Who remembers the sound of unwrapping a new record album, the smell of a new car or the thrill of opening the front door to a newly purchased home? At different points in my life, each one stood for the joy of possession, and the sense of having really arrived. My teenaged children and their peers do not see things the same way. They would rather pay for Spotify and Netflix subscriptions that let them play selections from huge online music and video catalogues than purchase DVDs or permanent downloads of a smaller selection of titles. Streaming is at the forefront of a trend that threatens to up-end a much wider range of industries. Technology-based groups are encouraging consumers to rethink their approach to everything from textbooks and party dresses to housing and transportation. The changes come in several categories. Platform apps are linking owners of goods and services — bicycles, spare bedrooms, even solar energy — to a host of potential users. And companies that traditiona...

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