Platform Co-ops and the Digital Commons

Trebor Scholz at MoneyLab #3
Institute of Network Cultures

There is fresh interest in initiating and maintaining a digital commons to provide vital restbite against the wave on demand mobile apps and share economy services. This can be witnessed in tech start-ups and entrepreneurs shifting towards a co-operative business model, in what has been named as platform co-operavatism. The introduction of unions and crowd-owned companies, not only attempt to secure some stability for the precarious worker in the digital economy but also attempt to move towards a more circular economy over the dominant extractive monopolies such as Uber and Air’n’b.

The platform co-op movement opens up the possibility of collective ownership to re-instate shared common resources within circular economies. The ideas are already beginning to take hold in cities that have already been damaged by the affects of share economy businesses such as Berlin, which has a strict limit on Airbnb rentals, and Rio de Janeiro, which banned Uber all together last year. In areas such as these, where the repercussions of unregulated digital platforms have already impacted social welfare, the platform co-op may offer a promising sanctuary from the destructive expansion of on-demand capitalism.

MoneyLab #3: Trebor Scholz. Cooperatives and the Commons from network cultures on Vimeo.

 

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Publication Date: 
Friday, October 13, 2017