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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


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.


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.


• 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


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


Prospect of data democracy

4 examples of platform co-ops


WHO: Stocksy United


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


Banyan Project

Newscoop Sourcefabric


Positive News

La Jornada en linea


Green Taxi Cooperative



Co-op Taxi Line



Short Term Rental


Fair BnB

Incubators and Supporting Institutions



Cooperative Networks


Freedom Coop

Seed dot coop

Data Co-ops

Dark Peak


Data Commons Cooperative


Our Data Coop





Join Us 2 Eat

Open Food network

High Plains Food Coop


Fair Shares

Any Share

Economic Space Agency

Home Services


Up & Go



Divvy DAO


France Barter

Fair Market


Origin Club

Web Services

Digi Coop




Web Hosting dot coop



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

• CO-OPs launch PCs

• FAILING STARTUPS convert into PCs


• 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


• 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.