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Image: © Efraimstochter via Pixabay

Attempt at bike-sharing in Manchester goes tits up

Mobike is leaving Manchester after 10% of their bicycles were damaged or nicked in under a month.

Mobike is leaving Manchester after 10% of their bicycles were damaged or nicked in under a month.

What it means: It sounded like a great idea. Let people cheaply rent bicycles and leave them wherever they liked; a microchip and a smartphone would allow the next wannabe-cyclist to find the discarded wheels. To be fair to Mobike, that model did work well in China, where the bikes became popular and the company became worth $3.7 billion.

Mobike boasted that its bicycles were theft and vandal proof. They were wrong. Some of the bikes were found on top of lamposts. (We might be petty thieves, but at least we're creative petty thieves.)

The drama is a knockback for people keen on expanding the sharing economy, which is where people rent stuff from each other via the internet. If you’ve ever called an Uber, freelanced on TaskRabbit or slept in an AirBnb, you’ve taken part in the sharing economy. Some superfans think it could herald the end of property where nobody would own anything anymore. Guess we're not quite there yet.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?