Who Owns the World? Cooperative Alternatives to Surveillance Capitalism Now!

University Liberal Arts: University Lecture Program

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Graduate Course

Degree Students

Platform Cooperativism

Spring 2021

Taught By: Trebor Scholz

Section: A

CRN: 7301

Credits: 3

Wages of American workers have been stagnating for decades. Income inequality is growing. A new category of people – gig workers - don’t even know if they have an employer. Their right to unionize has been eviscerated and right-wing governments in a growing number of countries are aggressively turning away from workers. In the face of these trends, how can working people organize, mobilize, and build economic alternatives? Instead of stopping at an analysis of platform capitalism, this course gives students the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of power-building strategies from Barcelona and New York City to Ahmedabad, India. In the digital economy, all around the world, a new generation of young leaders is experimenting with innovative ways to enable workers to gain power through democratic ownership. Imagine an Uber owned by the drivers or an Airbnb owned and operated by residents, or something like Google’s cloud owned by the users. This course will analyze the potential of these organizations to reach the scale and sustainability necessary to make lasting change. It will challenge students to predict how these initiatives could be funded. Drawing on resources from Cooperative Studies, Anthropology, Development Studies, Sociology, Internet Studies, and Economics, this course will be the first to date to explore the theoretical underpinnings and key examples of platform cooperativism in an international context. Through in-person discussions with leading practitioners and scholars from around the globe, students will have an opportunity to explore the burning crises of platform capitalism, the “sharing” economy, and explore digital cooperatives as a viable alternative. Students will engage with a range of highly visible guest speakers working on varying aspects of an alternative digital economy, from resistance against data colonialism to cooperative ownership and democratic governance of digital platforms, to cryptocurrencies, distributed ledgers like Blockchain, and a slew of other topics. By engaging with these leaders, students interested in alternative economies and worker-centered design methodologies can explore these topics more in-depth. “Who Owns the World?” course aims to introduce students at The New School and members of the public to the cooperative digital economy as a global movement that is building a concrete and near-term alternative to crony capitalism and the burning problem of economic inequality.

College: University Liberal Arts (UL)

Department: University Lecture Program (ULIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Max Enrollment: 50

Add/Drop Deadline: N/A
Online Withdrawal Deadline: N/A

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:36am 7/12/2020 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Wednesday

Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm

Building: 66 5th Ave

Room: 101

Date Range: 1/20/2021 - 5/5/2021