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literature

Ownership Society

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"So what do you miss?"

"Dishwasher, I guess."

"Your own machine to wash your own dishes?"

"Yeah. Well, you had to keep buying the detergent, and there was a water monthly bill..."

"So what's the big difference?"

"Those things are also true if you wash dishes by hand. Then we had a clothes washer, shared between neighbors, but that one wanted quarters. That's how it started I guess."

"... ah."

"For some things it was legitimately convenient, don't look down on it. Then it got worse. Poor people would rent-to-own furniture even though it cost more, because a bill was easier to manage than a big purchase. On the other end of the spectrum, richer people started leasing their phones instead of buying them, so that they'd have the latest and greatest every year. Eventually it got to the point where you couldn't get a phone for sale anymore, they were all leases."

"And it went on?"

"Yep. Most people were already used to renting their home, so why not their phone, or their car, or their TV. It made safety recalls and so on a lot easier, so eventually, roadblocks started showing up if you just wanted to buy. Nothing insurmountable, just annoying. Every year a bit more annoying."

"Oh, I see what happened. Very gradual."

"Yep. What do you have for lunch today?"

"Let's see. Pizza, quattro formaggi."

"I got a salmon burger. Half for half?"

"Sure."

We cut the pizza slice and burger with our respective knives, pull out our phones, and mark in the trade agreement on the food app. The phones measure that my friend is getting a slightly better deal, and refund me a tiny bit of my food bill, minus the trade-through percentage, of course. It only takes a couple seconds, after all, not a big imposition.
Just a vignette.
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