Open Source Economy

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An open source economy is defined as an economy in which the development of goods and services happens via open collaboration between independent stakeholders on the global level. It is an economy where the rate of innovation across all sectors is significantly higher than the rate of innovation provided by proprietary research and development characteristic of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. In short, the open source economy is efficient: it avoids competive waste - thereby optimizing not only production, but also - distribution.

An open source economy related to the work of Open Source Ecology is defined as a parallel economy that can gain a significant market share of global production, within a context of artificial scarcity that is charactisting of Business as Usual enterprises.

Rather than define a quantitative definition of the Open Source Economy in terms of market share - we define it qaulitatively. The qualitative norms are:

  1. Patents are no longer secured because open collaboration and patents are incompatible. It becomes commonly understood that the innovation rate is higher when patents are not invoked, and as such, patents become a thing of the past.
  2. Trade secrets no longer exist because open collaboration and trade secrets are incompatible. There is no incentive to secrecy as the value of transparency has emerged as more valuable.
  3. Non-disclosure agreements are no longer invoked, as entrepreneurs have evolved to recognize that walling up innovation is not consistent with the general good.
  4. Opening of innovation has distributed economic prowess more widely across the globe. As such, decentralized economies have made eonomic localization more relevant to commerce. The stock market, derivative financial instruments, and speculation obsolete in the face of crowd-funding, social capital, place-based investment, and regenerative economics. Environmental and social regeneration has become valued more highly than degeneration.
  5. Wholistic, integral, systems thinking has forged a more ecological relationship between economics and natural resources. Natural resources have been accepted as the source of wealth and objects of respect.

Quantitatively, if such features are as above are common, then the market share of the open source economy is likely to be the entire economy.



The open source economy is an economy that optimizes both production and distribution, while providing environmental regeneration and social justice. The open source economy is in essence a paradigm where communities utilize open source knowledge and tools to provide material prosperity without relying on global supply chains for essential resources.

See our work from the early days of Open Source Ecology - the Enterprise Plan Video of 2011:


Comment on the open source economy definition here.