In the face of widespread dissatisfaction with capitalism, it is time to ask, “What kind of new economy do we want to create?” Instead of optimizing the online economy for growth and short-term profits for the few, we need to optimize the digital economy for all people.
Platform co-ops offer a near-future, alternative to platform capitalism based on cooperative principles such as democratic ownership and governance.
Given that many gigs are performed by people who are invisible to customers in sectors such as home cleaning, especially women of color are seeing fewer benefits, lower pay, and hardly any opportunity for meaningful on-the-job skills training. Their rights as workers have stalled. Especially non-white workers remain unprotected against discrimination. The inequalities created by the gig economy are magnifying existing systemic injustice based on gender, ability, and race.
Platform co-ops introduce introduce economic fairness, training, and democratic participation in the running of online businesses.
A More Democratic Digital Economy
From dating to search, extractive platforms are reaching into every corner of life, collecting data along the way to be controlled only by a tiny number of people. Internet giants collect and control innumerable data points about users, and in exchange, offer zero transparency for how this information is used, who it is sold to, and for what purpose. Despite the fortunes made by many investors and creators of extractive platforms, the users who give value to these apps through their data don’t have a say about what happens on them.
Platform co-ops give stakeholders a say in what happens on the platforms.
It is advantageous to launch a platform co-op because they offer:
- Higher quality jobs
- Productivity benefits
- More resilient than other business forms
- Lower worker turnover
- More control over privacy and transparency
- Fair pay
- Opportunities to benefit from the ecosystem of cooperatives
- Control over the direction of the business remains with worker-owners
How platform co-ops can benefit you