Platform Cooperativism Resource Library


The on-demand economy has delightfully solved for convenience and efficiency to get customers what they want, when they want it. It has also enabled people to find new ways of earning income. Stay-at-home moms can capitalize on the time between family responsibilities. People in-between jobs can patch their income while they consider their next career move.

The good news is if what you do pays you well, and you find enough hours, you can lead a flexible life, work less hours, and be your own boss. The bad news is that if the work doesn’t pay well, life is becoming rather precarious. For lower wage workers of the on-demand economy, cobbling together enough income often means never “clocking out.” Workers in this new economy are glued to their phones, with two or three apps open, constantly trying to grab enough gigs to pay their landlord or buy back-to-school clothes. And while it’s theoretically flexible, the work isn’t yet stable. The pay isn’t yet predictable.

This raises many questions. So far, we’ve debated employee misclassification, whether technology is helping us work less or more, and what jobs look like in the age of apps and automation. We’ve asked ourselves who benefits and who loses? We’ve asked why Homejoy failed, and whether today’s labor laws fit new ways of working. But, the one question we haven’t discussed is who gets to decide the answers? Who gets to decide the future of work?

Added October 11, 2019