Open source hardware: a village civilization starter on a DVD!

Why you should listen to him: Declaring that, “We can lead self-sustaining lives without sacrificing our standard of living,” Marcin Jakubowski believes that only by opening the means of production can we achieve abundance for all. Though he has a Ph.D. in fusion physics, he became dissatisfied with its remoteness, and turned back to the earth as a farmer and social innovator. He is the founder of Open Source Ecology, which is creating the Global Village Construction Set — the blueprints for simple fabrication of everything needed to start a self-sustaining village. At Factor e Farm in rural Missouri, he’s been successfully putting those ideas to the test.

“It’s not reinventing the wheel; it’s open-sourcing the wheel.” Julia Valentine, farmer, in The Atlantic

These guys are amazing! Imagine you’re a local African farmer. There’s no way you’ll generate the income to buy a brand spanking new American tractor — or a Chinese one for that matter. What can you do? If you have access to one of the cheap internet connected OLPC computers, you can go to Open Source Ecology and download plans for how to build your own tractor! You can pool the construction resources in your local village, maybe do a deal with the local garage or workshop, and together come up with the materials to build a tractor yourself!

This means the basic machinery of civilization is now:

  • 8 times cheaper than traditional assembly line produced tractors and brickmakers and ovens and mills and all the other top 50 inventions for village life.
  • Available on a DVD!
  • Has a forum — log in with your preferred open id code!
  • No paying for unnecessary branding or middle men or marketers or transport of rare parts across vast distances
  • Once you have built it you know how to repair it!
  • When you can build all the bits you need locally, there’s no ordering expensive stuff in from overseas.
  • Parts are fairly interchangable. That might make for some unusual looking stuff, but at least it works!
  • Are we approaching some self-organizing system like this at the local level in Africa? Will governments allow it?

See Open Source Ecology for more.

Cheap ways to build the top 50 tools of civilization on a DVD!

Also try their wiki at

This entry was posted in Computers, Industrial Ecosystems, New Urbanism. Bookmark the permalink.

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