Readers of my blog may recall the announcement several months ago of Michel Bauwens’ appointment to head a strategic research project for the government of Ecuador. Under the auspices of the Free/Libre Open Knowledge (FLOK) Society Research Project, Bauwens and a small team have embarked upon an ambitious effort to imagine how to “remake the roots of Ecuador’s economy, setting off a transition into a society of free and open knowledge.”
The Project is now seeking the help of people around the world who are engaged in transformative social change inspired by open knowledge, co-operation, and the building of commons. Here is a lengthy excerpt from the FLOK Society’s letter:
Our aim is to finalize proposals to be presented at a conference in April 2014, which will bring together the President, government officials, civil society participants, and global experts on the commons. The project received its impulse from IAEN Rector Carlos Prieto, Project Leaders Xabier E. Barandiaran & Daniel Vázquez, and Research Director Michel Bauwens.
Here is the link to the FLOK Society project: http://www.floksociety.org
The project seeks the involvement and input of local civil society, but also includes an explicit appeal to the global co-operative and commons movements to assist us with advice and policy proposals. It is our belief that the Ecuadorian people will be inspired by the best of what is happening abroad, in all countries of the world. Hence our appeal to you, global co-operators and commoners.
If you are engaged in transformative social change that is inspired by open knowledge, co-operation, and the building of commons for the well being of all, we ask you to send us information and benchmark proposals on leading local or global initiatives in your area of expertise.
Imagine a society that is connected to open knowledge commons in every domain of human activity, based on free and open knowledge, code, and design that can be used by all citizens along with government and market players without the discrimination and disempowerment that follows from privatized knowledge.
Imagine an ethical and sustainable economy that is based on the creation of a co-operative commonwealth rooted in reciprocity, mutuality, peer-to-peer production, and the mobilization of an informed and engaged civil society.
Imagine the speeding up of social innovation and knowledge-sharing enabled by open knowledge commons in the fields of culture, technology, science, and every other field where local and global solutions can be shared and built upon.
Imagine that such open commons are linked to an ethical market and economy whereby individuals, community organisations, co-operatives, and commercial and social enterprises can freely co-produce such knowledge using enabling governance and property models that do not enclose the commons, but facilitate their growth.
Imagine an enabling and facilitating Partner State which encourages economic and social co-operation built on public/civil partnerships.
What would it take to achieve this?
Neither the Ecuadorian people alone, nor of course the FLOK Society research team, can offer full solutions. But together, in co-operation, we can envision and build proposals for a sustainable, open, and ethical society and economy which the Ecuadorian government could assist in coming into being, with concrete policies and support.
This is the first time that a nation-state and the President of a country has legitimized the desire of commoners and co-operators all over the world to create a more just and sustainable civilization, using commons-inspired principles.
In the spirit of sharing and co-operation, we ask for your solidarity and support!
Our research streams focus on the following key areas:
1. Human Capabilities and Open Learning, Paul Bouchard (paulbou32 /at/ gmail.com)
2. Changing the Productive Matrix, George Dafermos (georgedafermos /at/ gmail.com)
3. Social Infrastructure & Institutional Innovation, John Restakis (restakis /at/ gmail.com)
4. Open Technical Infrastructures, Jenny Torres (jennytorres163 /at/ gmail.com)
5. Physical Commons, Janice Figueiredo (janicefigueiredo2 /at/ yahoo.com)
The letter is signed by John Restakis, Research Associate, Co-operatives UK; Research Investigator, Legal and Institutional Frameworks, and Michel Bauwens, Research Director; founder of the P2P Foundation and partner of the Commons Strategies Group.
If you have any general input, please send it to to Michel Bauwens (p2pfoundation1 /at/ gmail.com) and Daniel Araya (daniel.araya /at/ singularityu.org). If you want to help the FLOK Society project more concretely, go to their website at http://en.wiki.floksociety.org/w/How_Can_You_Help_Us For subject-specific input, send your comments directly to the Stream Researchers above.
You can help spread the word about the Ecuador initiative via mailing lists and Twitter. Use the hashtag #OpenEcuador. The FLOK Society letter is available in nearly a dozen different languages here: http://floksociety.org/carta-abierta