27 March 2021 - Written by Hamideh Iraj
Cooperative (Co-op) is a tried-and-true business model for organisations. The United Nations defines a co-op as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly and democratically-controlled enterprise”. Co-ops are based on cooperation among members to tighten the power gap and give members a voice in the decision-making process, so they are member-owned and member-controlled. Using a democratic business model, Co-ops has turned out to be successful in different industries including but not limited to agriculture, transportation, higher education, insurance and banking. Since the 19th century, co-ops have created wealth for communities, lifted people out of poverty and empowered marginalised groups in more than one hundred countries including but not limited to the United States, China, Spain, India, Italy, and Venezuela.
Why Platform Cooperative?
Platform cooperativism is a growing international movement that builds a fairer future of work. It is about social justice and the bottom line. Rooted in democratic ownership, co-op members, technologists, unionists, and freelancers create a concrete near-future alternative to the extractive sharing economy. Making good on the early promise of the Web to decentralise the power of apps, protocols, and websites, platform co-ops allow households with low and volatile income to benefit from the shift of labour markets to the Internet. Steering clear of the belief in one-click fixes of social problems, the model is poised to vitalise people-centred innovation by joining the rich heritage and values of co-ops with emerging Internet technologies. Platform Cooperativism Consortium
The world has turned into a global village in the last 100 years. The advent of terrestrial vehicles such as cars and fast trains and later plane and other commercial aviation transports facilitated international travels. Modern transportation led to the import and export of products and gave people the possibility of accessing products regardless of the place where they were produced. The world turned into a big machine designed to work efficiently. A few decades later in the twenties century, the internet made its way to people’s homes and disrupted their daily lives as well as trade and business. People found the opportunity to make new connections and do business with those who were previously called “strangers”.
In old days, people relied on their local community to meet their needs; they went to local markets to buy and sell agricultural products. They relied on friends and acquaintances to provide and receive services. If a farmer needed a helping hand to harvest the produce, he/she would ask for help in the circle of friends and neighbours. These days, access to a bigger community has become possible thanks to the internet. You can connect with people on the platforms to raise a need and ask people to do it for you. This transformation created new connections and transactions that were not possible before. Despite all the new possibilities in this brave new world, the modern global economy has come with some negative consequences. People are alienated more and more in the new world. The mentioned farmer can ask people in neighbouring towns to help him/her with harvesting the produce. This flexibility has weakened the social ties that existed in those old days. People are isolated in their personal and professional lives and do not receive the love and support that their parents or grandparents experienced in their lifetime. Why Loconomics? Loconomics puts technology and the local communities hand in hand and empowers the local communities using the Co-op business model. We believe that technology works for us and does not dictate how we should work. We use collective wisdom to design a fair system that works for everyone, not just for people at the top of the management pyramid. All in all, we are a service platform run by the community for the community.