Recently, we engaged in a conversation with other charitable giving professionals about the differences in spending money, giving, and saving, for urbanites versus ex-urbanites. They are substantial, and yet they are not the focus of this post. Instead, we want to draw attention to Rachel Botsman and her TEDxSydney 2010 talk (video below). We really like the ideas of ‘collaborative behaviors’ and ‘trust mechanics.’ And we feel they are best played out in densely populated global cities.

‘Technology,’ Botsman claims, like Swaptree.com and others (like eBay, the grandfather of them all), ‘is enabling trust between strangers.’ Botsman claims further that we are moving from consumers, to creators to collaborators, thanks to the Internet. We would take issue only, and strongly, with her notion that our collaborative instincts come from being monkeys in our early years. We believe that our common human ancestry, with its concomitant call to cultivate the world, endues us with a divine call to collaborate. We believe that it is this genesis that animates and spurs us on.

Yet, to agree with Botsman in the end, much of our unthinking consumption goes into buying something like the power drill, which is used for 12-13 minutes in its entire lifetime, when what we need is not the drill per se, but the hole. Give it a look:

Seed for the City also commends to you Lewis Hyde’s seminal work ‘The Gift.’ Oddly enough, the collaborative consumption possible in urban areas and across the Internet somewhat owes its power to the practice of gift cultures stemming from tribal and traditional cultures dating back thousand of years.