Take Back the Sharing Economy with Platform Co-operatives (May 2017)

Associate Professor Trebor Scholz, Melina Morrison

Commons Transition Coalition. Centre for Workplace Leadership and CELRL present

'Take Back the Sharing Economy with Platform Co-operatives'

Keynote by Associate Professor Trebor Scholz; followed by Melina Morrison

Friday, 26 May 2017: 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Co-op Seminar

About the event

The sharing economy has failed to live up to its promises. Platforms like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit extract value and profit from local communities while drivers, errand runners, and gig workers are deprived of rights while struggling to make a living wage. In 2014, Scholz framed the concept of platform cooperativism to describe a new breed of enterprises that blends the technologies of the sharing economy with co-ownership and democratic governance. Platform co-ops like Stocksy United, Green Taxi Cooperative and Up&Go demonstrate that a fairer future of work rooted in solidarity and local control is not only possible but rewarding.

A nascent movement is gaining ground in Australia and bHive is working to become Australia's first platform co-op by creating a sharing economy platform that is owned by and for the people of Bendigo. Trebor Scholz, on his first trip to Melbourne, will deliver a keynote on the latest developments, opportunities, and challenges for platform cooperatives worldwide. This will be followed by a presentation by Melina Morrison from the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals.

The second half of the event will be a hands-on skillshare with bHive Bendigo to unpack challenges related to forming a platform co-op.

Skillshare hosts will lead conversations on the following topics:

About the speaker

Trebor Scholz is a scholar-activist and Associate Professor of Media & Culture at The New School in New York City. His books Uber-Worked and Underpaid. How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy (Polity, 2016) develops an analysis of the challenges posed by digital labor and introduces the concept of platform cooperativism as a way of joining the peer-to-peer and co-op movements with online labor markets while insisting on communal ownership and democratic governance. His next book will focus on the prospects of the cooperative online economy. His edited volumes include Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (Routledge, 2013), and Ours to Hack and to Own: Platform Cooperativism. A New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet (with Nathan Schneider, OR, 2016). In 2009, Scholz started to convene the influential digital labor conferences at The New School. Today, he frequently presents on the future of work, solidarity, and the Internet to media scholars, lawyers, activists, designers, developers, union leaders, and policymakers worldwide. Scholz is a member of the Barcelona Advisory Council on Technological Sovereignty. His articles and ideas have appeared in The Nation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Le Monde, The Financial Times, and The Washington Post.

Trebor Scholz Presenting