|Photo by akseabird|
It’s becoming clear. The new economy will flourish based on our interrelatedness, not what separates us. Mutuality is achieved when two entities unite for shared gains. Many new economy businesses are built this way—eBay, Bandcamp, Etsy, and the like.
Mutuality as an economic model is stimulating a new set of imperatives. People want to feel they are part of a cycle of reciprocity — giving, getting, and growing together. That’s why a recent study of Zipcar user behavior caught my attention.
The Zipcar research explains that the consumer “sharing” economy doesn’t necessarily lead to mutuality. In fact, researchers found significant feelings of negative reciprocity among Zipcar users. People felt anonymous in disposable transactions. Even hefty fines for leaving a Zipcar littered or with an empty gas tank did not generate or sustain respectful behavior. What does? Removing anonymity. By encouraging more direct personal contact with other users, positive reciprocity is established.