Does Monkey Parking App Take "Sharing Economy" Too Far?

A San Francisco City Attorney has told the creators of a new app to cease its use in his city. The app, Monkey Parking, creates a market for people to buy and sell public parking spots.

What's the Latest?


Monkey Parking, a new startup and app, is trying to push the sharing economy in a newer, more murky direction. From Marcus Wohlsen of Wired:

[The] app lets parking-space squatters auction their prized curb space to drivers weary of circling the block–startups are now making it possible to “share” things you don’t own in the first place. The service has been available for several weeks in San Francisco–a notoriously difficult place to park...

That bit about sharing things you don't own is the key provision that got San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera involved. He's demanded that Monkey Parking cease its SF operations and has threatened the app's users with fines.

Herrera, in a quote from the same Wired piece:

“Monkey Parking’s business model is wholly premised on illegal transactions... People are free to rent out their own private driveways and garage spaces should they choose to do so. But we will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit.”

What's the Big Idea?

Advocates for services such as Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber claim those companies' disruption of their respective markets are a net win for consumers. It's hard to make that same case for something like Monkey Parking because of how it develops a (black) market where one wasn't before. It also creates an incentive for parking spot squatters to hold attractive spaces hostage for the highest bidder. Where parking in San Francisco had previously been luck of the draw, Monkey Parking introduces angles of gouging and extortion.

Monkey Parking CEO and co-founder Paolo Dobrowolny offered Wired this counter-argument to Herrera's demands:

“As a general principle we believe that a new company providing value to people should be regulated and not banned.” 

What do you think?

Keep reading at Wired

Photo credit: Heiko Kueverling / Shutterstock

Develop mindfulness to boost your creative intelligence

Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.

Image: Big Think
Big Think Edge
  • Try meditation for the first time with this guided lesson or, if you already practice, enjoy being guided by a world-renowned meditation expert.
  • Sharon Salzberg teaches mindfulness meditation for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

For a long time, the West shaped the world. That time is over.

The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.

Videos
  • Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
  • European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Keep reading Show less

Vikings unwittingly made their swords stronger by trying to imbue them with spirits

They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.

Shutterstock
Culture & Religion
  • Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
  • To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
  • They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

Videos
  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less