Tag Archives: construction

10 Things That People Used to Own, but Now Rent

Logo from "RENT" the musical

This image was totally borrowed from the creators of "RENT."

Following up on "Occupy Everything" from last week, here's a list of 10 things that have seen a shift from owning to arrangements that are a lot more like renting.

10. People
Yup, I went there. For the greater part of history it was considered okay for people to own other people. In fact, slavery was not abolished worldwide until 1981, when Mauritania finally got with the program.

And let me say right here: I do not think it is a good idea for people to be able to own other people. I do not endorse slavery at all.

We have, globally, become a culture where "renting" people is the only acceptable option. We pay them in wages or in trade for their skill and labor. While the system of working for pay is hated by many, it is certainly better than the alternative.

This is a case where owning has been orphaned from all of the good feelings and thoughts that normally come with it. The mental image of the slave owner in many of our minds is still unfortunately that of someone with power and wealth, but the impression we get is very negative, especially when compared to our more cheery views of a home owner, a business owner or a patent owner.

So, not every transition from owner culture to renter culture is bad. No matter how crazy it may seem for society to discard an entire type of ownership, it has happened before and therefore could certainly happen again.

9. Empty space
Rented self-storage came about in the 1960's, and really took off starting in the year 2000 or so. Before that time, people simply did not have as much stuff. People stored items in attics, barns, warehouses, sheds and cellars across a landscape predominantly occupied by single family homes and apartments or tenements. These days, states have written entire new sections of legal code to deal with this new kind of rental, which now serves one in ten American households. (Source) (more…)