The end of the age of ownership?


I've noted a continuing thread through many of our posts on WalletPop. This thread causes me to wonder if we might be evolving out of the age of ownership.

I think the 20th century will be known as the era when possessions drove society. Most Americans started the century with a few acres, a handful of clothes, tools and farming implements. 100 years later, we were building 4,000 square-foot houses that were still too small to contain our possessions.

Thanks in part to the internet, though, we now have more alternatives to the ownership model. For example, I'll never buy another CD, and with services such as Rhapsody I wonder about buying MP3s either. For a monthly fee, I can tap into Rhapsody's inexhaustible supply of music as long as I can connect to the internet.

Once a book-store addict, I've become a hardcore library user. Netflix weaned us away from buying movies, and its online streaming delivery improves on that. On-line gaming will also continue to evolve toward a subscription model, I believe. Google Docs and other online application suites are the primary threat to Microsoft Office's virtual monopoly.