Renting the American Dream

In an essay for The Wall Street Journal, economics author Daniel Gross explores how he believes America's transition from an Ownership Society to a Rentership Society will unleash a wave of economic efficiency to fuel the next boom.
May 7, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Gross looks at the growth in popularity amongst Americans in renting their most expensive household items, and sees signs of a profound shift in economic attitudes that will fuel a post-recession boom driven by efficiency and mobility.

"Americans are getting over the idea of owning the American dream; increasingly, they're OK with renting it. Homeownership is on the decline, and home rentership is on the rise. But the trend isn't limited to the housing market. Across the board-for goods ranging from cars to books to clothes-Americans are increasingly acclimating to the idea of giving up the stability of being an owner for the flexibility of being a renter," writes Gross.

"I'd argue the rise of rentership is a sign of a system adapting-albeit too slowly-to new realities. The U.S. economy needs the dynamism that renting enables as much as-if not more than-it needs the stability that ownership engenders."

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Published on Friday, May 4, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
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