Since 2008, the entire developed world has been plunged into a financial crisis, the like of which hasn't been felt since 1929.
A period of monetary expansion, marked by the "sub prime" loans market in the United States, was followed by the "credit crunch", or financial recession.
Do we carry on as before, forever cutting back? Or more radically, can we change our relationship to consumption? A collaborative economy could be a chance worth taking.
The recent international festival, OuiShareFest in Paris, about the Collaborative Economy in Europe, brought together the top professionals in this field. Relive here the spirit of OuiShare - three-Day Festival - in this wrap-up video.
Among those taking part was Costockage, which puts private individuals in touch with each other, to enable people with unused space to profit by renting it out to others who need it. Or La Machine du Voisin (Machine Neighbour) which allows those without washing machines to hire their neighbour's.
And this principle is extended to all areas of consumerism, even replacing lawnmowers with goats that their owners hire out for 6 euros a day...true economic and ecological interdependence!
More established practices such as letting accommodation are equally useful. Going on holiday? Rent out your apartment!
You can then rent accommodation from other web users at your destination...this idea from Californian startup Airbnb has met with staggering success already.
With the development of these practices, not only will it be possible to make economies or to benefit from waste (a car standing in the garage, a chain saw that's not much use to you), but also to set up actual communities, as Sharetribe has proposed , to be social networks for groups of eco-citizens.
The 21st century must be interdependent or it won't "be" at all!