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Critical thoughts about the philosophy of the OSE society
  • Thoughts about the philosophy of the OSE society 

    OSE goals:
    (as gathered from the OSE videos, web and wiki page)
    • - live directly from the basic local resources: soil, plants, sun light, air and water using modern technology which still can be mastered by a village of ~200 people.
    • - new self supporting society without artificial scarcities, and hence without crime and war
    • - only 2-3 hours daily work necessary to support yourself while keeping all modern comforts

    Live directly from the basic local resources: soil, plants, sun light, air and water?

    This leads back to the oldest and most important scarcity of all: land! As it is rightly recognized: land is the most basic wealth of all. It provides food, water, energy, all raw materials for buildings and tools. Of course not every piece of land provides all necessary raw materials for modern comforts like water, steel, copper and many others. And the ownership of land is and has always been very unevenly distributed among society.

    In the medieval ages where people lived more in harmony with nature (not due to insight but lack of other choices) the feudal system of nobility owned most of the land and most of the commons were slaves or farmers working the landlord's land owing taxes mostly in natural goods and free hours of labor. Today the financial nobility has taken over the control pursuing a very similar model. Most of us work directly or indirectly for the profit of large corporations belonging finally to financial institutions behind which are very few families who keep the real control. (Or did you think the elected politicians are really in control?)

    Today the majority of society lives in mega-cities. They often don't own any land or the apartment they live in. They depend for everything necessary to live on other people and have to pay for it. In order to be able to pay they work in highly specialized jobs each contributing a tiny bit to modern comfortable life. Often they work in large organizations producing highly sophisticated products in masses achieving relatively low unit prices by economy of scale (mass production with high time efficiency, not necessarily energy or resource efficiency). The large cooperating number of people can master enormous undertakings like panama canal, copper mines, steel plants, railway system, highway system, power plants, power grid, water supply grid and semi-conductor industry and many more. This is the essence of modern society: high complexity, high specialization, high interdependency, large number of members, large organizations, large challenges, main wealth goes to very few.

    Now this modern society is certainly not without many - some of them grave - flaws. On the other hand there has also never before been a society with a better standard of living and welfare for a large part of the society. However history has often shown that complex societies have become instable, declined and collapsed. There are certain signs like financial instability, overuse of natural resources, pollution, social injustice like the decline of the middle class etc. that our modern society's hardest problem has become the very society itself. In history the dissolution or collapse of societies has always been an unwanted, painful process transitioning to a lower standard of living with lower efficiency supporting fewer society members. In case of collapse this resulted in moving away or death by starvation or by diseases and by war of important parts of society . In case of slow decline it meant shrinkage of society by lower reproduction rate. (By the way the latter has started to happen in western civilization since decades already.)

    What is the importance of OSE in this context?

    If the claim that OSE can provide the same standard of living with only 2-3 hours of daily work turned out to be true then it would be an attractive alternative to the complex modern society. Many who are already today on the loosing side in this modern complex society will already today want to change to the OSE society. They might become the pioneers. Provided they have enough funds to buy sufficient farm land and provided there is enough of it for sale.
    Later those, who are not suffering so much in the current modern society but long for a more sustainable life with more time for family and personal interests, will be interested to change. They will become the early adopters. Since they have to loose a relatively comfortable situation they want to make sure the new situation is indeed fulfilling its promises before they change their lives. If the numbers increase agriculture land for sale will become scarce, expensive and unaffordable. And there is no point in buying expensive farm land via a bank loan since you would only replace one dependency by another.
    Then there will be a good part of modern complex society who never will want to become OSE farmers for various reasons. They will only adopt it if forced to by deteriorating living conditions. Part of them will become late adopters. Another part will permanently resist.
    This might restrict the size of the OSE society to a permanent minority without gaining strong political influence. The incumbents of todays wealth like the industrialists and owners of financial institutions will continue to dominate the ownership of most of the wealth (including owning much farm land directly or indirectly by loans) and they will use their strong political influence to limit the growth of the OSE society. Each person working only for himself stops working for the profit of the large corporations and banks. So it has to be their interest to limit OSE's growth. And they will try hard. Or do you think they will give up their privileged position in society without a fight?

    How can OSE grow to a size that will ensure permanent survival?

    This is only possible if enough agricultural land is for sale to OSE farmers and enough OSE adopters are willing and able to buy it. This could be accelerated - or maybe  it is the only way - if OSE farmers produce surplus agricultural products and sell it to the open market substantially below market price. This will force large scale farms to either sell their land or adopt the OSE model. Since those farms are most likely deeply in debt to banks, the land will go to the bank and they will at first not be ready to sell it to OSE farmers in order to protect their business model. But sooner or later the banks will loose money on that land because they cannot compete with OSE agri-product prices and farm land prices might drop. This kind of economic confrontation can only be won if the OSE farmers are willing for many years to work more than 2-3 hours daily to produce the necessary surplus. But this will reduce the attractiveness of OSE for many potential adopters. So it is a dilemma or at least a balancing act. A lot will depend on the political awareness and will power of the OSE farmers. Luckily the early adopters are likely to have a high political awareness since they were most likely the underpriviledged in the complex society like workers who lost their jobs and homes because their jobs were moved to low wage countries in order to further increase the profits of the corporations owners. (The people involved so far are highly skilled, well trained, enthusiastic "pre-pioneers" who engage themselves for their conviction to make a difference in demonstrating a new possibility. Let's call them pathfinders.)

    How much society is necessary and how complex does it have to be?

    OSE will certainly reduce the dependency on many scarcities in number and in importance for those adopting the OSE life style. However one must be aware that there remain many dependencies on big industry products. They can be further reduced at the cost of more daily hours of self-support work. But probably some dependencies cannot be eliminated at least not if modern comforts shall be maintained.

    modern comforts:
    energy efficient lighting (LED, fluorescent), double glass windows, air conditioning, central heating, closed loop temp. control, modern fabric clothing, modern shoes, TV, stereo, PC, laptop, cellular, Internet, wlan, game console, ceramic or induction stove, oven, microwave, fridge, deep freezer, dish washer, washing machine, dryer, vacuum cleaner, clean hot and cold running water, stainless steel and porcelain kitchen ware and cutlery, water closet, shower, comfortable long distance travel to visit people.

    In order to keep these comforts a multitude of technologies are necessary:

    Ore processing to raw metal, steel profiles, steel sheet, high performance steels, hard, tough, abrasion resistant, heat resistant for combustion engines, roller bearings, cutting blades for harvesters, copper wire, different aluminum alloys (e.g. motor pistons), alloy metals like manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, chrome, zinc etc. metallurgic analysis methods to control alloy quality. Metal cutting tools like drill bits, routers, grinding discs, etc

    Paints for surface protection, adhesives, glues, high performance plastics e.g. for hydraulic piston seals, oils, lubricants, rubber tires, copper wire insulation. fertilizer, crop protection against all kinds of pests, sheet glass, pharmacy products, medicine, cosmetics, sun screen.

    Semiconductor technology:
    CPU's, highly integrated circuits (like in the arduino microprocessor in CEB press v4 ?)
    sensors (like hall sensors in CEB press v4), computers, cellulars

    Agriculture (last but not least):
    plant and animal breeding, selection, production, responsible genetic technology?, alternative fertilizers and pesticides, soil analysis, irrigation methods, harvest storage, conservation and processing methods, energy production by wood, biomass, oilseeds for bio-diesel, carbohydrate seeds for alcohol, wood growing, harvesting, processing, species selection, pest protection, harvesting method, transport, cutting to beams, boards, veneer, chips, pellets, drying, gluing to compound beams, to plywood, to chip boards

    It is hard to believe that a 200 people village is able to keep all modern comforts by creating all of it themselves out of their local soil. Besides their soil might not contain everything they need like e.g copper or manganese.
    Why does not each village concentrate on one or two advanced technologies for which they have know-how and or resources and trade with other villages for their different high tech products? Such a level of dependency still seems acceptable without compromising the OSE philosophy.
    On top of that there is even another need to cooperate with villages far away: Insurance against loss of harvest and starvation due to drought, flood, storms, pests. The neighboring village might also be affected and cannot help. Therefore only villages farther away might not be affected by the same problems. Each village or farm needs contracts with many distant villages to maintain some stock of resources to give away in times of distress. That way the villages and farms can be insured without dependency on large insurance corporations.
    And the villages need protection from outside aggression. This is taken care of by the national government but of course they need to raise tax money to finance that. In order to gain money to pay the taxes the OSE farmer needs to sell surplus production (and work more than 2-3 hours per day). Moreover to sell the surplus production it needs to be transported. So a grid of streets, waterways and railways needs to be maintained. One needs to send mail and parcels and communicate via phone, cellular and Internet. So also such infrastructure is needed outside the OSE farm or village and it is not for free.
    The point is that a completely independent farm or village is not realistic but it is also not necessary. If the OSE society grows sufficiently big (in terms of numbers and land) to protect its longterm interests by gaining sufficient political influence there is enough space left to coexist with the complex modern society and benefit from each others strengths. If not, OSE remains an irrelevant niche society as many others. Let's hope otherwise.
  • 10 Comments sorted by
  • @roli, it is a very long and complex topic you have posted which urges me to present another view. Whilst your arguments are cogent and carry weight, they are based on silent assumptions which I believe are incorrect.

    The first is that people are by nature selfish, aggressive and ignorant. My understanding is that people become selfish, aggressive and ignorant through the damage that is inflicted upon them in their early life, cutting them off from their core connection, leaving them stranded and afraid in a world they cannot understand. It is this damage that gives rise to the conflicts of interest that in turn give rise to the need for trading, rather than gifting - the principle of the 'Give-Away' that the thanksgiving turkey represents. I do not believe that every technological wonder would be created in this way - only those products that give satisfaction to the producer in the process of production would be produced in surplus to give away, but there are those who enjoy engineering as much as an artist or musician or woodcarver enjoys their craft. I would imagine that a large proportion of the people in this forum are in this category.

    The second assumption is that quality of life arises from high technology. Whilst our society does its best to raise up our technological achievements, to convince us that technology is the only way that our desire for a happy, loving and comfortable life can be realised, just a little investigation will show that only a few, mostly very simple technologies deliver any of our needs without actually increasing our workload to achieve it - if the effort involved in production is taken into account, and the interest on the loan to pay for it. The best technologies will be ones which last a very long time, giving a century of service (or more) - like an original singer sewing machine. On the other hand there exists a far more advanced technology than any we have devised, with intelligent quantum data processing distributed throughout its self-repairing, totally recyclable, self powering and self constructing nano-machine based structures, otherwise known as "Life". As a programmer and engineer I understand the value of building on the work of others - the very basis of the open-source method - so why do we not start from the most advanced that there is already, and work up from there?

    And finally, your oldest and most important scarcity is an illusion - land is not scarce, and its distribution has only been uneven in relatively recent times - say the last 3000 years +- 2000 depending on where you are looking at. It is also untrue that there are too many people for the amount of land that there is. The amount of land required to supply the needs of a family is only about one to two hectares and in fact more than that becomes unmanageable! If even just 50% of the land is useable that means that there is room for 5 billion families (average number 4 persons in a stable population). With proper management the quality and productivity of the land should increase over time, whilst the work required to maintain it should go down as long-lived productive plantings and self seeding annuals take over from the labour-intensive annuals that have become the expected norm.

    a few more discrete points.
    1: electronic communications are currently organised in a hierarchical way. That is not a technological constraint, but a result of the way things are managed by finance. Wireless mesh networking in a distributed rural population is a real possibility with already existing technology, and that could replace the phone network also (with VOIP). Although there are also very good reasons for not doing this as well, mainly the effect that microwaves have on people within that field...

    2: Water Closet? Surely were over mixing our faeces into the water table?

    3: A huge part of our electronic world becomes useless without actually breaking. There is a BBC Master computer in my fathers house that still does everything it did 25 years ago, but nothing that it can do is still very useful - it has about the same capability as a small micro-controller. The reason it is useless is that it has been superseded by more exciting things. If the new products stopped rolling of the production line we would not be without technology to play with for a very long time, and programmers would have to start working on making their code smaller and more efficient rather than relying on new hardware to bail them out. Recycling will also take us a long way, after all - it is natures way.

    4: who would choose plywood or chipboard over real wood?

    5: There are alternatives to roads which do not involve covering valuable land with asphalt.

    6: Before I had my land I enjoyed travelling around to see various people. If there were a community of land-dwelling people all within 1km I would probably never again wish to go further, except to go a find my true love if she were not already within that circle :-)

    As far as materials and engineering go, it is only a matter of time and understanding for every challenge you have set to be met, most if not all without resorting to mineral mining - after all, rust is just iron in another form and it can be re-smelted. plastics, too, can mostly be re-formed - the only issues are really separation of materials. organic based plastics (such as the organic protein/starch based open-cell foam commonly known as bread or the elastomer known as jello) are also a distinct possibility in a rural kitchen. ;-)

    OSE has to become better than the Megacity alternative, but as much of that is about Megacity inhabitants becoming aware that life in an environment made mostly of living things has advantages not achievable in a concrete box. Neo-Rural life needs to become the 'Premium Product', the more desirable situation to raise ones children healthy, happy and intelligent - then as industrial farming collapses under the weight of irresponsible genetic hacking and bank debt it will not only be the City drop-outs but also the wealthier ones who will be there to buy the bankrupt farmers lands and create the space for communities to develop. If people were to just stop and look at where the wealthiest and most powerful people have always chosen to live (mostly in large rural estates that are passed down the family) it may begin to get obvious, not on an intellectual level but on a feeling level - and it is our feelings that really drive our life decisions.
  • thanks Jeremy, I appreciate your comments.

    Your views are more idealsitic and romantic than mine. I feel sympathetic for those views. But they do not make my views wrong. As they say: hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
    I grew up in the country side often helping out on a small farm. Probably that is why i do not feel romantic about the country life because i understand the pragmatism of it. Believe me, the farmers don't keep piggies because of their pure love to those animals but because of the economy of it. They sell the piggies to the slaughter house in order to buy a new TV set and game console from the money. Is that already selfish? Farming is a means to an end and not a romantic dream. Don't get me wrong: I also appreciate the underlying values of producing healthy goods out of the ground, knowing where things come from, protecting the environment not necessarily for its own sake but to be able to live from it also in the future. That is the main reason why OSE appeals to me. It tries to do the right thing not for romantic reasons but for economic reasons which in the end means egoistic reasons. Let me explain: I am an engineer. I love my profession not farming. However, I would be ready to do some farming (max. 50% of my time) if it gave me the independence to do what I really love in the remaining time. Therefore I welcome all reasonable technical assistance helping me to keep the farming time to a minimum and the free time to a maximum. I would have double satisfaction: i would be able to do what I love for at least 50% of my time and I would know that I would gain this independence in a sustainable, healthy way.

    I assume there are many people like me who do not really love farming but would do it part time if it bought them more freedom than they have in their present full time jobs. In any case many more than the idealistic, romantic, back-to-nature dreamers who, when they really get to live their dream, soon are frustrated because they find out that farming is hard work and not as ideal as their purple dreams. OSE serves more the first, probably much more numerous group.
    I do believe in the good in most people. But I am no fool and know that the bad also lives in most people. I don't want to wait until enough people have become predominantly good until OSE can be realized in a large scale because I would have to wait forever. But OSE has found a social model that would work also with the less than idealistic society of today who is still looking for "what's in it for me?". OSE serves both the selfish wishes AND the ecological necessities. That will attract many more people. Is it bad if lots of people do the right thing when they do it for the "wrong" reasons? No!

    quality of life arises from high technology?
    here I agree with you most of the way. technology is good if it is sustainable and serves a sustainable purpose. If it increases my quality of life in a sustainable way even better then I certainly will not complain. To have a reasonably good quality of life is not necessarily evil or non-sustainable.:-) That is the aim of OSE to have both. Ecology and a good life quality.

    land scarcity?
    I have no figures and facts to this point. I only know that in the last 2000-3000 years people have become frighteningly numerous to a point where we have to check exactly whether the land will feed all sufficiently. And I also know that the land ownership is very unevenly distributed. Those who own more land than they need have power over those who have less land than they need. This is a social issue even or specially if there would be enough for all if it were evenly distributed. And this is called artificial scarcity. The distribution of land often caused revolutions, wars, land reforms, even genocide (yes also in the USA only some 150 years ago). If a large number of people decided to become OSE farmers then the availability of land would become a very crucial issue. Economic or political solutions have to be found for this in order to avoid violence.

    1. electronic communication
    Even with wireless mesh networking you need microprocessors. And they do not grow on farms. They will not likely be made in 200-people villages. They will need large industries. Hence one more remaining outside dependency. It has to be accepted as a reality.

    2. Water closet, of course!
    It is individual where each of us draws the line about what he needs to live an acceptable life and what not. You (and I) would not want to miss a water closet. But some include also air conditioning or a cellular in this category. Who are we to decide for them what is acceptable and what isn't? We have to leave it to them. OSE tries to offer most of what you could wish for. If you need less, then that is good for you. But don't try to deny it to others or have OSE not trying to find a way to provide it.

    3. I am not sure what point you're trying to make here.

    4. who would choose plywood or chipboard over real wood?
    Those who would like not to waste scrap wood. Sawing rectangular solid boards and beams from a round and conic tree trunk leaves lots of scrap wood (40-50%). This could be used in chip boards. Or by cutting the trunk into veneer for plywood you would reduce the amount of scrap wood dramatically. I don't expect you to make your living room furniture out of chip board...;-)

    5: There are alternatives to roads which do not involve covering valuable land with asphalt.
    Please, enlighten us. What are those alternatives?

    6.travelling around to see various people
    You are free to live like an eremite. But do not assume that others want to miss their social life.

    OSE has to become better than the Megacity alternative?
    I agree. And its promise of only 2-3 hours daily work for your support is already a much better alternative. Therefore it is worth the while to help realize it. Don't expect that everybody wants to become a FULL time eco-farmer.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2013
    I don't really believe there is a well defined OSE philosophy.
    Marcin's vision is to re-create the civilization from scratch: first, create the most basic tools, and then create the rest of the machines with those tools. Then, make housing and agriculture with those machines, and then develop industry creating tools for agriculture with the open source machines.
    The rest of the people in the OSE have their own views: some think that everyone should have their own workshop, some others are fans of Jaque Fresco with his Venus Project and they want to create a resource-based economy, some others love to see progress made on developing open source machines, etc.

    If OSE and it's future "clones" (replication, economy of scale) will grow big enough, they can make all the products you mentioned above: high performance steels, hard, tough, abrasion resistant, hydraulic piston seals, oils, lubricants, rubber tires, copper wire insulation etc. The purpose is to create those machines (GVCS) for the world to use, not just for a small village community at FeF.

    I think you are unrealistic when you talk about farmers being united in a OSE community, struggling against banks and doing their best to prove a new lifestyle is possible. Once the OSE machines will be developed, available to buy and to repair for cheap, it will make people's life in general easier (not only farmers), and that's all. Open Source machines will probably make life easier for the people in Africa, but it won't eradicate corruption and poverty for sure.

    The big problem of OSE is the approach. It's not efficient at all. It should have startet with creating some popular machines (house appliances) and that would bring a lot of reputation and cash.

    But Marcin wants to re-create civilization from scratch. So we have to wait for OSE to create machines that extract ore, machines that extract the metals from the ore, machines that make wires, metal sheets and bars, machines that cut metal, then machines that make tools, screws, etc. and in the end with those materials and tools we can create the appliances we really need. This will take too long, unfortunately - decades, I guess.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    November 2013
    hi gonzo, your idea about starting with household appliances could indeed be a good way of financing such projects. This might be an interesting approach for OSE replications. The same might be true for MIG-welders or plasma cutters (without X-Y-table), wood chippers and pelletizers by the way. Who says that replication projects should only copy exactly what OSE head quarter has done before. The replicas could start in a different way and develop GVCS machines in a different sequence and also machines outside and beyond GVCS50. The replicas probably wont get as much publicity and therefore cannot expect to rely on crowd funding. Therefore sales of low-price, long-life household appliances and other devices might be a good alternative.

    Concerning Marcin's decision to begin with construction machines (CEB press, tractor, power cube, dimensional saw mill) and agricultural machines (tractor, tiller) makes sense from the investment point of view. Right after the land purchase the next biggest investments of a small farmer are buildings and agricultural machines. These are the biggest obstacles for somebody without big money or big loan to become a small farmer. And Marcin is on his way to lower that obstacle by a factor of ten. You can buy household appliances cheap in industrialized countries. They only last 3-5 years, though. However, purchasing them is not an insurmountable obstacle to start a small farm.

    And moreover, I don't think anybody would stop you if you started developing household appliances in the OSE wiki (or anywhere else). If you start it, others might follow you... :-)

    Marcin had the courage to dedicate several years of his life to this cause and did not give up when the going got tough. With his high end training with PHD he could have taken a well paid job in a government institution and lead a comfortable life. But he chose to struggle and learn and advance for the OSE cause. Maybe he is not on the most direct and efficient path. But who else does better than him in this cause? We commenters are only talking; maybe sometimes thinking before that :-). But he is doing (and only sometimes failing)! He has my respect. But then again, constructive criticism is always helpful, too. :-)
  • Good Evening all.

    If we were all going to another planet how would we start?  Would we need the shelter/house first or last?

    Is the shelter easier with the tools or without the tools?

    If one were homeless, and "homesteaded" an acre of land where would he start?

    What are the must haves of all men/women?  

    Waste? How do you deal with it, (animal, person, trash.)

    Communication, What's wrong with Ham Radio?

    Power generation?  How do I run the tools in no grid style society like Africa.

    As for the doing something that everyone wants, that makes money we have's called a DREAM for the future.  That's all anyone sells anyone else in business.  A dream

    If you support our dream by purchasing a said product/service we will provide said resource to get you you're dream!

    Scratch is a relative term.  You're scratch may be different than MY Scratch.

    What we are truly teaching isn't a matter of machines, but of thinking!

    People have to be able to create what is most needed.  

    Unless we have a universal plant to provide food, building material, clothing material, fuel that can grow anywhere, and is legal to grow, and grows in every climate, you will have different agricultural needs.

    We as a species must become supertramps...ecological entities that can quickly and easily adapt to new and various surroundings. 

    Climate is changing, rapid swings in temperature bring about various questions in regards to agriculture and what will grow.

    I'm building a house from sourced materials TOOLS is my biggest problem!  With the tractor I could build a better house, but first concern for mama is a roof over her head and a kitchen to cook in.  Without shelter first, the rest is not my high concern when it is raining, cold, and wind is blowing 50 knots!

    Just my perspective for living the dream.  Trying to create a fully self sufficient life, generate my own food, shelter, power, water, etc.

    Finding pneumatics in a salvage situation isn't realistic, so hydraulics seems tough to do without industrious civilization to support it, or a way of salvaging available materials.  Like I've got an abandoned diesel dump truck, could it be converted somehow to a tractor and power cube?

    If you can't run to the hardware store for a part, or have enough electricity to power a welder, what do you do?

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2013
    OSE never claimed to be useful for starting to build a village out of nothing. It is about building low price housing and tooling to make the switch to an ecological lifestyle affordable to more people in the US or comparable countries in moderate climate zones. It is about reducing the dependency on artificial scarcities like commercial machines designed for obsolescence, loan financing, etc. Once such a village is operational, the goal is to make it more sustainable and even less dependent as present day villages. But OSE never claimed to make it completely independent on any outside civilization. I think that would not be realistic.

    I believe it is not a 3rd world aid project trying to build everything from nothing. Moreover, in a different climate zone like a desert or tropics or permafrost the GVCS50 would have to be different.
  • [quote roleic]But OSE never claimed to make it completely independent on any outside civilization[/quote]

    Word. As I see it the idea is to catalyze the emergence of an economy that exists in parallel with the current one(s). The open source economy will at first be completely dependent upon the closed source economy. Then, as the machines in the GVCS (+ any other open source machines) are able to produce the feedstock for themselves, the reliance upon the existing economy will decrease, slowly, but not be eradicated.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    January 2014
    I agree with your comment. The question is where will the line be between independence and dependence as a function of time? I don't think there will be a stable status. I believe this line will move for a very long time if not forever provided the OSE movement survives its infancy. The OSE economy will undergo a development with different phases - dynamic ones and slower ones, maybe also set backs - like when multiple OSE villages start to cooperate, e.g. each one specializes on one high technology product and starts to trade it for different ones. There will for sure also be different factions among the OSE villages like more fundamentalist ones and more liberal ones choosing their lines at different extents.

    The large scale industry will also progress in the meantime and enable further possibilities in the OSE economy which has also helped to make it possible in the first place by the availability of cheap and efficient CPUs (Arduino, ARM in RaspberryPi) without which hardly anything of the GVCS50 would work, Power-Semiconductors making welding devices cheap and small, rare earth magnets making stepper motors strong and efficient etc. More of these "spin-offs" can be expected. Moreover, it can be expected that large scale industry discovers the OSE movement as a new market which they will serve and/or exploit with dedicated products and technologies.
  • "...large scale industry discovers the OSE movement as a new market which
    they will serve and/or exploit with dedicated products and technologies"

    Yes, I agree. We already see this in some markets.

    "independence and dependence as a function of time"

    Is this coming from the context of peak moment ideology? By this I mean the intersection of peak oil, population, consumption, etc. I agree that it will most likely take a very long time for ideas in Marcin's "Distillations" series to manifest. I read some posts on the propagelle project blog that reminded me that it is a good idea to think less about the end goal of this project but the process by which we attain that goal. So the independence of open markets as a function of time is an emergent curve which will rise/fall depending on the processes of the individuals creating those markets.


  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    February 2014
    >> "...large scale industry discovers the OSE movement as a new market which
    >> they will serve and/or exploit with dedicated products and technologies"

    > "Yes, I agree. We already see this in some markets."

    Could you name us some examples of what you have found?

    > "Is this coming from the context of peak moment ideology?"

    I distrust any ideology. I try to remain free of any kind of ideology because if you adopt any ideology you stop thinking and start repeating wisdom of others or wisdom you found yourself earlier which might not be fully valid anymore. Everybody should think on his own, find his own conclusions and check them against present reality and only then compare them to what others have found.

    Predicting the future is difficult because most of it is uncertain. :-) But there are two approaches to the future which give us some points of orientation:

    1) The global laws of preservation: mankind can only use global fossil energy resources until there is none left. Fossil fuel like coal and oil are limited. Peak oil theory or not: At one time in the future fossil oil will become so scarce and expensive that we will stop consuming it the same way as today. Whether that time will be in 30, in 60 or in 90 years I don't know. Coal will last much longer than oil. So it can be predicted with some certainty that in one or two generations mankind will be forced out of the fossil oil economy and probably go back to a fossil coal (and methane ice) economy until several generations later mankind will be forced back to a fully sustainable economy like 2 centuries ago but with much more modern technology..
    Similar truths exist for raw materials like copper, rare earth for magnets, and many more. Here either mankind finds substitute materials or substitute technologies and/or recycles these materials much more rigorously.

    2) The future is not predetermined. The future is - to some extent - what we make of it personally and globally. At least mankind theoretically has a rather strong influence on its own future if it would overcome mistrust, greed and aggression. It is impossible to predict whether mankind will voluntarily choose to go back to sustainable economy before being forced to. I suspect not. However, individuals and small communities (at least in democratic countries) have more freedom of choice over their own future than whole peoples or whole mankind. Therefore, movements like OSE give reason for hope. They could set an example that might make the rest of mankind think and possibly change...

    And then there are the unknown influences that cannot be predicted or influenced like natural catastrophies, epidemic deseases, nuclear wars but also new inventions, technologies like access to interplanetary resources and settling on moon, mars and space stations. This sounds unrealistic? Look at the Atlantic navigation in 16th century and at the history of North and South America and Australia.

    What is absolutely certain is that there will be a wind of change. Depending on your attitude you either build walls or you build a windmill... And if we want to serve the next generation well we better prepare them to build windmills to make the best out of change.

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