From Sharing to Cooperation: Lessons from Mondragón in the “New Economy”
As you may know, the phrase “the new economy” emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s and it is by no means “new” at this point, but rather points us toward an economy that has decidedly moved from Fordist arrangements of labor and production to what has been referred to as “post-Fordist”, relying on “flexible” or causalized labor and “just in time” production. Within that larger framework of a “new” economy, we have witnessed the rise of what is more specifically called “the sharing economy” and, in this paper, I sketch the terrain of labor, technology, data, and value that this phrase has come to indicate. I do this, however, because I am interested in interrogating the social figure– the private, entrepreneurial individual –that sits at the heart of this emerging economy. I do this because I want to argue that the “sharing economy”, while seemingly rapidly multiplying and spreading across several realms of social life, is an unsustainable and exploitative labor arrangement that privileges the short-term interests of individuals, while simultaneously opening the individual and environments and objects (such as homes) to data extraction and surveillance.