FKI:Strategy/General Context

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General Context

Our societies are facing unprecedented challenges in terms of sustainability. The economic, social and environmental issues are interrelated and inherently complex, requiring attention at international and local levels, and the pooling of knowledge from diverse sources and across cultures for innovative, sustainable solutions.

For such global cooperation to be effective, citizens (of the world) must be free to share and adapt knowledge resources to enable a common understanding of the challenges to permeate society, as we develop the collective wisdom to bring about global sustainability.

There are three main barriers which need to be overcome for this process to be successful:

  1. the artificial scarcity of immaterial goods (including software and other digital resources, ideas and knowledge), that have been privatised by intellectual monopolies [1] using patents and copyright
  2. the false conception that there is an abundance of material goods (environmental resources)
  3. belief in continual growth as a requirement for a functioning economy.
  4. the lack of awareness and guidance on what available knowledge is most relevant to moving the global knowledge society towards a path of sustainability.

The FKI is a hub of free knowledge communities addressing these barriers by educating people about the core shared concepts of free software, free culture and free knowledge, and their application in selected domains.

The FKI community engages in discussion, learning activities and advocacy around contemporary issues such as copyright reform, software and other questionable patents, proposed legislation which restricts citizens' freedom to participate in a free culture, use of free software in education and the public sector, and free knowledge for global sustainability.

Sharing knowledge and collective innovations are also emerging in the realms of physical goods and energy production. In practical terms, the FKI explores and educates organisations about new horizontal forms of organisation, peer production, do-it-yourself, self-organisation and different ownership and governance models, such as the commons. These new approaches, enabled by the Internet, are gaining momentum and beginning to define a new economic paradigm.

  1. Note that the term "intellectual property" should be avoided as it lumps together very different concepts, such as patents, copyright and trademarks into one confusing term. Furthermore, the very idea of "property" in the context of immaterial goods is under debate. See also Words to Avoid