Sunday, 11 October 2015

The DIY economy

It is becoming increasingly difficult to extricate ourselves from a high-cost economy:
Futures Forum: VW... and making 'wholly opaque disposable vehicles' >>> rather than making vehicles which 'run for a long time and are easy to fix'

There is, however, another approach which is gaining currency - and that is the 'DIY economy':
Futures Forum: Open Source Ecology >>> Homebrew Industrial Revolution >>> Do-it-yourself sustainable development
Futures Forum: Solidarity, the DIY-aid movement and civil society >>> transitioning to a sustainable society, a resilient economy

This is something that interests those on both the left and the right of the political divide:

Out of the Office
Fast bikes, slow food, and the workplace wars.

A Critic at Large: JUNE 22, 2009

Part of the appeal of the localist-artisanal creed, for certain liberals and conservatives alike, is precisely that it’s anti-cosmopolitan, anti-corporate, anti-progress — an alternative to the creative destruction of capitalism. 

Out of the Office - The New Yorker

... whether 'liberal':

Six ways the US is building a people-powered economy
Alternative business models such as worker-owned co-ops are gaining ground, proving that a more just and sustainable future is possible

Sarah van Gelder Friday 16 January 2015 14.00 GMT

The economy goes DIY

Maker, DIY and sharing culture is blossoming. Young people especially are repurposing old clothes into fashionable art, making art bicycles, building tiny houses and writing open source software.

While some peer-to-peer platforms, such as Uber and Airbnb, have raised controversy, some people are truly sharing – not for money. Online platforms like Couchsurfing let people share their homes with travelers. Others have started “pay-it-forward” restaurants where you pay not for your own meal, but for the person behind you in the line.

An ethic of reuse and no waste, a bias for local and small-scale, and a preference for generosity make this a particularly creative space in the emerging new economy.

Six ways the US is building a people-powered economy | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

Or 'conservative':

3 Ways the DIY Economy Can Save Our Families–And Our Country | Intercollegiate Review

It is clearly becoming more mainstream:

DIY Economy

DIY Economy

The way that we do business is rapidly evolving due to the do it yourself economy. DIY culture has made it into the mainstream, empowering individuals to be self-sufficient instead of relying on the gatekeepers of the traditional economy. The term “do it yourself” came into common usage in the 1950s. It mainly referred to home improvement, but now it covers everything from indie rock to arts and crafts.

The cultural shift can be seen in the rise of freelancing and telecommuting. Many workers now value flexibility and independence, both traits of the DIY ethos. According to the American Community Survey, an estimated 79 percent rise in telecommuting occurred between 2005 and 2012. That’s a whopping 3.2 million working from home. The research firm Edelman Berland estimated that more than 53 million Americans are now freelance workers. Many in the new economy are escaping the office, and in many cases getting away from traditional employment altogether

Startups & Companies Taking Advantage of DIY Economy
Self-employment surges in America's rising DIY economy
The Do-It-Yourself Economy - The New York Times

There is an overlap with the idea of the 'sharing economy':

The Rise Of The Micro-Entrepreneurship Economy

Are you making money renting your apartment on Airbnb? You’re a Micro-Entrepreneur. As more and more services let people monetize their own assets and knowledge, it’s creating a new sector of the economy.

WRITTEN BY Jamie Wong: 
May 29, 2012

Years ago, Russell Howze was working as a creative at an advertising agency in Atlanta when he got laid off due to budget cuts. He then spent years piecing together work through various corporate jobs, until he decided to follow his heart. He founded a nonprofit organization for artists, and now supplements his income running street art tours through Vayable, the company I founded, in his extra time.

The first part of this story is one that has come to define the reality of so many in the wake of the recession. But the second part—where the discontented worker leaves behind the "security" of a corporate job in favor of his or her passions—is a new and growing behavior in post-industrial countries, particularly in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

The media has named the growing trend toward micro-entrepreneurship "the Rise of the Creative Class," "the Gig Life," or "the freelance economy." All of those refer to the nearly 4.1 million workers (that’s 14 out of every 100 workers) who were self-employed this past year, according to the Office for National Statistics, and millions of others currently supplement their income with freelance work. While the trend has been spotted before, there’s one stark difference between micro-entrepreneurs today and the "Free Agent Nation" citizens of the late '90s: technology.

Data on self-employment and freelance is limited because labor reporting has yet to adapt, but one indisputable metric is the rise of micro-entrepreneurship platforms and its contribution to a Do-it-Yourself Economy. During the past year, startups such as Airbnb (vacation rentals), Taskrabbit (home services), Uber (car service), and Etsy (handmade goods), have catapulted from niche use to household names. And a handful of newbies including Skillshare (education), LooseCubes (co-working), Getaround (cars), RelayRides (cars) and my company, Vayable (tours and activities), are also growing month over month.

What defines this new economy is that it’s built on the empowerment of individuals and the technology that enables this. It’s allowing individuals to create their own jobs. It’s a celebration of life and time, and a shift in perspective of money. Technology now provides an opportunity for people anywhere in the world to monetize their passions. And it’s not just the artists and under-employed flocking to these platforms, but professionals who seek a higher quality of life, greater flexibility, and more time with their families.

There are five main reasons that I think make micro-entrepeneurship so appealing...

The Rise Of The Micro-Entrepreneurship Economy | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

But we have to take care: this is not exactly the same as the 'sharing economy':

Six myths about the sharing economy

Sally Uren of Forum for the Future: 
Monday, August 18, 2014

The sharing economy is on the rise, spelling good news for people and planet. But some people are sceptical. Sally Uren, chief executive of Forum for the Future, busts the main myths

Five years ago you would have been hard pressed to find many people who had heard of the sharing economy. Today, it is a burgeoning movement in which people and businesses rent — or exchange — beds, cars, power tools and just about anything else directly from and between each other.

But now, as individuals and multinationals alike clamber aboard the bandwagon, a number of potentially unhelpful myths are starting to surface. Unhelpful since they could potentially slow down the progress towards a new way of accessing goods and services, one which could work much better for our planet and its people. Here they are, busted one by one:

Six myths about the sharing economy - British Airways Business Life. Business advice and inspiration, insider tips from the world’s top CEOs, analysts and entrepreneurs.

See also:
Futures Forum: Sharing economy or gift economy?
Futures Forum: The sharing economy >>> “A lot of people want to do the right thing but they are struggling because the systems and culture aren’t right. Companies and governments have got a big role to play in doing that.”

A lot of this is actually part of the 'grey economy':

Robert Neuwirth: The power of the informal economy | TED Talk | TED.com

There are a lot of DIY projects happening out there:
Futures Forum: Do-it-yourself energy: community grids

... as well as as many insights into what it's actually all about:
Futures Forum: "The quiet realization of Ivan Illich's ideas in the contemporary commons movement"

No comments: