Communapitalism is, simply, a mixture of communism and capitalism, without the government-led wealth redistribution. Owners of things can rent their things to people who need the things but don’t want to buy the things.
This new economic theory is perfect for the new car owner, and it’s being applied by RelayRides, a peer-to-peer car sharing network that popped up in Boston in 2010 and has since made its way west. Car owners can rent their rides out to drivers at their own rates, meet each other and exchange the keys, and do it all again when the car’s returned with a full gas tank (because the renter has to give the owner back the keys).
But that was the old way of doing things! GM, already a RelayRides investor, has extended its OnStar service to the start-up and drastically reduced the awkwardness and time needed for a car renter to pick up the keys from the car owner. GM’s also increased the pool of available RelayRides.
Now Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners with OnStar connectivity can rent their cars out through their smartphones without having to meet the renter to hand over the keys. Plus, OnStar serves as a perfect watch dog if the renter turns out to be a serial automobile kleptomaniac.
Because of OnStar’s satellites and GPS systems and all the people that can call you from the OnStar headquarters to check and make sure you (or the renter) are safe.
It’s a communapitalist utopia.
This is an ingenious way for people with idle cars to generate some car maintenance money. Think of all the commuters who drive into populated cities, leave their cars in parking lots, then go and sit in work for eight hours. If the RelayRides team can go and partner with some of the parking lot companies that operate out of downtown areas of cities, they might really be on to something here.
Lookout ZipCar and City Car Share.
RelayRides are available for as low as $8.00 an hour or $60 a day.