Worker-owned apps are redefining the sharing economy

the Cooperative Consortium PlatformBased in New York City, he has taught 1,300 students from 60 countries over the past two years in collaboration with Mondragon Unibertsitatea, creating hundreds of projects alone.

“Platform cooperatives offer a more democratic and equitable alternative to traditional businesses, and have the potential to create good jobs, boost local economies and increase resilience against future shocks,” says Trebor Scholz, founding director of the platform. Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy. “In a post-pandemic world, platform cooperatives could help build a fairer and more sustainable economy that works for everyone.”

Schulz estimates there are around 550 projects in 43 countries, spanning industries such as short-term rental, transportation, domestic work, care and energy, but the true figure could be much higher. there is a cleaning business up to go in New York City, ethical alternative to home sharing fairbnbwhich operates in more than 20 European cities, and catakia Tinder for informal waste collectors in Brazil, known as collectors—to connect with residents who want to recycle their trash.

“There has been a lot of talk about Glovo, Deliveroo, UberEats and other supposedly innovative sharing economy delivery platforms, but this focus on technological development distracts from the fact that working conditions in the delivery sector have gone from bad to worse. in most countries for decades. ”, says Paul Iano, co-founder of Eraman Repartos Koopa cooperative bicycle delivery service that began operating in Vitoria Gasteiz, the capital of the Spanish Basque Country, in March 2020.

Its 15 members and workers deliver goods on cargo bikes, as well as complete administrative tasks, and Iano says he’s scaling up significantly. “We believe that we can maintain our pace of growth over the next 10 months in Gasteiz without entering new local markets,” he explains. With digital infrastructure and resources provided by the CoopCycle FederationSupporting 60 worker-owned cooperatives around the world, Eraman hopes to push Glovo and other transnational sharing economy platforms out of the Basque market.

Still, it’s not clear whether any of these models could ever challenge or replace the Goliaths of the gig economy. “It’s hard to establish a large market share in services where there’s already a dominant player or other players like ride-hailing or food delivery,” says Juliet Schor, an economist and sociologist at Boston College. “But in other services, like cleaning for example, co-ops can thrive and food delivery co-ops in Europe are having a better time because the market is not a duopoly and there is a lot of labor resistance in the big food delivery apps. in Europe. ” In fact, social enterprises, which aim to improve their local social economy and include platform cooperatives in their mandate, already represent more than 8 percent of Europe’s GDP and provide 13.6 million jobs.

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