Where, when, and how work is done is changing. Advances in artificial intelligence, automation, and data processing continue to shift responsibilities from workers to digital systems. These disruptions are often unpredictable and still unfolding.
To navigate these challenges, we need research that imagines, builds, and explores new visions of a fairer future of work. One starting point is the platform co-op model, which carries the cooperative principles into the digital economy. Platform cooperativism addresses the root causes of systemic inequality and presents a near-term solution for the problems plaguing our economy and democracy.
The cooperative digital economy is an under-researched area in the fields of anthropology, political science, sociology, history, and economics. This emerging field is closely linked with labor studies and cooperative studies. In business schools, this field of study is situated in the areas of finance, entrepreneurship, and organizational studies. In law schools, the pertinent areas are governance and corporate structure.
Acknowledging these research gaps, it is the purpose of the Institute to provide prospective and existing platform co-ops with applied and theoretical knowledge, education, and policy analysis. We are committed to realizing new visions for a fairer future of work grounded in relevant research, driven by imaginative proposals. Initial research questions focus on distributed governance, scaling, marketing, and start-up funding. The ICDE makes this knowledge accessible to diverse audiences in innovative formats.
Through this research, the Institute builds a body of knowledge that advances platform ownership and democratic governance for workers and Internet users alike.