth from my possessions. I cherish what I have more deeply (knowing its transience) and I have many more choices of what I can have.
At the macro level, our fervent production-advertising machinery will get some rest. It can then start producing that which really matters. We will let more of our planet stay unharmed.
Imagine walking down to the parking lot and choosing from a huge bunch of keys — what car do you want to drive today?
Instead of a television in each apartment, imagine having a dozen ‘activity rooms’ where people who want to watch TV or do the same thing come and hang out?
And think of how shared cooking can free up so many women to do what they please rather than slog away at making fresh, round rotis day after day?
This will gradually mean a reconfiguration of the way we work, the way we measure ‘success’ and our economics. It will mean a need to step up from petty little stock-uppers to mature guardians.
Some may say that the ‘sharing economy’ (Uber, Air BnB) is already doing this.
What is called “sharing economy” is actually a ‘tearing’ economy because it monetizes what could have been shared freely. Now instead of having a couch-surfer in your spare room, you list it on Air BnB to earn from it. And you don’t offer lifts but go on Bla Bla car or some other site.
What we need is a caring economy — where you share because you care. You share because you see that we can all have enough — that no one needs to live in scarcity at all!
How ready are we to dare?
P.S : My answer to that last question — not at all ready, a long way to go. But then where there’s a will there will be a way!