I’m starting something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, related to this blog. When I first had the idea for Hack the Union, part of my theory was that there wasn’t an obvious place in our movement for organizers that organized workers in different industries to exchange ideas and figure out common problems — and potentially, public campaigns that might address multiple industries, or cover a whole city or region. I’ve launched a Loomio site to being building a place to have that discussion—if you’re an organizer or policy wonk who’d like to be added, let me know via email what kind of workers you are organizing, and what email address you want to be invited with. For the backstory on Loomio, read this.
Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability
“..how can we imagine a successful capitalism, that produces products it can no longer sell, because an increasing number of contributors are no longer paid for their value creation?” Michael Bauwens, on how the current iteration of the sharing economy may need to be hacked, in order for all of us to survive and thrive.
Is there anything really “new” about the so-called New Economy? Kwabena Nkromo on how the economic structure of the sharing economy doesn’t seem that new to many communities of color.
Mitch Kapor, venture capitalist: “Our portfolio is brimming with companies that are solving problems in society because their founders had a personal problem to solve.” So to stop building apps that only serve elites, hire people who have experienced real societal problems.
Reputation, reputation, reputation
I quit Facebook this year, because the “we’re experimenting on users’ emotions” story just creeped me out way too much. But Facebook isn’t just experimenting on whether baby pictures make you happier. They also want to see if they can make users more likely to vote (or presumably, less). In a related story—Facebook is making it harder for campaigns or other political efforts to capture your “friends” list.
Really excellent long-read about the future of labor organizing, featuring the very good friend of this blog, David Rolf. Rolf recently announced the opening of applications for The Workers Lab, an accelerator which plans to award first-round funding to applicants who have a plan to build economic power for workers. Application for the first round can be found here.
I kind of am in love with Code for America. This new tool they’ve developed allows you (yes you organizer, or you policy wonk, not just developers) to find out where people who are working on civic tech projects need help from the community—whether online or in person.
Are you thinking about launching a crowdsourcing project? Here are some good dos and don’ts for both digital and offline use of volunteer labor.
In order to believe that I’ll have a robot in retirement, I’d have to first believe that I will be able to retire…
What’s Going on in the Workforce?
“What would suffice to remunerate people for the dispossession they experience?” Another great paper from Data Society on how we’re struggling to balance a need to innovate in the workplace, with people’s fears of being replaced or just plain spied on by the boss.
If you haven’t read the superb McClatchy year-long investigative report “Contract to Cheat,” you’re missing out. Here are their public policy recommendations, on how to prevent misclassification of workers.
Are you an Uber driver, or just interested in the concerns of Uber drivers? Check out Uberpeople, an independent web platform for drivers to share info with each other.
Finally, Jeremy Rifkin argues that the end of capitalism is upon us, and a new type of economic system will emerge from the ashes.