Work in the New Economy

We want to live in a world where every person has satisfying options for making their livelihood, including through participation in cooperative enterprises, micro-enterprises, social enterprises, nonprofit enterprise, low-profit enterprises, and gift-economy enterprises. 

About this program

What do we do?

SELC’s Work in the New Economy Program seeks to navigate and overcome legal barriers that prevent people from participating in sharing economy enterprises. In particular, we examine the ways that employment laws create barriers to creative economic activities. SELC makes recommendations for ways to both comply with and change employment laws.

Why Rethink Work in the New Economy?

Particularly during times of economic recession and high unemployment, people experience a strong pull to put their time and skills to use, make a contribution, learn, and obtain sustenance in non-traditional ways. To that end, the new economy is characterized by the abundant growth of cooperative enterprises, micro-enterprises, social enterprises, nonprofit enterprises, low-profit enterprises, and gift-economy enterprises. The typical employer-employee relationship does not always fit well within such enterprises. While wage and hours laws are needed to protect workers, they also prevent people from forming their own cooperatives, from volunteering, or from receiving compensation in non-cash form. SELC’s Work in the New Economy Program seeks to develop the vision, knowledge, and ideas necessary to change the legal structures and to allow the growth of more sustainable enterprises and livelihoods.


The latest information about SELC's Work in the New Economy Program.

Projects and Advocacy

SELC is constantly advocating for changes in the law that make sharing resources easier. Find out more about past and current projects here.


See our Resources page for more information about employment laws in general, guides that we have created to help new economy enterprises, and links to other organizations working on this issue.

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: