Historically, ordinary folk have never owned much until recent decades. I grew up on a council estate where few families owned anything but their clothes and some furniture. No house, car, fridge, freezer, central heating, TV or phone. Now we are overwhelmed with goodies but it is easy to forget how recent the change has been. The present situation is unprecedented as the manipulators say.
Yet there are changes in the air too. Ownership by ordinary folk seems to be under attack. People are more likely to rent their home, a major and obvious trend, but there are other attacks on our notions of ownership. The trend is particularly noticeable with consumer durables which aren’t durable and electronic gizmos which are out of date within months of purchase. Ownership is becoming ephemeral - migrating to the cloud.
Privately owned cars are gradually being squeezed out of cities and self-driving cars may not be privately owned at all. That’s the progressive vision – if you want a car you hire one from an approved pool. Or better still a rented bike. From bike-eu we have a story about a new lock for rented bikes because rented bikes are so cool, especially in winter.
By 2020 bike sharing systems in the world’s biggest cities are expected to offer over 2.3 million bicycles. Currently that figure stands at about one million bikes. And it doesn’t include all the rental bikes on offer at tourist spots all around the world. For this emerging market, bike security supplier Axa developed a smart e-lock.
It all feels like a trend, an ownership isn’t cool trend. All part of designing the global pleb I suppose.