Akiko Naganuma, ARUN partner
The word ‘share’ or ‘be connected’ have attracted a great deal of interest recently. It gets attention probably because our society has matured.
The basic idea of Miura is that we are stepping into the fourth stage of ‘consuming society.’ The first stage is the beginning of the form of consumption as an entertainment, which widely spread among cities mainly, from the Taisho-era (1912-1626) to the beginning of the Showa-era (1926-1942). Then the second stage is the widespread of consumption all over Japan, supported by the penetration of mass produced goods for common households after WWⅡand during the period of high economic growth. The third stage is the complication of the consumption, that the consumers expect it as something activates self-esteem and it comes from the social movement of individualism, after the oil crisis til around 2000.
And the fourth stage is, according to Miura, the ‘co-consumption’ is becoming apparent, especially after 2000. In this kind of society the consumption is not done for it’s sake, but ‘sociality, whether you are connected to people through consumption or even other than consuming, you get familiar with / are interacting with someone thoroughly doing something, is considered as valuable’. When I found this book for the first time, though it was a while after I started to participate in ARUN, this phase had a strong impact on me since how I think toward my activity in ARUN is exactly the same idea as it is said.
Many of the ARUN Partners invest in ARUN not because they expect the economic returns. Rather I think they should be attracted by the point that they have many more chances to have interactions with people and as the result of it, they will get precious experience by participating in the activities at ARUN. Miura explains that consumption is, ‘the behavior, in fact, that consuming satisfying time is the real purpose’, referring to the part of the book ‘Yawarakai Kojinshugi no Tanjyo’(the beginning of soft individualism) by Masakazu Yamazaki, a commentator, and shows with many examples that indeed the number of people who recognize it and behave as it is, is increasing in the fourth stage.
Social investment is to create the mechanism to flow money with strong will by investing and considering a social value created from companies. People are willing to connect themselves to solving social issues, but not only that, it seems that for me they intend to have a productive time. Everyone has their own ‘productive time,’ thus someone is interested in investment itself, but some other persons have an interest in the stories background of investees. In other cases, some people search for projects which they sympathize with, using crowd funding in addition to investment companies, and others participate in community funding in local areas.
Such trend expresses the very feature of ‘the fourth stage of consuming’ that Miura points out. It seems that people are more aware of how to use their own money. Consumption and investment, both do not only mean momentary activity while moving money but also includes the meaning of involving and interacting with others through money which takes a longer time. Still it remains momentary consumption though, as my belongings purchased on impulse prove.