I started the concept of Open Source Ecology back in 2003 when I was finishing grad school. Then we started a non-profit corporation in the state of Wisconsin, by name of Open Source Ecology, Inc (OSE Inc), later that year. Our initial site – see sourceopen.org – is found at archive.org.
Indeed, you can read the initial Mission, Message from the Founder, position statement on the global situation, and other seminal thoughts that we are putting into practice today.
Open Source Ecology itself is a concept. It is a global movement. Its aim is to integrate open source information with ecological stewardship of resources to transform the runaway economy into a regenerative and wholesome future.
Factor e Farm is an experiment of Open Source Ecology – a physical laboratory for implementing the ideas of the OSE concept. Openfarmtech.org is the development site for its ideas. This blog is a log of the experiments at Factor e.
I would like to bring up some controversial topics here regarding the very structure of the organizations in which we, and the transformative movement in general, is operating.The key is to transform. As such, it is time to transcend the commerce=war=monopoly capitalism=funny-money=imperialism=mass culture=loss-of-meaning that we find as the foundation of most human activity today. This is the infantile state of savages, and it’s time to transcend. The discussion has to be raised up a level – for people to become sufficiently wholesome to reject the above norm. Right now, most of society does not question the above. This is indicated by the lifestyle of lifetime debt service practiced by most people in the ‘advanced’ world today – as opposed to a lifestyle of pursuing more meaningful and integrated interests in their lives.
The transcendence comes from the peer economy concepts of open source, distributive economies.
The government’s link to the centralized commerce as described above is clear. For this reason, I believe that the legal structure of organizations should not be corporate – as we know the corporation today. Did you know that most nonprofit organizations and even churches are government corporations – by virtue of incorporating? This contributes to the commerce equation above, and most people do not even question this point. Incorporation is part of the subtle mechanism by which the status quo is maintained. This is simply because the rules of operation are set by statutes – and any corporation cannot bite the hand that created it.
Escaping corporate, commercial status is part of the equation for a better future. This is why I propose that any transformative organization should be a non-governmental organization – an NGO. The definition of this is cloudy – but I like USAID’s definition of it from Wikipedia – as any private voluntary organization.
Private means nongovernmental – not controlled by the public – or government. Thus, it does not require asking permission for its existence from the government. Hence, people can organize freely – and establish an NGO by declaration. This declaration can be made known by public notice – but this is not incorporation.
I have heard of people using private trusts and unincorporated organizations as a legal form for setting up NGOs. What are the details? If anyone in the audience has any experience with settting up private legal entities suitable for transformative work, please let us know. This question is key to all transformative efforts – because such efforts should have a suitable operational legal and financial structure to match their goals. I’ve raised the serious question of whether corporate form hinders the optimal functioning of organizations for change. This is part of a greater program for legal reform that could potentially eliminate the structurally built-in tendencies for commercial violence that is afflicting the integrity of all of civilizations today.
Does this all make sense?