Direct action against these companies has not been the only response. Co-operatives and new platforms that offer workers equity or customers a “purpose” are growing in number.
One example is Canadian firm Stocksy, which brings together more than 900 photographers and redistributes 90% of profits to the artists. Loconomics adopts a similar approach. It is a co-operative owned by service professionals from massage therapists to dog walkers that operates with a strict principle of one member one vote.
These innovative co-operative startups are up against corporations with deep pockets. But they can build on the much broader worker co-operative movement, which emerged in the mid to late 19th century as a response to increasing pressure from changing market structures. At that time, bigger companies undercut quality and used unfair labour practices, particularly low pay. They also restricted attempts by workers to organise better conditions – a situation that has obvious parallels in the platform-enabled economy.