Every year, Mary Meeker offers up her thoughts about the meaning of the web. Every year, she gets me thinking. This year more than ever - for she has spotted a trend that I think has great potential to change the very core of our culture. (Link Here to the Full Report)
She Call this Trend Asset Heavy/Asset Light. This one slide of many makes her point. We used to have to own everything. Own music, cars, houses employees. Now we can share or rent part of them. It's all about how the technology works.
Property is the centre of the Modern World culture. And when I say Modern World, I mean since the advent of agriculture when we stopped moving and settled. Who owned the land and the flock became the central obsession. This lead naturally to patriarchy and to inequality. It lead to the rule of the 1%.
So here are some facts. With the meltdown of the global economy, a very large number of young people in Europe and North America have no prospect of owning a single family home. Not that many even own cars. They have so little money that they cannot own much at all.
BUT they have access to much of what they need through sharing. With the web, it is easy to get the use of a car or a bike in many cities now. Going on holiday, Airbnb offers you a cheap place and the owner an income that was not possible before sharing. It becomes possible to reduce the cost of your stuff by sharing both as a sharer and a sharee.
Millions will grow to middle age without owning a lot of stuff and will see it as normal to share. They will have learned that in this new world, they do not need a lot of money to get what they need and to be happy. No pensions and old people's homes for them either as they will have no savings and governments will not be able to afford to look after them. With a learned and experienced culture of sharing, I think that we will find it easier to live with others than we do today.
Above all they will learn how much more free they are by sharing than by owning. Free in every way. Free to spend time with their kids, Free to move. Free to stay! Free to be in charge of their lives.
I think that status will change as well. In the property culture, he who has the most stuff wins. Today most of us go into debt to look like a person who has a lot of stuff. So most of us are today slaves who drive BMW's and live in big homes.
In the new culture, status will start with how free you are. Then it will be how much of a contribution that you make. This was always the mark of a high status person in the pre modern world.
This one issue of property was in my mind the barrier to going home to a culture that fits who we are. If Mary Meeker is right, then this one insight is truly a great one.
Here is a map of human culture that I design many years ago that shows where we might be - at a time of this great return.
It would make sense to have such a return for all development is somewhat circular and looks like this.
A lot more here in my first book You Don't Need a Job.