Dyed All Hues

Thinker and Experimenter,


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Will or Can "Open Hardware" replace Capitalism, or at least be the leading drive for people to continue living instead of making just money?

Cesar Harada did an amazing job on his presentation of his new invention!

It was jamm packed with so many different ideas that melded into a hot pot of

Open Hardware was one of my favorite aspects of his presentation.

Will Open Hardware catch on, or will large company/mob mentality deem it unprofitable?

Can we as a collective group change this outdated mentality that people need to be tricked into giving their money out, and let the product actually sell itself?

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    Jul 14 2012: Another great idea from this talk is putting profits last. One thing future generations will take seriously is that quality of life is worth more than money. Happiness indexes affirm what I have found personally– that moving into a life of creativity and service produces a drastic cut in pay, greater happiness and a more meaningful life. What it doesn't account for is what happens to the social environment. As demonstrated in Harada's talk, when one concentrates on creating ideas for a better world, EVERYONE benefits. What could possibly mean more to one lying on their deathbed than to know that one has contributed to the betterment of the planet?

    This kind of attitude emanates from a vision of a world of abundance rather than one of scarcity. When we are afraid of losing what we have we become cornered animals locked in protection mode. But when we are confident of a world of abundance, sharing, a characteristic that separates civilization from natural tribalism, becomes much more important than hoarding.

    One day we will all share in a great creative flurry at the roundtable of social evolution. Until then it will be a very few individuals who drive evolution by selflessly giving of their talents and ideas for the benefit not of a higher standard of living but of a higher quality of life. And I think we will find them to be among the happiest people in the world!

    I think we can do the same thing with democracy itself:
  • Jon S

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    Jul 15 2012: It's an absolute that for humanity to prosper well in to the future it will have to achieve the 'Resource Based Economy' paradigm described by Jacques Fresco and conceived in part by Buckminster-Fuller. The Open Hardware concept I see as a step in this direction.

    I hope that the fundamental issues and inherent inadequacies in our present financial system, especially given the outrageous breeches of contract and statute that have occurred will enable a fresh approach to solving our world problems which ultimately are nothing to do with making profit in an absolute sense except that they have become as such because there is no wisdom in corporatocracy that provides for this and WE are as much to blame.

    Our media, our expectations of our pension funds, a hope for return on our investments, high yields from savings, etc, is all about riches and profit as ubiquitous and expected. We are entering a period where this just is no longer possible given the demand on a depleting supply of diminishing resources that have fuelled outdated technologies just because they were profitable when we didn't need to 'pay' for the fuel. The 'setting fire to the planet' paradigm for energy has to end as we're smarter than this now - but not until the fossil fuel interests for profits (which is you and I through the markets for our expected money growth) are forced to stop or a better paradigm exists for providing for humanity. The latter already exists.

    In order for humanity to move forward with positivity we just need to nail the last few nails in the coffin for infinite financial growth within a finite ecosystem. Encouraging ideas such as 'Open Hardware' are great within the methodology of profit being last but environment and function being foremost. With this mentality we can have 'Open Farming, Manufacturing, Education, Healthcare, Government, Age Care, etc.'

    Even the richest people alive today will not benefit from more degradation of our environment. This is obvious.
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    Jul 8 2012: Open hardware isn't entirely new, because it is necessary for having standards. For example, think of the typical nut and bolt. Most people don't give it much thought but there is actually a fair amount of engineering in those threads. They are standardised, and you don't need to pay a license to thread your own bolt.

    Open hardware can exist in conjunction with patented hardware. We need some open hardware so we can have standards that allow technology to interact. It facilitates a modular world in which the market place can have a greater amount of participants. Patents can still exist in this space.

    The problem now is private sector has gone completely crazy for patents. After Bill Gates showed the world that licensing is how you make billions of dollars in a short time and control the market while you're at it the rest of the private sector launched into a long patent war. Lobbyists constantly push for greater scopes of control and the patents that are being allowed are increasingly insane. (Apple recently got a patent for the wedge shape of a laptop).

    Patents were created to help innovation, but we have seriously overdosed on them and now the whole system is fubar'd. They should be limited, but not eliminated. R and D is expensive so it needs to be worth it. Something needs to be done though, the patent system is broken. It stifles innovation and costs the private sector, the government and ultimately consumers billions of dollars.

    Admittedly, the problem is worse in software than hardware, but it is spilling over into all industries, from hardware to biotech and even the arts.
    • Jul 10 2012: I agree with almost everything you express. The patent system is certainly broken and must be fixed, not scrapped. It must be fixed by people who understand technology, not by the lawyers.

      Just an historical note.

      "After Bill Gates showed the world that licensing..."

      You are giving Bill Gates too much credit. For example, when IBM first started marketing mainframes, you could not buy one, you could only lease, and maintenance was part of the lease contract. I doubt very much that this idea was new even then.
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    Jul 29 2012: The short answer is NO but the long answer is YES. Just change Open Hardware to Open Source Everything. What people are just starting to realize is that all the Opens are isolated from one another. When you demand Open Access, Open Cloud, Open Data, Open Government, Open Meetings, Open Records, and Open Standards, and you implement not just Open Software and Open Hardware but also OpenBTS and Open Spectrum, now you have a revolution, a real transformation. I am about to post a piece I am doing for Open Innovation site, making this point. Your question has been included in tonight's Open Source Everything Highlights, the short URL to the stack is http://tinyurl.com/OSE-ALL. My new inexpensive pocketbook (Amazon recommended), THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust, makes this case. The short URL to both free stuff and online ordering options is http://tinyurl.com/OSE-Steele.
  • Jul 29 2012: Some of these comments are troubling. Altruism can be a good trait, but only if it stems from a logical self-interest that concludes that, for a particular reason, helping the other person also benefits you. Cesar Harada did not idealize a non-profit as a symbol of almighty altruism, but, instead, rearranged priorities because of his better understanding of reality. The people he collaborates with realize that they and everyone on Earth profit most from preserving the world they live in, as Jon and a few others have pointed out.

    Profit does not mean larger amounts of a particular currency, it means a greater return of whatever it is they value. I profit from seeing my friends and colleagues smile. Smiling people don't murder. I share with them to make them smile. Smiling people share with me. Cesar and his team just don't value as highly the mechanism of exchange money allows. They profited without the proxy we call money.

    But, people, please, don't go around saying this is a non-profit that teaches to value money less, because what you really mean to say, in words much vaguer than these, is that this should be an enterprise that gets nothing back to the people who've created it. That is a very cruel wish.
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      Jul 29 2012: That is true. It is the product/service/individual that sells and the mentality is what should be changed. Positivity gets profit that leaves everyone with a smile, but it is when someone wants to prevent something from happening that is positive because it won't be profitable, then that is how it can be detrimental to everyone. Example: Someone I recently was speaking to said that "If my pharmaceutical company found the cure to AIDs I would withhold it from the public because I would lose profit", that really irked me. What this person said has probably happened before in different scenarios and that is what needs to changed. Humanity comes before making more physically tangible currency.
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    Jul 23 2012: Hat's off to Pat for working so hard to nip this upstart idea in the bud (rather unsuccessfully, I believe) - and for realizing that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

    Capitalism taken to its logical extreme ends with one entity holding all property, to the exclusion and deficit of all others. As noted above, it is also a very efficient way to remove beneficial ideas from the marketplace, in order to maximize profits on existing technologies.

    Cesar's version of Open Source Development seems to provide for any number of for profit-making opportunities along the way, without allowing money-making to be the primary motivation, or the overriding goal. Perhaps this approach will also allow the DNA of altruism to compete for the first time with the DNA of 'me first'.

    Sharing ideas - and allowing more people to make money in the process - is good business. Whether it's oil clean-up, net-zero energy, or socially-conscious entrepreneurism, Open Source development has the potential to build a loyal client base, encourage innovation, and boost sales of whatever products emerge from the cooperative creative stream. And it seems to engage far more people over a broader geographic range than is possible with the standard linear corporate model.

    I will be interested to see how many more idea streams take advantage of this approach, and how hard corporations will try to fight against it. That metric alone should lend credence to the value of Open Source.
  • Jul 12 2012: Yes, indeed. We are slowly but surely changing our outdated mentality of phishing out money from people's pockets and create something of value instead. This is evident from progress in several areas. I am yet to see serious money - the kind that bankers and hedge fund managers made in a run up to present crisis, or the ideas like Facebook, for example, did. Yet, the enthusiasm with which people freely participate in the act of creation is indeed impressive. Moreover, fortunately for us, monetary rewards are not the sole or even important determinant of cooperation as this talk claims: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
  • Jul 7 2012: @Pat: No? If you think so Pat, I would like to know why.

    I think it could work at least in some area's, and in many ways it already does. What Cesar Herada does is just one example. He uses "crowd sourcing" to fund his projects.
    I think any project curated by governments should be Open Source. They are funded by taxpayers money and shoudl benefit to all. If new thechniques, let;s say for example for building bridges cheaper and stronger, will be open hardware, students and companies all over the world can experiment with it and develop it further.

    Note that 'Open Hardware' isn't the same as 'for free', nor that you can't make a profit with it.
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      Jul 7 2012: I may be ignorant on this I did not watch the video until now.

      My thinking is that one of the fundamental dynamics of the economy is private property, this premise violates that dynamic. The only other example I can think of that is similar to this premise is Linux although it still exists it does not appear have a major share of the market. If I'm ignorant enlighten me.

      I will give you that these guys have purpose and are innovative these qualities I very much admire.

      But the reality of the market place is that to move into main street you need investors, his perfunctory graph showing "industry" is missing this vital step. Although the development may speed up through collaboration at some point the investment step has to occur at which point there are going to winners and losers.
      • Jul 8 2012: I agree that private property is one of the fundammentals, and it might always be. But open source is another fundamental which helps economy already. And I guess it can and will be more important in the future.

        I am not an expert on this, and I know that Linux seems to have a really small marketshare, but you might be using a few machines in your home already with Linux under the hood. Also a country like Venezuela has everything in government and education running on Linux and other open source programs, by law. A huge company like Unilever runs on Linux. The One Laptop Per Child program, providing cheap laptops to children in developing countries, can do so because they are based on free but high quality, open source software.
        Google Chrome is mostly open source and even Microsoft creates open source software these days. And what about programs like Firefox and OpenOffice?
        Many big hollywood movies are produced with open source / linux software. In the creative industries this is important, because with the help of the community, the tools they need are getting developped better and faster. So it is actually cheaper for them to make them open source.

        Like Scott says, the opposit, too many patents, can cause a problem.
        The documentary 'Who killed the electric car" claims that the oil industry has bought a lot of patents on innovative inventions, which could help reduce the demand for oil. The industry claims they want to use these inventions, but instead they keep them somewhere on the bottom of a drawer, on purpose. So that's why open source can actually help progress.
        Why wouldn't a big oil company like, say, BP not be interested in funding the project in the video? It could save them a lot of money and trouble the future. And the license-model wil assure that it will always stay open source.
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          Jul 8 2012: Ok but it still comes down to getting the product to the market which means someone will be able to cash in and someone won't, this is where the motivation comes form which is undeniable.
      • Jul 8 2012: I agree cash is an important motivation but luckily there are always other motivations. They are even necessary to keep socitey going. I guess your motivation isn't always cash, neither is mine, nor is it for Cesar Harada. Free market and free society isn't just made of money but built on the dream of freedom and equality for all, and that needs imagination, willpower, and the willingness to do things for other reasons than money.

        But you are right it seems very hard 'moving into main street' without cash. The reason most open source projects don't have a huge marketshare is not because of their potential or quality, but lack of cash. But that doesn't mean they can't be important.
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          Jul 9 2012: What I'm speaking of is organic to the DNA of Mankind. You seem to think that it is something that is a policy, it is not, you could sooner decide that we are going to have less gravity and of course it would not happen.

          While I'm at it this same idea goes for equality and mans desire to conquer the universe as these things are also organic to man's DNA
        • Jul 10 2012: Pat, empathy is also organic to the DNA of Mankind.
      • Jul 9 2012: You are probably right about the DNA of mankind. It will not disappear but, because we humans are able to think, we are able to rise above our DNA. In this way it is more like war than gravity. I think fighting wars is in the DNA of Mankind and will never disappear. But we have far less wars in our time than ever in history.
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          Jul 9 2012: Now we are getting closer to agreement.
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        Jul 9 2012: What linux has shown is that you don't need the patent to profit. Redhat is a successful company that is based on linux. They don't need to "sell" linux. Instead, their company is based around solid technical support. Because the software they support is free the company offers a competitive service.

        The reason linux works so well (I use it and it works more reliable than any other OS I have used) is because it follows the same process as the scientific method. They publish open documents that are peer reviewed by the community.

        The same process can and has worked for hardware. You just have to look at the history of science. There are many developments in the scientific community that follow this model and the technology created is superb.

        Just because there is no patent on these Protei robots for cleaning pollution, doesn't mean there is no room for profit. They must be deployed, transported, maintained, and stored when not in use. A company can contract out the manufacture of them and profit from their deployment.
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          Jul 9 2012: If I'm following you are saying the 2 concepts are not mutually exclusive.

          Fair enough and I suspect that the scientific method is a huge part of the sucess.

          The speaker appeared to infer that there would not be or is a profit motive, that is what I disagree with. And definitely with Derek's idea of replacing the nasty capitalism with some delusion from the academics.
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    Jul 6 2012: This is so interesting to me. Just the question itself is enlightening. I would never have seen open source things as a political force to compete with capitalism. Wow! Thanks again for teaching me so well.
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    Jul 6 2012: NO