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Who Owns the World? The State of Platform Cooperativism

November 7, 2019 - November 9, 2019

Fire the Bosses, Democratize the Internet, and Own the Future

Celebrating ten years of digital labor conferences at The New School, Who Owns the World? The State of Platform Cooperativism is the most international gathering of its kind. Following our 2018 conference in Hong Kong, this much-needed event summons scholars and founders of platform cooperatives — businesses that use a website, mobile app, or protocol to sell goods or services while relying on democratic decision-making and shared ownership of the platform by workers and users. 

Platform cooperativism is not a fleeting idea but an iterative process that unfolds with the support of community groups and anchor organizations such as universities, cooperative banks, and accelerators. Impulses for a democratic digital transformation come from numerous domains, which is why this event presents theoretical reflections, artistic provocations, and insights from on-the-ground workers, owners, and users.

Who Owns the World? convenes one hundred fifty speakers from over thirty countries to meet each other, co-design, and learn about topics such as worker power in the platform economy, antitrust, misogyny and racism in co-ops, ecological sustainability, best practices for cooperation including the allocation of startup funding, the potential of platform co-ops for data trusts, data co-ops, new models for distributed governance, and data sovereignty.

Who owns our data, our cities, the world? For three days in November, we’ll field this and other questions. We’ll not stop at slideshows and declarations challenging current enterprise structures but continue to advance existing and near-future alternatives. We can do better than platform capitalism! Cooperators the world over, unite now!!

This conference is convened by Trebor Scholz (Director, Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy at The New School ICDE) with support from Michael McHugh, ICDE’s Assistant Director.

The following organizations have taken a stand for the future of cooperatives in the digital economy by joining the PCC Circle of Cooperators as members:
Smart.coop, Fairbnb.coop, Coompanion, NeedsMap, Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals  (Australia), Datavest, Democracy at Work Institute, Co-operatives UK, Stocksy United, CoLab Cooperative, Cotabo, Ontario Co-operative Association, Fondazione Centro Studi Doc, Center for Cultural Innovation, Cooperatives for a Better World, Unionen, Institute for the Future, CoLab Cooperative, Febecoop, La Coop des Communs

In addition, we acknowledge event sponsors including the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing, Rutgers University; The New School’s Milano School for Management and Policy; the Open Society Foundations; and the Ford Foundation.


November 7, 2019
November 9, 2019
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