What is the meaning of “owning nothing and being happy”?

The Politicus
Jul 27, 2022 11:32 AM 0 Answers
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Charles Schwab's WEF has a prediction/slogan that by 2030 "you will own nothing and you will be happy".

Can anyone please clarify if there is evidence with which to assert that owning nothing specifically refers to being penniless and not rebelling against that, rather than having no possessions, and being rightfully grateful for the lack of clutter since one has ample access to use things through a sharing economy anyway? If I'm wrong about this please feel free to educate me, preferably using evidence.

I've long had this quibble with critiques of Schwabisms that was very strongly affirmed and revived at a talk by a man from common weal and circular economies Scotland last month. I have seen enough things of Schwab that unquestionably do make me hate and fear him as creepy bad news but I continue to think that his owning nothing stuff is misunderstood and it's kind of shocking how badly my friends in the anti lockdown movement have reacted to me proposing more generous and very well perhaps more accurate readings of his programme which don't fit with their narrative about him.

The fact is that this week I need a Dremel tool for a task. If I was in the US then I could buy one from Walmart save the receipt and then return it when I'm finished for a refund. This will reduce the resale value of the item (amusingly and thankfully on the Waltons' dime) while (this rather unfortunately) somewhat distorting the demand for new Dremel tool production. Indeed this month here in England I have bought a tent and sleeping bag from decathlon which I have 365 days to return. Even if I could have the gear for free in each case, I will Indeed only use it once or twice in (respectively) the year or its lifetime. And my mental health would be greatly better off for not having it around as clutter in my home the rest of the time. Put anther way one could certainly say I'd be happier by not owning it but borrowing it from a tool or camming gear "library". Indeed reading libraries for books are a great thing.

Now admittedly Schwab probably has in mind things like bike share app models like Uber's which is commercial, for profit, and exploitatively overpriced. And many people probably ought to own dedicated bicycles or even cars. But I think for the Schwab vision, at least that aspect of it, does not imply having zilch in your bank account, because then you'd have nothing with which to pay for use of a bicycle, camping set, or Dremel.

Of course the slogan "you'll own nothing" is designed to get attention by being provocative in its innuendo. But you'll be happy I don't is the twisted type of Orwellian diktat that it's taken to be but an implied redemption of the idea of owning nothing because you'll have access to all members of items to use on-demand which may be effortlessly delivered to your door. Other attempts to describe these sorts of scenarios have come from the likes of both the Venus project and Marx. I hope that Schwab himself is downright hanged and haven't yet read his own great reset book but I think his celebration of the "x-as-a-service" model is widely misunderstood by people who are so bent on loathing him for everything that they can possibly do so for that they're adamantly unwilling to tolerate any discussions on the correct ways to interpret his slogans.

Why are many of the soundest leftists allergic to the notions of economic surveys, observation and planning for more efficient resource usage. Admittedly we should not be allowing the levers and reins of central planning to be in the hands of Mr. Schwab or his ilk, but we should hone our critiques to be rigorous and accurate to pinpoint exactly what we object to.

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