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"Platform cooperativism is a growing international movement that builds a fairer future of work. It’s about social justice and the bottom line. Rooted in democratic ownership,co-op members, technologists, unionists, and freelancers create a concrete near-future alternative to the extractive sharing economy.

Making good on the early promise of the Web to decentralize the power of apps, protocols, and websites, platform co-ops allow households with low and volatile income to benefit from the shift of labor markets to the Internet. Steering clear of the belief in one-click fixes of social problems, the model is poised to vitalize people-centered innovation by joining the rich heritage and values of co-ops with emerging Internet technologies."

source: https://platform.coop/about


With Trebor Scholz of The New School, the IDRC produced the following graphics to help illustrate concepts:






The following is content extracted from the PNG graphic above

Platform Co-ops

We connect cooperatives with the digital economy


We need alternative economic models because the economy powering the Internet is not working

Inequality

In 2015, the 62 richest people in the world controlled $1.76 trillion: the cumulative worth of 3.5 billion people.Women and people of color are disproportionally affected by this trend.

Concentration

Network effects lead to top-down control of platforms, weakening competition and the potential for consumer alternatives.

Workplace Democracy

While political democracy has spread in many countries, workplace democracy has not.

Invasion of Privacy

In the EU alone, the market for personal data will reach $1 trillion by 2020, encouraging commercial surveillance and privacy breaches.

The Smokescreen of Counterculture

Terms like “sharing” and “community” are used to sell commercial services and lend out assets. Labor companies pass themselves off as tech companies.

Stalled Worker Rights

Independent contractors lose rights guaranteed under the Fair Labor Standards Act. They are not covered by unemployment insurance.

Shift Away from Direct Employment

1 in 3 Americans is a freelancer. 40% of the US workforce is expected to be freelancers by 2020.

Stagnating Wages

Over the past 40 years, wages for most American workers have not risen, when adjusted for inflation.

Crowd Fleecing

Online labor brokerages enable wage theft, discrimination, and exploitation.


We can build on a powerful business model that works—it’s hidden around us in plain sight

• 1 in 3 Americans is a co-op member.

• In the U.S., co-ops created close to 1 million jobs with $25 billion in wages and benefits.

• The total co-op revenue in the U.S. is $500 billion.

• Cooperative enterprises worldwide employ 250 million people and generate $2.2 trillion in revenue.


Imagine a digital economy that would follow the 7 co-operative principles

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

2. Democratic Member Control

3. Member Economic Participation

4. Autonomy and Independence

5. Education, Training, and Information

6. Cooperation among Cooperatives

7. Concern for Community


Platform co-ops respond to the market failures of the online economy

benefits of the platform co-op model:

Lower transaction and retention costs

Surplus revenues of co-ops are transferred to the members

80% of co-ops survive their first five years compared with 41% of other business ownership models

Money flows within local communities

Protection from exploitation through ownership, transparency, control

Higher commitment of users disincentivizes short-termism

Prospect of data democracy


4 examples of platform co-ops

1.

WHO: Stocksy United stocksy.com

WHERE: Victoria, BC, Canada WHEN: launched 2013 

WHAT: high-quality, curated stock photography and video footage, raising the bar—and the industry’s expectations—of stock photography and cinematography, 960 photographers in 63 countries 

2015: $7.9m in sales, $200,000 in dividends to workers; Skills training for photographers to increase value of product; Uses 5% of revenue to operate the platform; Have serviced 124 of Fortune 500 companies 

2016: $10.7m in sales, $300,000 in dividends


2.

WHO: Green Taxi Co-op greentaxicooperative.com

WHERE: Denver, Colorado Metro Area

WHEN: launched in 2015

WHAT: Mobile app ride-hailing 800 members, immigrants from 37 countries; $2,000 from each driver for startup costs; Communication Workers of America Local 7777 helped clear regulatory hurdles (and leased a basement office to Green Taxi Cooperative); Captured over ⅓ of the Denver market


3. 

WHO: Resonate resonate.is

WHAT: Stream-to-own model driven by blockchain technology; Multistakeholder cooperative giving stakeholders democratic control: Artists (45%), Listeners (35%), Employees (20%); Pays up to 2.5 times more than other streaming services


4. 

WHO: MIDATA MiData.coop

WHERE: Zurich, Switzerland

WHAT: Health data cooperative; Members upload their medical records, mobile-health data, and personal genome and can then decide to securely share with: physicians, family, researchers; Apps-economy allows patientsto make use of their data; Profits are generated from voluntary sale of data to researchers; Aims for an international federation of cooperatives with the goal of creating a cooperative data commons


... and there is so much more in the platform co-op ecosystem

Journalism

Banyan Project

Newscoop Sourcefabric

The People's Daily Morning Star

Taz

Quotidiano Comunista Il Manifesto

WOZ Die Wochenzeitung

Positive News

La Jornada en linea

Transportation

Green Taxi Cooperative

Yellow

Ridygo

Partago

Cotabo Il Primo Taxi di Bologna

Co-op Cycle

Co-op Taxi Line

Tapazz

Modo

Short Term Rental

H2H

Fair BnB

Incubators and Supporting Institutions

bHive

Enspiral

Cooperative Networks

Fair Coop

Freedom Coop

Seed dot coop

Data Co-ops

Dark Peak

Midata

Data Commons Cooperative

GiSC

Our Data Coop

Consulting

Gildedsplinters

Smart

Food

Join Us 2 Eat

Open Food network

High Plains Food Coop

Finance

Fair Shares

Any Share

Economic Space Agency

Home Services

Loconomics

Up & Go

Governance

Loomio

Divvy DAO

Marketplace

France Barter

Fair Market

Fairmondo

Origin Club

Web Services

Digi Coop

Covivi

HCoop

Drutopia

Web Hosting dot coop

Music

Resonate


4 ways to start a platform co-op (PC)

• CO-OPs launch PCs

• FAILING STARTUPS convert into PCs

• PCs can be created as a result of ANTI-TRUST REGULATIONS

• Co-ops can launch PCs with the help of UNION


In order to build a fairer digital economy, we are working to overcome a series of challenges

• Financing

• Value Proposition

• Network Effects

• Regulation

• Education

• Leadership

• Member Involvement


Making good

Platform cooperativism is a growing international movement that builds a fairer future of work. Rooted in democratic ownership, co-op members, freelancers, technologists, and unionists create a concrete near-future alternative to the extractive sharing economy.

Building on the early promise of the Web to decentralize the power of apps, protocols, and websites, platform co-ops allow modest-income households to benefit from the shift of labor markets to the Internet. Steering clear of the belief in one-click fixes of social problems, the model is poised to vitalize people-centered innovation by joining the rich heritage and values of co-ops with emerging Internet technologies.


LEARN MORE. GET INVOLVED. Visit: http://platform.coop

Request information: info@platform.coop


SOURCES:  “Missing Markets and the Cooperative Firm” by Brent Hueth (2014) http://www.tse-fr.eu/sites/default/files/medias/doc/conf/workshop_po/communications/brent_huet.pdf

“Cooperative Identity, Values & Principles” by the International Co-operative Alliance http://ica.coop/en/whats-co-op/co-operative-identity-values-principles

“Facts and Figures” by the International Co-operative Alliance http://ica.coop/en/facts-and-figures

“Annual Report” by The National Cooperative Business Association (2014) http://www.ncba.coop/images/annualreports/NCBACLUSA_2014_Annreport.pdf

“An Economy for the 1%” by Oxfam (2016) https://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/bp210-economy-one-percent-tax-havens-180116-en_0.pdf

“What Do We Really Know About Worker Cooperatives?” by Virginie Pérotin (2016) https://www.uk.coop/resources/what-do-we-really-know-about-worker-co-operatives

Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, A New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet edited by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider (2016) http://www.orbooks.com/catalog/ours-to-hack-and-to-own/

“Research on the Economic Impact of Cooperatives” by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives (2009) http://reic.uwcc.wisc.edu/summary/

“Freelancing in America” by Upwork and the Freelancers Union (2016) https://www.upwork.com/i/freelancing-in-america/2016/

Thank you to the Internet of Ownership for their support and continued work in the platform co-op space.



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Mapping the Platform Co-op Commons:

  1. Propose, Find and Meet potential collaborators
    for example: dog walkers in LA, Tutors in Malmo, Sweden, Carers in UK and Ireland, Programmers in India, Babysitters in Argentina, Drivers in South Africa
  2. Organize and Recruit
  3. Start-up and Incubate a co-op
    using Start up Resources and Online Space
  4. Share and Collaborate

To stay informed, a library of News Alerts, Research, Policy and How-tos is openly available at all four stages of the Platform Co-op Commons.

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