Streetbank News

Large world for rent

Why buy when you can rent?

"Why buy when you can rent?" asked The Economist magazine in October.  In an article describing what you should do when you are green, broke but connected they suggest renting. They observe a reversal of a 50 year trend in which laundromats have been closing down as people buy their own washing machines and a world in which Radio Rentals is no more. There is a move towards "consumer philandering" where you can rent a different item every day. So Zipcar allows you to drive a BMW one day and a Volvo the next. Or "Bag Borrow or Steal" a website which allows you to rent a handbag for the night. We are hoping that in 2011 The Economist will be asking "Why rent when you can borrow!?" and talking with the same excitement about consumer philanthropy. After all according to Mark Levine in the New York Times "Sharing is clean, crisp, urbane, postmodern" while "owning is dull, selfish, timid, backward."

After all according to Mark Levine in the New York Times "Sharing is clean, crisp, urbane, postmodern" while "owning is dull, selfish, timid, backward.


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on January 10 2012 eunice said:

Its crazy to rent if you can afford to buy – or save for the deposit- if you move renting leaves you with nothing, money lost. Money paid to a building society is safer than rent. But then, Im a frugal northerner living in London. We all grow old, prepare for it now, even 50p a week helps. Not dull at all. ew

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on July 9 2011 carrie sant said:

Sharing is great, sharing is liberating, sharing is ecconomical, sharing is good for the planet but sharing and renting are not to me in the same category! sharing is not “go to the laudrymat” but share your washing machine with someone who doesn’t have one. Or share a house and share resources, and have some to give away!

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on June 8 2011 Andrew Ampers Taylor said:

@Paddy. I have to agree with you here, but I don’t think this site is aimed at your treasured items. But what about things like lawn-mowers, grass trimmers, ladders, a fish kettle for salmon? If you also treasure these sorts of items, then – of course – Streetbank is not for you.

I once bought a Mark X Jaguar new, and within a few weeks, in a local coffee bar, a friend had left his wallet at home, and asked me to run him home. Being a bit of a lazy blighter on the quiet, I just threw the keys at him and said – Go get it.

OK I know many people love their possessions, but I have always thought there is more to life than a shiny car, and anyway I had known him for over a year.

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on November 17 2010 Paddy said:

[I admit I haven’t read the article but…]
There’s something to be said for owning things – a sense of connectedness and responsibility for possessions and places. The things I surround myself with all have a story and a history, rescued, found, carefully chosen, unexpectedly acquired… and they cannot be discarded without thought and care.
And of course the borrowing and lending of these treasured items involves great trust and care between people.


on November 13 2010 J Katimertzis said:

Great ideas out there, hope they really start moving soon