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Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, a New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet

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Real democracy and the Internet are not mutually exclusive.

Here, for the first time in one volume, are some of the most cogent thinkers and doers on the subject of the cooptation of the Internet, and how we can resist and reverse the process. The activists who have put together Ours to Hack and to Own argue for a new kind of online economy: platform cooperativism, which combines the rich heritage of cooperatives with the promise of 21st-century technologies, free from monopoly, exploitation, and surveillance.

The on-demand economy is reversing the rights and protections workers fought for centuries to win. Ordinary Internet users, meanwhile, retain little control over their personal data. While promising to be the great equalizers, online platforms have often exacerbated social inequalities. Can the Internet be owned and governed differently? What if Uber drivers set up their own platform, or if a city’s residents controlled their own version of Airbnb? This book shows that another kind of Internet is possible—and that, in a new generation of online platforms, it is already taking shape.

Included in this volume are contributions from Michel Bauwens, Yochai Benkler, Francesca Bria, Miriam Cherry, Ra Criscitiello, John Duda, Marina Gorbis, Karen Gregory, Seda Gürses, Steven Hill, Dmytri Kleiner, Vasilis Kostakis, Brendan Martin, Micky Metts, Kristy Milland, Mayo Fuster Morell, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Rachel O’Dwyer, Janelle Orsi, Michael Peck, Carmen Rojas, Douglas Rushkoff, Saskia Sassen, Juliet Schor, Palak Shah, Tom Slee, Danny Spitzberg, Arun Sundararajan, Astra Taylor, Cameron Tonkinwise, McKenzie Wark, and Caroline Woolard.

252 pages, Paperback

Published January 12, 2017

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Trebor Scholz

14 books17 followers

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews
Profile Image for Gordon Casey.
Author 1 book5 followers
February 21, 2017
This collection of essays focused on the topic of platform cooperativism, gathers the thoughts and comments of a diverse range of writers and leading thinkers from various areas.

Trebor Scholtz and Nathan Schneider are known as the leading thinkers behind platform coop'ism but here in one volume are short pieces from those in the open-source movement, the P2P movement, the cooperative movement, those involved in civic engagement and the trade union movement. Academics, activists, thought-leaders all share their views. And case studies are presented from entrepreneurs currently building the platform coops of the future.

There is no other work that will bring you up to date on this movement as comprehensively as this book.
Profile Image for Franko.
49 reviews
March 8, 2018
I was excited by the promise of this book but it didn’t really live up to expectations. It was a collection of smaller essays , blog posts and advertisements that needed a lot more thorough editing. The collection was trying to be wide ranging but ended up repetitive and shallow. How many times was Uber referenced in this book? I lost count.

I wish there were more lengthy sections, perhaps even a clear thesis with supporting historical context, present analysis and future frameworks. There were some good bits, but overall I wouldn’t recommend you spend time reading this end to end.
Author 1 book493 followers
December 29, 2017
A collection of short essays by a wide variety of authors. Lots of overlap between the pieces but there's some good stuff in here. Worth reading if you're interested in the idea of co-operative alternatives to platform capitalism (e.g., the New Economics Foundation's recent attempt at launching a co-op alternative to Uber).
Profile Image for Taru Luojola.
Author 12 books17 followers
May 10, 2018
Tämä kirja pääsi hiukan yllättämään. Odotin enemmän teknologiapainotteista sisältöä, mutta oikeasti kirja on todella yhteiskunnallinen. Voisi melkein sanoa, että jokaisen tämän vuosisadan kommarin kannattaisi tutustua paremmin erilaisiin alustaosuuskuntanäkemyksiin. Mutta kirja ei ole pelkkää abstraktia teoriaa, vaan siinä käsitellään myös paljon erilaisia käytännön kysymyksiä, joita tulee vastaan, kun pykätään taloudellista yhteistoiminnallisuutta nykyinternetissä. Näin ollen kirja on hyvää luettavaa myös niille, joilla on tämän suuntaisia käytännön suunnitelmia.

Kirjan vahvuutena on se, että siinä on nelisenkymmentä eri kirjoittajaa, joista kullakin on omat taustansa ja elämänkokemuksensa. Näin ollen alustaosuustoiminnan eri osa-alueita käsitellään hyvinkin monipuolisesti ja monin eri tavoin. Toisaalta tämä on myös kirjan heikkous, sillä neljäkymmentä erilaista kirjoitustyyliä ja aiherajausta eivät muodosta sellaista jäsennettyä kokonaisuutta, jonka pieni yhtenäinen kirjoittajaryhmä tai yksi kirjoittaja voisi saada aikaan. Tämä myös toisaalta korostaa sitä ilmeistä seikkaa, että kaikkea ei voi oppia vain lukemalla yhden kirjan, mikä on tietenkin ihan hyvä oivaltaa, ennen kuin rupeaa käytännössä väsäämään isompia kuvioita.

Monet kirjan teksteistä ovat hyvin yhdysvaltalaisia, eivätkä niissä kuvatut säännöt ja yhteiskunnalliset olot välttämättä sovi kovin hyvin Eurooppaan. Mutta globaalissa uusliberalismissa Euroopan ja Yhdysvaltain väliset erot ovat myös monin paikoin niin vähäiset, että sopivasti suodattamalla kirja on oikein antoisa myös eurooppalaiselle lukijalle.
Profile Image for Shane.
389 reviews7 followers
August 31, 2020
This book presents a broad and diverse range of ideas relating to 'platform cooperativism', which is essentially cooperative models of business using contemporary digital technology. There are forty essays by contributors including seasoned experts in technology criticism (Yochai Benkler, Saskia Sassen, Rachel O'Dwyer) and experts in law, business or technologies relating to cooperatives (Janelle Orsi, Arun Sundararajan, Miriam A. Cherry). The diversity does make the reading of the book a little clunky, but the richness of the ideas contained makes up for this, and the result is a great influencing guidebook for how platforms can potentially be made, with a particular emphasis on technology.

Also credit to the editors for a book with so many contributors being (I think completely) free from typos!

A good reference book for anyone interested in these areas.
120 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2019
I took away some in-depth knowledge about platform cooperatives, but i don't really know who is supposed to be the audience for this book. Altogether it is a loose bundle of short remarks about different problems of the platform cooperative scene. Useful as a compendium of conference notes but a bit disappointing as a book.
15 reviews
June 14, 2019
This is a collection of essays that are all so similar it makes the book incredibly redundant. I lost count of how many times Uber was mentioned and how many times the various writers could praise communism. The book had nearly nothing to do with hacking, and a lot to do with politics. Very disappointing.
6 reviews
July 6, 2018
Needs some editing, but some good nuggets

A lot of this book feels like complaining about Uberization without supporting evidence to its faults. There were a few good exceptions, though. I enjoyed the chapter by a mechanical turker and how they would build a more humane platform. I also enjoyed the chapters which talked about the specific legal structures to use when starting a co-op.
Profile Image for Thibault.
65 reviews
August 11, 2020
(Read the french edition)

De bonne idées qui font réfléchir sur notre mode de fonctionnement, mais qui semblent loin d'êtres applicables. Beaucoup des dix idées veulent se baser sur des exemples réels et concrets de start-up (Uber, Livraison de repas...) sans prendre en compte la dimension "taille" et "marché".

Les communautés alternatives peuvent marcher à New-York ou Paris où la densité de population et de moyen nivelle les idées, et permet une coopération entre personnes déjà convaincus par ce mode de fonctionnement. Dans les autres villes, le bio devient petit à petit monnaie courante et les producteurs peinent déjà assez à se regrouper en petites coopéeratives (lait, oeufs,...) et à dégager des marges suffisantes.

De belles idées, non applicales à notre société et "non-scalable", vers l'échelle micro ou macro.
Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews

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