The communism of useful accessories

by Carl Dyke

I’m reading papers at the local cafe, and one of the staff is looking around for a leopard print umbrella somebody left behind earlier. I helpfully informed her in my opinion it is a mistake to think one owns useful accessories. Umbrellas, sunglasses, and the like. I think of these as being in common circulation, withdrawn for occasional use and then recontributed when not immediately needed. Every so often we’re all responsible for replenishing depleted supply by buying more, which is probably where confusion about ownership comes from.

This system works so well it’s never clear to me why people think communism wouldn’t work. Umbrellas, cars, books, prom dresses, shovels, cufflinks, what’s the difference? We don’t all need one sitting around idly waiting for us to need it, we just need some to be around for when we do. Then we’d have plenty of resources left over to take care of the things we all do need all the time.

I’m not going to go check where exactly in the “Manifesto” Marx and Engels explain how stupid this all is. Back to reading papers for me.

3 Comments to “The communism of useful accessories”

  1. In my inbox today:

    “For all faculty and staff
    Maintenance received an umbrella in the mail. It has no name associated with the packing slip. If this is your umbrella you may describe the umbrella for identification and come claim it.”

    No, Maintenance, that’s the universe replenishing the supply. Stick it in a classroom or hallway and let nature take its course.

  2. Try Wikipedia on “Sharing Economy.”

  3. Right. I did probably pitch this one a little too flip and basic for our savvy commentariat.

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