Uber Without Uber: Platform Cooperativism as the New Sharing Economy
Think that cooperatives are a thing of the past? Think again. The concept of the cooperative is getting a new lease of life thanks to taxi drivers’ criticisms of Uber and the new organising possibilities presented by blockchain technology – and, under the title of ‘platform cooperativism’, it’s bringing a new economic order with it.
Uber, Ebay and Airbnb represent the friendly face of the sharing economy: everyone is hard at work swapping, renting and haggling; everyone can participate and everyone gains from it. But taxi drivers, vendors and landlords aren’t seeing much benefit – no representation, no say in the conditions and dubious terms of engagement.
So-called platform cooperativism’s current projects offer an alternative: self-help, self-management and self-responsibility through cooperative production, sales and purchasing in a digital world.