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Cooperation Law for a Sharing Economy

Janelle Orsi, Yes! magazine
A new sharing economy is emerging—but how does it fit within our legal system? Time for a whole new field of cooperation law.

What do you call a lawyer who helps people share, cooperate, barter, foster local economies, and build sustainable communities?

That sounds like the beginning of a lawyer joke, but actually, it’s the beginning of new field of law practice. Very soon, every community will need a specialist in this yet-to-be-named area: Community transactional law? Sustainable economies law? Cooperation law?

Personally, I tend to call it sharing law.

… The evolving nature of our transactions has created the need for a new area of law practice. We are entering an age of innovative transactions, collaborative transactions, crowd transactions, micro-transactions, sharing transactions—transactions that the legal field hasn’t caught up with, like: Bartering. Sharing. Cooperatives. Buying clubs. Community currencies. Time banks. Microlending. Crowdsourcing. Crowdfunding. Open source. Community supported agriculture. Fair trade. Consensus decision-making. Cohousing. Intentional Communities. Community Gardens. Copyleft.

At present, there is not much literature explaining the legal implications of these kinds of transactions.
(23 September 2010)


Share Your Stuff

Jeremy Adam Smith, Yes! magazine
From socks to cars to skills, how sharing and swapping gives you more.

Sharing stuff and services saves money, but the benefits go far beyond the financial.

When our goal is to own stuff, to amass square footage and cars and boats and electronic devices, our carbon footprint swells and we produce more junk. But when we share as much stuff as possible, we walk more lightly on the earth and often improve our quality of life.

Sharing also builds our ties with other people and strengthens our society and culture. This in turn adds to the resilience of our communities in the face of economic calamity, natural disasters, and energy constraints. Historical and scientific evidence suggests that cooperation and sharing, not fortifying and hoarding, help people survive catastrophe.

The first step to creating a more shareable life is to do an inventory and look at the ways you’re already sharing. Then ask yourself, how else can I share? Here are three ideas:
(17 September 2010)


A safe community where you can save money and resources by sharing stuff

Neighborhood Goods
About NeighborGoods

NeighborGoods is a safe community where you can save money and resources by sharing stuff with your friends. Need a ladder? Borrow it from your neighbor. Have a bike collecting dust in your closet? Rent it out for some extra cash!

Save Money!
How much money do you waste on stuff you only use once or twice? How much stuff do you have hidden away in closets or storage that isn’t being used? NeighborGoods is a social inventory that helps us all get more value out of the stuff we already own.

Save Resources!
Did you know that Americans are spend $22 billion a year on self-storage? According to The Self Storage Association, there is over seven square feet of self-storage for every man, woman and child in America. That’s a lot of unused stuff! NeighborGoods helps us get more use out of that stuff, which means less waste and less production of unnecessary items.

Strengthen Your Community!
Not only does NeighborGoods provide a way to save money and resources – it also connects neighbors in meaningful ways making for happier, healthier neighborhoods.
(accessed 5 October 2010)
Recommended by EB contributor John Gear, who is just opening his a "Values-based Oregon law practice in Salem." -BA