Cases such as Airbnb, Uber or eBay have popularised the concept of sharing economy. Digital platforms allow for the exchange of products and services, defying the business model of traditional companies. In many cases, though, the expansion of these platforms goes against the rights of their workforces. All these dilemmas and their alternatives will be discussed by Trebor Scholz, who is presenting his book Platform Cooperativism. Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, 2016).
Sharing or exchanging instead of owning. That is the principle underpinning the sharing economy and consumerism, which thanks to digital platforms have taken flight, popularising cases like BlaBlaCar, Amovens, Verkami or Bicing. New entrepreneurial opportunities arise as a response to capitalism's abuses: high prices, bad service, bad regulation, overproduction and waste.
For Trebor Scholz, however, these software companies have created markets where they did not exist before, basing them on the infrastructure of other people: your car, your apartment, your time… Logistics companies where the intermediary gets paid and the employees lose their working rights: no unemployment, no social security and no retirement. Scholz highlights that we need to understand the long-term implications of these platforms and consider alternatives. Platform cooperativism matches the technology of digital platforms with a cooperative organisation model. It also asks the question of what would happen if the Internet was used and ruled in a different way, bringing the economy closer to its citizens in a way that benefited everyone. If Silicon Valley likes disruption, we will cause it.
(*) The event will continue at 20.30 with a networking session and snacks at the Pati de les Dones.