Platform Cooperatives as Pioneers of Degrowth? platforms2share at the Great Transformation-Conference in Jena

Picture: "seminar-2654142" by ulrichw under Pixabay License

In September, Santje Kludas from platforms2share participated at a panel debating the role of cooperatives in the platform economy. The dialogue between scientists and practitioners addressed the conference's main theme of a Great Transformation by taking a closer look at the digital realm.

The forum started with a brief introduction by Dr. Philipp Degens and Moritz Boddenberg (Uni Hamburg) connecting two lines of discussions: on the one hand, the debate about the platform economy and its disruptive potential and on the other hand the re-discovery of cooperatives as a democratic business model. They asked: In which way could platform coops contribute to a Great Transformation?

After that, Santje Kludas introduced platforms2share and posed the question if in times of transformation platform cooperatives could be regarded as pioneers of a degrowth society, given that they are aiming to fundamentally change our current ways of production and consumption as well as organizational governance. Shortly after, Felix Weth added his personal experiences and motivation in founding the platform coop Fairmondo. While he also emphasized the challenges that the German Genossenschaftsgesetz poses to platform coops, Weth - in his talk - focused primarily on the democratic governance of Fairmondo.

Later, Dr. Clemens Schimmele (Uni Köln) gave an input on “Produktivgenossenschaften” a special form of cooperatives where members are both workers and owners of the cooperative. Ela Kagel from SUPERMARKT Berlin then presented her thoughts on the platform economy and degrowth. Pointing towards the disruptive potential of platforms, Kagel both illustrated the possibilities and limits of cooperatizing the platform economy, drawing on her daily expriences with her coop-network.

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