#TheNewCommonSense: Forging the Cooperative Digital Economy
The current pandemic has plunged the planet into disarray. One significant shift has been the ever-greater emphasis on the internet in our daily lives. Through community ownership, platform cooperatives allow us to take more control of our relationship with the internet and the myriad of services it mediates.
When faced with overwhelming economic inequality, previously unthinkable changes can become common sense. It is now time to create a digital economy that responds to such pressing issues of our day. To make democracy commonplace, in the workplace and beyond. To scale equality. To contribute to the commons, not the destruction of our environment. It’s time to think about how digital platforms can be guided by cooperative principles.
The Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC), the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IW), and the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) host the annual Platform Cooperativism Conference, for the first time in Europe, from November 12 to 18, 2021.
#TheNewCommonSense convenes more than 80 cooperative pioneers, workers, trade unionists, policymakers, researchers, designers, and activists from over 20 countries.
The goal of this event, which will take place both virtually and in person at Humboldt University of Berlin, is to assess how platform cooperatives have responded to the pandemic, analyze inhibiting and supportive policies, and discuss current experiments with data cooperatives, token systems, and crypto networks.
Collectively, we will discuss the possibility of cooperative governance in the digital world, data trusts, and feminist tech infrastructures. To start, we’ll field the following questions: In a platform society, how can geographically dispersed workers self-govern digital platforms? Which sectors and communities will benefit the most from platform co-ops? What role may unions play in supporting this movement? And how could platform cooperatives contribute to the creation of green tech infrastructures?
Participatory democracy is an aspiration that has extended to almost every nation on this planet. It’s now time to steer the digital economy into this direction, to make platform co-ops common sense – in Europe and beyond.
The ongoing global pandemic continues to make the organization of large in-person gatherings a challenge. The safety and health of our communities must always come first. To account for this, we have decided to move this year’s conference into a hybrid space. #TheNewCommonSense is split into a two-day, in-person event at the Humboldt University of Berlin (November 12-13), and a set of virtual events (November 15-18), facilitated through Zoom. To be able to respect social distancing measures (and therewith protect everyone’s health), participation at the in-person event in Berlin is strictly invite only. Participation in the virtual events is open to the public.
To make the in-person events on November 12-13 as accessible as possible, we will livestream the conference’s representative opening event on November 12 and record the large majority of sessions on November 13 for subsequent viewing. In addition, we will also produce short interview films with participants over the two days of the in-person event. Lastly, the program is designed in a way so that speakers overlap between the in-person and virtual events. Through this, we hope to stimulate rich and thoughtful discussions across both formats.
Registration for the virtual conference will give access to the livestream of the conference’s opening event on November 12 as well as the virtual conversations to take place between November 15-18. After having registered, participants will receive additional logistical information via mail. We very much hope to be able to return to a larger in-person gathering for the next PCC Conference.
Platform Cooperativism Consortium at The New School, New York City
Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), Berlin
Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), Berlin
Mondragon University MTA, MONDRAGON, Humboldt University of Berlin, Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment at The New School, Weizenbaum Institute, Platform Cooperatives Germany
The event is produced in close collaboration with:
The conference is held with the financial support of the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery Higher Education and Research.
Twitter Hashtag. Use #NewCommonSense on Twitter to share your favorite quotes and impressions. Be sure to follow us @pcc_global, @platformcoops, @ioew_de, @WZB_Berlin for sneak peeks and for live coverage.