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It would be unfair to Slee,whose gaze in the text is much wider than carshares, especially given the relative recentness of the development, to point out that Community Carshare has by now spread to several Ontario cities including Hamiton, London and Guelph among others. Thus, lack of ambition is at this point hardly a justifiable carshare characterization. Furthermore, carshare co-op Modo, in Vancouver, predated Commmunity Carshare and has been operating successfully since 1997. The point is that non-profit co-operative carshares work, are growing and are different from the Ubers and Zipcars of this world that are the automobile game that Slee rightly hunts, at least in part.
At which point this reviewer must declare his own strings attached, as a co-founder of TorontotheBetter, a worker co-op and Toronto's original online social economy hub, and a long time member of Community Carshare (once on its board). But when one’s own “interest” is, as in a non-profit, in NOT having a financial interest then perhaps this represents an effective “divestment” of the kind a certain U.S. president refuses to make.
In ending I invite Tom Slee to meet us at Community Carshare in Kitchener to learn more about how non-profit co-operative carsharing differs from the so-called “Sharing Economy” trend that he rightly critiques in this important text. At the same time we encourage him to ponder some of the many new principled economic alternatives available, and growing, particularly after the latest breakdown of the mainstream neo-liberal marketplace in 2008. To echo the still important and valid sentiment of the 2001 World Social Forum “another world is possible”. And in enterprises like Community Carshare, it is real, not merely possible.
Reviewed by TorontotheBetter'sTaodhg [Tim] Burns