“It’s for freedom that we are set free” or so suggests the 1st century teacher and writer Paul of Tarsus. So why do certain technological luminary types suggest that that open-source collaboration of software and similar enterprises potentially undermine the foundations of western capitalism. They argue that this will cause potential erosion of the so-called traditional for-profit business model. Ok guys here is a primer in free market economics…..first there is freedom; then initiative; then expertise; then innovation; then market demand; then production; then efficiency; then profit. Did I leave any of the steps out? So when was freedom replaced by profit as the holy grail of free market economics? Profit is and has always been the un-guaranteed potential by-product of the free enterprise system. Well it seems that if a specific business model is threatened, then all business models must be. Ok perhaps business as we know it may be toppled by web 2.0 and the collaborative open-source initiatives like Moodle, Wikipedia, Linux ….but a threat to the western free enterprise profit model? OK come on guys, I understand your desire to preserve your particular free enterprise – enterprise. I really do! But at some point it’s like saying that if the Yankees aren’t winning then baseball must be dying .
In some ways today’s collaboration communities provide us with the ultimate environment for individual and ‘corporate’ freedom. Some suggest that the new collaboration paradigm is somehow socialist in nature, and stifling to individual initiative and innovation. This argument goes against the old cliché that the cream always rises to the top. But wait it always does. We humans have never seen it otherwise….even in extreme socialist and communist communities. Under those political and economic constructs the more talented and motivated among us sometimes attempt to oppress individuality; but guess what: that only proves the point that the elite not only survive, but thrive! The 10,000 or so years of known human civilization suggests that regardless of the religious, political and social structure that we humans find ourselves under- the so called cream does indeed rise to the top. To suggest that by our evolving to a purer freedom paradigm characterized by a collaborative development environment is somehow limiting really suggests that you don’t actually trust freedom as much as your own self serving business interests. But I actually believe the opposite result will prevail. Eliminate the so called hierarchal limitations of business and industry that often and systemically subdue creativity, individualism and you have free enterprise in its purest form. Darwin would approve since the “fittest” would lead, create, innovate, learn and thrive. Liewise let’s lower the corporate fortifications that we been built to protect intra as well as inter- industry sharing of ideas, and “all ships will rise with the tide.” Sorry was that another cliché? But you know what they say about clichés? They exist because they are true! Hey I understand how insidious self-centeredness can be. I also understand that when the game changes, we naturally go on the defense. Ok, so just trust freedom and then trust me when I assert that someone will make a profit in this new world. It just may or may not be you!