I was invited to present at the Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit 2009 (FSCONS) – November 13-15, 2009, in Gothenburg, Sweden. This is an exciting chance to connect to the Swedish open source and Global Villages contacts. Please contact me if you would like to meet or if you have any other interesting contacts worth visiting with on the topics of open source ecology. Here is my abstract – Tranformative Economics via Open Source Product Development – with initial discussion on our CEB press product release.
All sociopolitical systems involve a productive economy as a backbone for their existence. General prosperity of the population depends on how well the fruits of that economy are distributed to its participants. The internet age, wherein information can be shared freely, implies that economically significant information should empower the productivity of unprecedented numbers of people. Strong implications emerge for transcending the present economic system based on scarcity. In particular, open source product development and global sharing of digital design towards digital fabrication are beginning to demonstrate the capacity to provide a human development path competitive with centralized, monopoly production. We are proposing that open source economic development is a viable path towards a transformative economy and advanced civilization. We are experimenting with this concept at our physical facility, Factor e Farm (FeF). FeF is an experiment and laboratory dedicated to developing and testing an open source set of infrastructure technologies – the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). The GVCS is an infrastructure set for creaing resilient communities, and is designed to be bootstrap-wise replicable as well as largely self-replicating. We aim to create a world-class center for open product development, and popularize the open development method as a viable competitor to corporate research and development. In this presentation, we will introduce the GVCS, and its applications relevant to creating a free society. We will show initial results of economically-significant product development with the high-performance Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) press as our first product release. We will discuss our goals of producing Open Source Business Models (OSBM) as a route towards distributive economics. We have demonstrated that drastic cost reduction is feasible via open source development – and if applied to human settlements – this indicated a drastic reduction in the cost of living and escape from debt. If applied to third world development, open source product development promises the closing of the industrial divide between the first and third world. This is based on the premise that natural resources necessary for survival are found in abundance just about anywhere – and that advanced technology fueled by open source technical information has the capacity to transform these resources into the substance of advanced civilization. To this end, we are pursing import substitution – from products, to components, and eventually to raw material feedstocks – on the smallest scale possible. Our goal is to prove that advanced civilization can be created locally – free of geopolitical compromise. We propose that such may be accomplished wherever soil, water, and sunlight are to be found. The enabling key to such a program is access to open source, economically-significant information leading to best practice and constant evolution.