This article: Why Millennials Don’t Want To Buy Stuff really gave me pause for thought.
Note: Millennials = Generation Y, or anyone born after 1982.
There are some good ideas in there:
Humanity is experiencing an evolution in consciousness. We are starting to think differently about what it means to “own” something….
To “own something” in the traditional sense is becoming less important, because what’s scarce has changed.
Ownership just isn’t hard anymore.
We can now find and own practically anything we want, at any time, through the unending flea market of the Internet. Because of this, the balance between supply and demand has been altered, and the value has moved elsewhere.
THE CAR IS A BAD EXAMPLE, I THINK
The example used was about owning a car, and why young people don’t seem to want a car any more. I don’t think it’s a question of ownership at this point.
Aside from the fact that not owning a car means a large chunk of your budget is freed up for other things, I know plenty of people who don’t own cars for these two main reasons:
- To be more eco-friendly and have a smaller carbon footprint
- It’s easier to take public transportation (big cities)
Neither of which has anything to do with ownership and wanting a car to own. Personally, I only owned a car because I used it to get to remote places to work. Now, I don’t own a car because I don’t need one. It’s as simple as that. Nothing fancy.
I’m always either flying, taking a train or using public transportation. If I REALLY needed a car to go buy some big monstrosity or carry a lot of things, I’ll use one of those car-sharing services that are so prevalent in big cities. Or rent a car.
I use a car so rarely, that it doesn’t hold a value for me. If I used a car more often, let’s say to drive to work everyday, then I would most certainly purchase a vehicle.
WHERE IT DOES APPLY IN MY LIFE: MINIMALISM
Where I do think it’s relevant, is the idea of owning something and not seeing the value in the physical item versus having the virtual good. I turned into a minimalist because it’s more practical for me; not because I have an agenda or an ideology to shove down people’s throats.
For instance if I buy an e-book, I know it’s an intangible, digital product, but I feel like I own it because I can access it at any time. I feel the same difference between owning an e-book on my iPad versus borrowing it to read online, the same way I know buying a DVD of my favourite movie is not the same as renting it from a store.
However I do this not because I feel strange about ownership or that I want to live in this disconnected reality that is described, but because it is practical for my travel-heavy lifestyle:
- No extra weight to carry
- No extra space to take up in my bags
- I get to read what I want, when I want (library at your fingertips)
- Almost always cheaper than the physical thing (although I find it expensive!)
I want the ideas and the story. I care less about how I obtain the words, especially if it means I don’t have to lug that box of books from one place to another.
I do wish on occasion that I had a permanent place for stuff, so I could buy art and hang it up, but the benefits of my lifestyle outweigh any nostalgic longings for a place to put my things or to hang artwork.
..OR MAYBE WE’RE JUST A ‘FIGHT CLUB’ GENERATION
Perhaps because we were more influenced by movies like “Fight Club” (1999) than we thought.
So, stuff. Do we really have an aversion to it just because of our age?
However if you have ever watched MTV’s Sweet Sixteen, you might think differently about Millennials not wanting stuff 😛