Ela Kagel

Hello, my name is Ela Kagel, founder and board member of Platform Cooperatives Germany, based in Berlin. I believe that cooperative principles are crucial for the digital economy because this sector has become a fundamental part of our public infrastructure, intertwined with every aspect of our lives—from the streets we ride on, to the food we eat, to the education we receive. The boundaries between what we once called ‘real life’ and our digital existence are increasingly blurred, making it difficult to separate the two. Everything connected to the digital economy is, in essence, part of the public infrastructure that supports our jobs, communication, shopping, payments, and self-expression. Therefore, just as we manage common resources like land, urban living, education, and public decision-making, we must extend these principles into the digital realm. One of our biggest challenges ahead is to build a digital commons that reflects the same understanding and values that our ancestors applied to the physical commons around them. This heritage of cooperative management is what we need to harness and adapt for the digital economy.