A truly great idea with many examples, high- and low tech... however, poor communities or resource-challenged ones like those found in Africa all offer outstanding examples of how people have always been sharing and co-operating in order to survive.
I wonder if its just a case of (spoilt, wealthy) Westerners also waking up to the idea of sharing resources and using it more optimally. And now we have a found a word for it: Collaborative Consumerism.
Living in South Africa and travelling through the city center of Johannesburg offer countless examples of people making a living by sharing what little they have. South Africa's so-called 'Black taxis' industry is a great example of a system that works... for those who understand and rely on it... of course... and it works because of sharing routes, co-operating, etc -- all within a framework that the industry created for itself... (Simplistic view... granted)
Perhaps US citizens will recall how African-Americans shared rides with those 'brothers' who had cars, when they boycotted the racial laws that segregated busses?
But from the little that Ive read, Cuba perhaps offers the best example of the perfect recycling society... Thankfully, perhaps, the USA and consumerism stayed OUT of Cuba... I surely don't hope consumerism catches up with the Cubans when the US lifts its trade sanctions and other bans.
What’s Mine is Yours: CC Pioneers & Protagonists