The seeds are being planted for a new kind of online economy. For all the wonders the Internet brings us, it is dominated by an economics of monopoly, extraction, and surveillance. Ordinary users retain little control over their personal data, and the digital workplace is creeping into every corner of workers’ lives. Online platforms often exploit and exacerbate existing inequalities in society, even while promising to be the great equalizers. Could the Internet be owned and governed differently? What if Uber drivers could set up their own platform, or if cities could control their own version of Airbnb? Can Silicon Alley do things more democratically than Silicon Valley? What are the prospects for platform cooperativism?
On November 13 and 14, the New School in New York City will host a coming-out party for the cooperative Internet, built of platforms owned and governed by the people who rely on them. The program will include discussion sessions, screenings, monologues, legal hacks, workshops, and dialogues, as well as a showcase of projects, both conceptual and actual, under the purview of celebrity judges. We’ll learn from coders and worker cooperatives, scholars and designers. Together, we’ll put their lessons to work as we work toward usable apps and structural economic change. This is your chance to get on the ground floor of the next Internet, and to help make it a reality.
Platform Cooperativism is convened by Trebor Scholz (The New School) and Nathan Schneider (University of Colorado Boulder). It is sponsored by The New School’s Eugene Lang College for Liberal Arts, The Workers Lab, and The Freelancers Union, in partnership with Civic Hall, Democracy Collaborative, The Yale Information Society Project, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives, Robin Hood Foundation, The Robert L. Heilbronner Center for Capitalism Studies at The New School for Social Research, and Shareable. This is the fourth event in The New School’s series The Politics of Digital Culture, which included The Internet as Playground & Factory (2009) and Digital Labor (2014). There will be two additional summits in this series at The New School, following up on these themes, in 2016.
Hashtag on Diaspora and Twitter: #platformcoop
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