BUT HOW are these projects funded? From receiving state funding (a research grant) and individual donations (crowdfunding) to alliances with established firms and institutions, commons-oriented projects are experimenting with various business models to stay sustainable.
These globally connected local, open design communities do not tend to practice planned obsolescence. They can adapt such artefacts to local contexts and can benefit from mutual learning.
In such a scenario, Ecuadorian mountain people can for example connect with Nepalese mountain farmers to learn from each other and stop any collaboration that would make them exclusively dependent on proprietary knowledge controlled by multinational corporations.
THIS IDEA comes partly from discourse on cosmopolitanism which asserts that each of us has equal moral standing, even as nations treat people differently. The dominant economic system treats physical resources as if they were infinite and then locks up intellectual resources as if they were finite. But the reality is quite the contrary. We live in a world where physical resources are limited, while non-material resources are digitally reproducible and therefore can be shared at a very low cost.
Moving electrons around the world has a smaller ecological footprint than moving coal, iron, plastic and other materials. At a local level, the challenge is to develop economic systems that can draw from local supply chains.
Imagine a water crisis in a city so severe that within a year the whole city may be out of water. A cosmolocal strategy would mean that globally distributed networks would be active in solving the issue. In one part of the world, a water filtration system is prototyped – the system itself is based on a freely available digital design that can be 3D printed.
This is not fiction. There is actually a network based in Cape Town, called STOP RESET GO, which wants to run a cosmolocalisation design event where people would intensively collaborate on solving such a problem.
The Cape Town STOP RESET GO teams draw upon this and begin to experiment with it with their lived challenges. To make the system work they need to make modifications, and they document this and make the next version of the design open. Now other locales around the world take this new design and apply it to their own challenges.