Digital Co-Ops and the Democratic Economy
This article discusses policy priorities for digital cooperatives. It argues that digital cooperatives require government support and other efforts to scale and fulfil their potential to democratize the technology economy. First, governments need to further draw and create mechanisms for both private and public investment in digital cooperatives. Second, local digital cooperative business development must be supported. Local authorities can nest digital cooperatives in communities, place-based industrial strategies, resources, and guidance. The cooperative movement, with government help, should focus more on enabling transitions to cooperatives and cooperative federations. Third, governments and the cooperative movement must both cater to and reform the structure of the technology labor market. Technology workers must be better incentivized and reached out to, and precarious platform workers supported with stronger worker rights regulations and alliances with unions. Fourth, digital cooperatives should be incorporated into public policy efforts aimed at ensuring democratic ownership of data, so that they become supported as a solution rather than restricted. The article concludes by remarking on how regulations on the technology sector have opened a place for digital cooperatives in both the United Kingdom’s economic recovery efforts and tech worker action.