Readers Write: Praise for 'the sharing economy'

Letters to the Editor for the October 22, 2012 weekly print issue: Instead of spending toward depletion and scarcity, collaborative consumption adds value to our lives. It allows us to work and live in harmony, without competition and struggle.

Praise for 'The Sharing Economy'

I was so excited that "The Sharing Economy" was on the cover of the Oct. 1 issue. I've been enjoying the strengthening web of community this economic behavior is fostering in my life. I share boats, rooms, dinners, tools, talents, and knowledge. It has been heartening to exercise a more intelligent and informed expression of trust, and I have learned to approach potential "transactions" with more clarity to avoid disappointments.

Money is not smart enough to bring out the best in humanity, while sharing from our individual abundance often adds more value to our lives. Instead of spending toward depletion and scarcity, collaborative consumption has been adding value, richness, and depth to my life.

It is additionally fitting that the Monitor report on this emergent economic trend, as it empowers each of us to gain more firsthand experience of our world, rather than rely on hyped infotainment.

Mark Stafford

Oakland, Calif.

Returning to the Bay Area three decades ago, after living in northern California for a few years, I remember being disheartened at the new train of "yuppie" thought. Even so, my young family was able to find its niche, but I also watched for more progressive and unselfish ways of living and thinking. I was grateful to discover the Simplicity Movement in the early to mid-1990s, and to visit Amish and Mennonite communities. I loved seeing people endeavoring to work and live in harmony, without competition and struggle.

I recall talking with a group of young college students a few years ago, saying that the economy would need to find a new definition of itself, and it is. Our extended family enjoys buying and selling clothing, shoes, and other goods at consignment shops (which also benefit community charities). We also look to give or find items on "free" websites.

In one touching example, we found, through one of these sites, a woman with a mother cat willing to nurse a newborn kitten we had found until she was ready to be on her own. It's apparent that this trend of a "sharing economy" can contribute to universal peace with more friendly interactions.

Robin Pryor Blake

Davis, Calif.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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