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Ecuador’s Pathbreaking Plan for Commons-Based Peer Production: An Update
Tue, 05/06/2014 - 15:58
The nine-month effort in Ecuador to develop a new vision and policy architecture for commons-based peer production is coming into much sharper focus. To refresh your memory on this project, the Government of Ecuador last year commissioned the FLOK Society (FLOK = “Free, libre, open knowledge”) to come up with a thoughtful plan for enabling every sector of Ecuador to be organized into open knowledge commons, to the maximum degree possible. The project has now released a transition plan accompanied by more than a dozen policy frameworks for specific social and economic domains.
What makes the FLOK Society report so significant is its informed analysis of global trends in the production of knowledge and culture -- and its bold attempt to reformulate state policies to assure maximum social benefits flow from them. The “advanced” industrial economies continue to cling to archaic intellectual property regimes that ignore network dynamics and prey upon the value created by nonmarket communities. But Ecuador’s path-breaking project seeks to go beyond neoliberal economics and policy. Many of us are excited because the FLOK Society report is a comprehensive, sophisticated and integrated synthesis for moving to the next stage of commoning and peer production on open networks.
A guiding idea in this effort is Buen Vivir (Sumak Kawsay) or “good living,” an indigenous peoples’ concept that refers to a life that balances material, social and spiritual needs and satisfactions (i.e., getting beyond compulsive material growth and consumerism). FLOK Society researchers realize that Buen Vivir is impossible without Buen Conocer (Sumak Yachay), which is the idea of “good knowledge.” Ecuadorian President Correa himself has urged young people to achieve and fight for this open knowledge societ
I urge you to check out the main report document. It points to a bracingly different vision of how networked digital technologies and open knowledge could produce a better, more equitable society. The bigger, long-term challenge, of course, is getting governments to whole-heartedly embrace and ratify such visions.
The FLOK project is being watched very closely by commoners around the world because of its enormous implications. The report’s depth, rigor and progressive vision will likely make it a model for other nations in the future.
I confess that I found it a bit perplexing that so little attention has been provided to how Ecuador and other nations might make a smooth transition to a commons-based peer production society. This is a significant issue that requires a practical framework for making a commons transition. Multiple translations are needed as well. I am sure that Latin American and Spanish commoners will be eagerly anticipating a Spanish translation of this important work. I could imagine that Francophone nations will have a keen interest in the final report as well.
Fortunately, the final outcomes of the FLOK Society report will arrive soon. A Summit will be held in Quito at the end of this month and key documents will be released soon thereafter. Many of us will be enthusiastically watching!
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