In the first part of the series “The Quest for New Value(s)”, I argued that the collaborative economy was a convenient “catch-all” concept, utterly insufficient to create a new paradigm shift all by itself. Yet we fiercely need a paradigm shift. My take is that the true paradigm shifter we are looking for is less the collaborative economy than its indirect impact on our social organization and our culture. Although less visible, they have the power to profoundly upset the current social order and are the key to what, at OuiShare, we call a collaborative society.
It’s time to explore what this collaborative society we started talking about a few months ago is. The consequence of this adventure is quite obviously the end of consensus: there is no guarantee that the social visions each one of cherishes are one and the same.
The “collaborative economy” and “collaborative society” approaches are peculiarly different: the latter is prescriptive while the former is descriptive. Having the ambition to build a collaborative society implies that we have at least a set of principles, values, beliefs, wishes, in one word, an affirmative vision for which we could fight for. Some would call it an ideology. I am certain most of you would prefer to avoid to talk about ideology altogether because of its heavy historical burden. But thinking about society exclusively in economic terms is actually the most hidden and perfidious form of ideology, and it’s called neoliberalism. This ideology’s biggest asset consists in disguising its set of values and beliefs under alleged rational and scientific terms. Maybe talking openly about the ideology associated to a collaborative society is more honest, yet more dangerous.