Michel Bauwens, Founder of the P2P Foundation, has recorded four short videos describing the FLOK Society’s pioneering research project in Ecuador. FLOK stands for “Free, Libre, Open Knowledge,” and the FLOK Society is a government-sponsored project to imagine how Ecuador might make a strategic transition to a workable post-capitalist knowledge economy. As Research Director of the project, Michel and his team are exploring the practical challenges of making commons-based peer production a widespread, feasible reality as a matter of national policy and law.
The four videos – each four to six minutes in length – are a model of succinct clarity. Here is a short summary of each one, which I hope will entice you to watch all of them (links are in the titles below):
Bauwens explains the significant of the FLOK Society project as “the first time in the history of mankind that a nation-state has asked for a transition proposal to a P2P economy.” He asks us to “imagine that for every human activity, there is a commons of knowledge that every citizen, business and public official can use.” This regime of open, shareable knowledge would move away from the idea of privatized knowledge accessible only to those with the money to pay for copyrighted and patented knowledge. The system could be adapted for education, science, medical research and civic life, among other areas.
The FLOK Society project is actively looking for what it calls the “feeding mechanisms” to enable and empower commons-based peer production. For open education, for example, open textbooks and open educational resources would help people enter into this alternative regime. However, there are both material and immaterial conditions that must be addressed as well.
One material condition is proprietary hardware, for example. If open systems could replace the existing lock-down of proprietary systems, all users could spend one-eighth of what they are currently paying, on average. Moreover, eight times more students could participate in creating and sharing, said Bauwens, which itself would yield enormous gains. As for "immaterial conditions" that need to change, innovations like “open certification” are needed to recognize the skills of those who learn outside of traditional institutions, as in hacker communities.