The Disappearance of Ownership


Image: Marcus Spiske

As a millennial, I've come to terms with not owning anything. I can recall the days of CDs, cassettes, and home movies, but now, my music lives in a cloud and my videos disappear in 24 hours.

Without parental assistance, most college-educated millennials won't be able to buy a house within a decade of graduation. We're still buying cars, but the popularity of ridesharing apps dissipates the urgency to head to a dealership. Plus, in a few years, cars will be driving us.

I doubt I can even claim this post. Within minutes of sharing this with the world, I'm sure someone will point me in the direction of "The End of Ownership," ironically underscoring the messy state of intellectual property rights.

"We, as individuals, mold society's application of these innovations."

And, unless you have a job that pays/tips you in cash, you probably haven't touched a $10 bill in a few weeks. Between mobile banking, Paypal, Venmo, and RFID payments, we just push figures around the internet.


Image: Alex Mihis

So it's a big deal when artists force us to pay for their music. The only two (non-vinyl) albums I've purchased in the last five years were "Beyoncé" and "Lemonade."  I don't even have a record player, but I buy LPs from time to time because I like the feeling of ownership.

Except I don't. I'm solo-polyamorous (a type of ethical non-monogamy without hierarchy that values both emotional and sexual interactions) because I don't want to be someone's property and I don't think we should own other people.

People have all kinds of reasons for becoming non-monogamous, but Gen Y is definitely leading the charge when it comes to making open relationships mainstream. Blame it on hookup culture or our parents' divorces, if you must.

While a lot of this might boil down to technological advancements, we, as individuals, mold society's application of these innovations. Tinder was created as a dating app and we turned it into a one-stop, hookup shop. Snapchat was originally used to send nudes, but now it hosts your best friend's "ugly" selfies and some of the world's top news publishers.


Image: Tyler Joe

The idealistic hope for this approach to life would be an egalitarian future in which what we have doesn't define us. A more pessimistic view would look at where modern ownership currently thrives: corporations.

I hope to cut to the heart of the symbiotic relationship between technological and human evolution, and I think this is the year I can begin to in an official capacity.

Posted on January 20, 2017 .