CommonBound Track: "The Internet's New Economies"

The Internet economy is, increasingly, determining the shape of the economy in general.

Whether it’s the rise of the on-demand economy (through companies like Uber and TaskRabbit), the spread of sophisticated logistics software, the new “just-in-time” scheduling software being adopted across industries, or the use of technology to surveil shop floors, we’re all affected by technology at work in new ways. This track seeks to show how those of us who want to build a New Economy can react to those tools, and adapt them for our own projects as well.

This track will explore points of intersection among Internet culture, cooperative economies, and labor organizing. Through the sharing of best practices and reflection on common challenges, we will forge some of the critical connections necessary to build a more democratic and just economy, online and off. Expect to learn about emerging tools for cooperative enterprise and online organizing, as well as movements to reverse the inequality-generating tendencies of the Internet economy. This is a chance to help build the real sharing economy.

This track seeks participants interested and engaged in shaping the future of online economies. We begin from the recognition that, in often uncertain ways, the Internet is reshaping how we work, where we live, and the communities we depend on. This transition has opened up new, liberatory opportunities for organizing economic alternatives, but it has also taken the form of monopolistic, centralized corporations with little accountability to the people whose lives they most affect. In these sessions, we seek to:

  • Identify the challenges and opportunities that the emerging online economy poses
  • Explore potential alternatives that would foster more just, sustainable, and democratic online economies
  • Connect existing efforts into a stronger online new economy ecosystem
  • Include more diverse perspectives and communities than are normally invited into public debates about the tech industry

We hope to attract a wide range of participants, welcoming in particular those who are new to thinking about the online economy. Some of the most important lessons for online economies, for instance, may come from offline experience.

Topics may include, but need not be limited to:

  • Labor organizing and portable benefits in the on-demand, gig economy
  • Free, libre, and open technology and the communities surrounding it
  • Public policy proposals for online economies
  • Fairer business models, such as “platform cooperativism”
  • Lived experience with communities on the front lines of online economic life
  • Tools to support new economies

Proposals should assume a non-technical audience. Tell us what you have to share, what you’ve accomplished so far, and what you hope to gain. We encourage proposals that seek opportunities for overlap and collaboration with other tracks at CommonBound. Please also be clear about how your session will contribute to the goal of a diverse discussion.

For more information, please write to cb [at]

Coordinated By:

  • Kati Sipp, National Guestworker Alliance / Hack The Union
  • Nathan Schneider, Internet of Ownership / University of Colorado
  • Leah Feder, Sarapis


Propose a Session