This paper focalizes on the economic model of digital platforms as a new method of coordinating the production of value. We suggest that the advent of “platform capitalism” is symptomatic of a crisis of the model of the firm understood as a space separated from society and based on private ownership. This crisis appears, first, as an inadequacy of the instruments of theoretical economics to take the digital platform model into account, and subsequently as a crisis concerning the ownership of the means of production: ownership seems to be split into intellectual ownership (especially algorithms) and physical ownership of the means of production (which are the prerogative of the platform’s users/producers/consumers). This new proprietary model allows us to revisit the question of the ownership of the means of production and the governance of the firm itself. In this sense, we suggest that in the claims of platform cooperativism, the platform-firm no longer appears as a group of assets that are already owned, but as an institution in which ownership corresponds to governance. In other words, ownership is understood as an institutional arrangement intended to govern the resource itself, which allows us to fully rethink the ownership of the firm according to the model of “the philosophy of the commons.”
Platform Cooperativism: Some Notes on the Becoming “Common” of the Firm
Massimiliano Nicoli obtained his PhD in philosophy at the University of Trieste, and he was a postdoctoral fellow at Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris and “F. Braudel” fellow at University of Paris Nanterre, where he is currently “chercheur associé.” His work is mainly focused on the philosophy of economy and criticism of neoliberal forms of subjectification. He is the author of Le risorse umane (2015).
Luca Paltrinieri is currently an assistant professor in Political Philosophy at University of Rennes 1 and program director at Collège International de Philosophie in Paris (research program: “The Political Genealogy of the Firm”). He published L’expérience du concept. Michel Foucault entre épistémologie et histoire (2012) and co-edited with C. Laval and F. Taylan, Marx and Foucault: Lectures, Usages and Confrontation (2015).
Massimiliano Nicoli, Luca Paltrinieri; Platform Cooperativism: Some Notes on the Becoming “Common” of the Firm. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2019; 118 (4): 801–819. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-7825624
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