Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Open source, the gift economy, and the new world order

I just made a small donation to Canonical (good shepard for Ubuntu Linux) while I was installing some security updates. A good investment.

As a few very large corporations continue to control resources and major infrastructure, I expect to see a trend towards small agile enterprises covering rapidly changing technology and business niches. I expect to see a three-way synergy between mega-size corporations, small agile businesses, and a mobile highly educated work force: all three sides win big. The losers in this new world order are the poor and the poorly educated workers who can not adapt to changing situations.

I think that open source software, other key infrastructure supported by the users of the infrastructure, and a general gift economy will continue to reduce down to a minimum the cost of doing business. Again, the winners are both people who are well educated and prepared on a global scale to move quickly to take advantage of new situations, or people who prepare themselves for work in high-value local jobs like health care, critical government services (fire control, police, etc.), and support of local physical infrastructure.

I believe that both my country (USA) and most of the world are going through a historic transformation created mostly by a new higher level of transparency. Throughout history, the ultra rich and powerful have worked behind the scenes to amass more power and wealth by starting wars, etc. The same things still happen, but now society better understands what is really happening: corporate ownership of governments, who benefits financially from planned wars, strife, and the manipulation of the world's financial infrastructure.

I believe that the "information genie" is out of the bottle, and is not going back in.

Predicting the future is tricky, and I will not try. Still, it will be interesting to see how the general quality of world-scale governance improves or degrades in a future that blends meritocracy (those who get great educations and are major producers will compete with conventional multi-generational dynasties of controllers), greater transparency mostly due to the Internet, and near absolute corporate control and manipulation of governments and news media.

Ideally, in the new world order governments become "infrastructure" in the sense that governments compete to provide:
  • Highest quality of physical infrastructure services for the lowest tax base
  • Highest quality of resources for education (which needs to cover people throughout their entire lives)
  • Physical security for people living in and businesses in their jurisdictions, at the lowest cost
  • etc.
We all live in interesting times :-)

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