Subscription economy | Say goodbye to owning stuff

Approx read: 2 mins

Ownership is overrated.

How much stuff do you actually own, anyway?


You listen to music through a subscription service, watch movies on-demand, cook boxed meals that come to your door, read newspapers and magazines on your mobile via wifi, all in the air-conditioned comfort of your rented flat.


City bikes and ride-sharing: so much cheaper than a car! And no hassle with parking. Once at the office, turn on the computer and use the latest version of office tools, thanks to your company’s subscription, and protected by antivirus software, regularly updated thanks to the monthly plan.


How about that fitness tracker? Without the data it collects, it’d just be an ugly watch. But you’ve gotta look good at the gym, of which you are a member.


Hitting the road? Don’t forget to check your credit cards for a travel medical policy. It’s one of the perks of being a cardholder. Need some clean undies? A razor? How about a closet full of clothes for a business meeting in Hong Kong? Done, done and done, all through subscription services.


Even some governments are getting into the game. New South Wales and Estonia have both streamlined their government services into one-stop shopping for their citizens. The data’s all in the same place. Need a fishing license and want to vote? One site. Think:

Why subscribe?

Subscription services come with a built-in failsafe to keep standards high: you can always unsubsribe. Services can be more flexible and personalised. Need a cordless drill for an hour? Why buy the dang thing? Same goes for just about everything.

The subscription economy isn’t just for digital nomads, but roving workers are showing the rest of us how easy it is to live light.

Sarah is a blogger, writer and amateur palaeontologist from New Orleans. When not writing or digging dinosaurs, she teaches English.