Platform Cooperativism Conference Disrupts Silicon Valley’s Disruptions – Shareable
Silicon Valley loves a good disruption. So let’s give them one.”
Thus Trebor Scholz kicked off the first-ever conference on platform cooperativism to a packed auditorium of technologists, students, academics, co-op developers, and activists at The New School last Friday morning. So-called “sharing economy” digital platforms like Uber, TaskRabbit, and Airbnb have taken control of our work and our homes, making labor even more contingent and precarious than it already has been historically under capitalism.
Such apps have received widepsread attention and adoption due to their ability to deliver goods and services on demand to consumers. The conference explored how we might utilize recent technological developments toward truly democratic ends. In Scholz’s words: “Platform cooperativism embraces the technology, but wants to replace the ownership model.”
The idea of “platform cooperativism” came from the title of an essay Scholz wrote late last year. Nathan Schneider, Scholz’s collaborator and co-organizer of the conference, further expounded on similar concepts in reporting for Shareable. A panel discussion bearing the name, featuring both Scholz and Schneider alongside others, was also held in March at Civic Hall.