Cooperativism in the Digital Era, or How to Form a Global Counter-Economy
Can we transform the renting economy of Uber and AirBnB into a genuine sharing one? Platform cooperatives must become open and commons-oriented.
An Airbnb office in Toronto. Airbnb exemplifies “a kind of on-demand labour system.” Wikicommons/opengrid scheduler/ grid engine. Some rights reserved.“What if this is not capitalism, but something worse?” McKenzie Wark’s question eloquently summarizes the growing criticism of profit-maximizing business models within the so-called collaborative sharing economy. That “something worse,” appears to take the form of a new kind of feudalism, as in the case of Facebook. That “something worse,” appears to take the form of a new kind of feudalism, as in the case of Facebook. If feudalism was based on the ownership of land by an elite, the resource now controlled by a small minority is networked data. Or, as in the case of Uber, AirBnB and TaskRabbit, it takes the form of a kind of on-demand labour system, where individuals-freelancers contribute their infrastructure and labour.