Archivo de la categoría: Perfil

George Dafermos: “La P2P se enfrenta a la hegemonía del neoliberalismo”George Dafermos: “Something of this scale has never been attempted before”

george dafernos

English version

George Dafermos, el nuevo coordinador de la investigación de FLOK para el “Mejoramiento de Capacidades de Producción Orientadas al Procomún”, ha recorrido un largo camino desde que era adolescente en su ciudad natal, Heraclión en Creta, Grecia. Allí pasaba sus días jugando en una PC 286, conduciendo su motocicleta o nadando en el mediterráneo. Dejando su país natal, Dafermos viaja a Reino Unido donde estudia administración y ciencias sociales en la Universidad de Hertforshire para posteriormente regresar a su localidad a dar clase sobre desarrollo web en un centro comunitario, además de trabajar en distintos proyectos relacionados con la comunicación digital. Fue en este periodo en donde comienza su militancia en el mundo del copyleft y en contra de los dañinos efectos que tiene el sistema de patentes, con esta línea es que desarrolla su doctorado en Holanda dentro de la Universidad Tecnológica de Delft, en donde centró sus estudios en las estructuras de gobernanza de las comunidades de software libre.

Recuerda con gusto que a los 15 años un amigo le presentó un sistema operativo llamado Linux del que se enganchó inmediatamente por la forma en la que se había desarrollado, “un sistema operativo que es la parte más importante de una computadora había sido desarrollado, no por una gran compañía, sino por cientos de entusiastas agrupados en comunidades y conectados por Internet” recuerda, además añade que ese espíritu que lo atrajo a Linux es similar al que le atrae de FLOKS. Es a raíz de lo anterior que se pueden entender los intereses Dafermos y que actualmente se centran en la gobernanza de los comúnes, los modelos de producción entre iguales, las innovaciones abiertas, las comunidades y su organización potenciados por Internet.

Aunque nunca ha visitado sudamérica, se dice emocionado por conocer Ecuador, sobre todo por la oportunidad de construir una economía del conocimiento abierto para el país. En este tema afirma que se requieren construir infraestructuras para los usuarios finales y que se traduce sencillamente como dotar con herramientas a los ciudadanos además de dotarlos de una estructura legal que refuerce lo generado. La idea de integrar a los usuarios finales en el proceso de desarrollo, afirma, es vital en toda innovación ya que son una fuente constante de creatividad, por lo que ese considera es el concepto central para cualquier actividad emprendedora en el país.

Cree que el mayor reto para Ecuador y su intento de generar una economía del conocimiento abierto será la capacidad mantener un mente abierta ya que este cuerpo teórico rompe con muchos paradigmas por lo que puede resultar problemático para muchas personas, a pesar de que las comunidades en busca del conocimiento abierto han estado tantos años que ya no se considera un tema exótico en un número considerable de personas. Dafermos cree que una de las razones importantes para los así llamados países occidentales no adopten una economía P2P es que ésta se enfrenta a la hegemonía del neoliberalismo además de asumir que las economías de base común resultan más ineficientes que las del mercado actual.

Para concluir, el académico griego considera un error creer que las economías P2P sean una amenaza para la democracia y que por el contrario las estructuras generadas permiten mayor transparencia gubernamental, participación ciudadana y toma de decisiones, aspectos básicos para la democracia.

Para él FLOK/Buen Conocer es una oportunidad única de poner en práctica su conocimiento y experiencia en una escala que jamás imaginó.

-Conrado Romogeorge dafernos

Versión en español

George Dafermos is heading up FLOK’s research stream for “Enhancing Commons Oriented Productive Capacities”. This week he began his work in Quito.

FLOK: Tell us a little bit about your life.

George Dafermos: I was born in 1980 in Heraklion-Crete, Greece. Some of my fondest memories as a young boy and a teenager growing up in the 1990s were playing computer games on a 286 PC, riding motorbikes and swimming in the Sea of Crete. In 1997 I finished high-school and moved to the UK to study administrative and social sciences at the University of Hertfordshire (BBA), Durham (MA) and Sunderland (MSc). Upon the completion of my postgraduate studies in 2002, I returned to my hometown, doing various stints as a lecturer in Information Systems and Web Development at a local independent study centre, a management & technology consultant with GoOnline (a EU programme aimed at promoting local entrepreneurship by training and counselling small and medium-sized businesses about using the Internet), a marketing & PR manager at the University of Crete’s Centre of Networks and Communications as well as a freelance web developer. Around that time I also got involved in copyleft activism, something which I still feel very strongly about, especially with regard to the harmful effect of patents and copyright law on innovation and creativity. In 2006 I relocated to the Netherlands to work on a PhD at Delft University of Technology on the topic of Governance Structures of Free/Open Source Software Development Communities under the supervision of Prof. Michel van Eeten. Six years later, after I defended my dissertation (which is available for download).

In December 2012, I came back to Greece with the aim of promoting the concept of the commons (for example, by helping co-organise the ‘Festival of the Commons’ in Heraklion-Crete) and agitating for peer-to-peer alternatives.

At what point did you become interested in what is now your life’s work? Was there a moment, a book, or a person that was influential?

Actually, yes. When I was fifteen years old, some friends showed me a little-known operating system called Linux. I was instantly hooked: in spite of its complexity – for an operating system is the most complex piece of software on a computer – Linux was not developed by some great company but by a loosely coupled community of thousands of enthusiasts who were scattered all over the world, connected only through the tenuous strands of the Internet. It was not, as they told me, the result of a meticulously crafted design but of evolution: the crystallization of a multitude of individuals doing their thing without central planning. The peculiar character of Linux only made me more curious about it, triggering a series of follow-up questions: How was it possible that something of such complexity was developed by a seemingly anarchic crowd on the Internet? How were the contributions of all those people, who were dispersed around the world, integrated into a harmonic whole? And if Linux was so much better than Microsoft Windows, as my friends claimed, then why was not everybody else using it? Such was the appeal of these questions that five years later I decided to do my Master’s thesis at Durham on the organisational structure of the Linux project and then do a PhD at Delft on the governance of free software and open source development communities. And it is questions of a similar nature that attract me to work on the FLOK Society Project.

How would you describe your current research interests?

My research interests are centred on the governance of the commons, on the model of peer production, on open/user innovation, on online communities and new organizational structures enabled by the Internet.

Have you been to South America or Ecuador before?

No, but I’m very much looking forward to doing so. I’ve long dreamt of visiting South America but the opportunity never arose until now.

Do you know when you will be coming to Ecuador and how long you will stay?

I’m planning to be there in early November and stay until the research is expected to be completed in the end of April.

How do you think your work will overlap with Ecuador’s national interest in building an open knowledge economy?

I think the best way to answer your question about how my involvement in the FLOK Society Project overlaps with Ecuador’s attempt to build an open knowledge economy is by saying a few things about the research on which my work will be focused. The aim of the research project is basically to highlight promising avenues for further consideration and implementation; to identify building blocks, so to speak, for the development of an open knowledge economy in Ecuador. A few examples immediately spring to mind.

First of all, an open knowledge economy requires infrastructures for end-user innovation: simply put, what this comes down to is giving people access to tools – all sorts of tools, from software tools to full-fledged workshops – so they can make by themselves those things they need and desire. Then there is the issue of the legal/IP infrastructure that will serve to reinforce such an environment of distributed innovation: the creative commons licenses offer a great example of how this can be done in practice: the point is to make it easy and simple for creators to decide for themselves how to distribute their products and the kind of rights they want to give end-users. In a way, it’s all about enabling choice; in fact, it’s hard to overemphasize the importance of developing infrastructures that allow people to choose how they want to engage in economic intercourse: that is why the character of such infrastructures must be ‘pluralistic’ and supportive of experimentation with alternative forms of economic organization such as cooperatives, mutuals or so-called local exchange trading systems and barter networks that can be used for the exchange of goods and services. In short, the overlap between my work and Ecuador’s interest in building an open knowledge economy consists in researching infrastructures which are geared towards enabling participation, collaboration, openness and choice.

How do you think concepts you have researched or discovered would work at the scale of a whole country? Do you know of any examples of something similar?

There is a multitude of highly interesting and relevant concepts, although no systematic attempt has yet been made to implement them at the scale of a whole country. Take, for instance, the concept of open innovation, which is essentially (a theoretical corpus) about how companies can make better products and services through the participation of end-users in their development. The idea behind it is that end-users represent a potent source of creativity and innovation and companies can harness that capacity for innovation by engaging end-users in the process of developing products and services. That is obviously a concept that may well be applied to the totality of entrepreneurial activity in any country. Another very interesting concept is that of open source: at its heart, the concept of open source suggests that technology products should not be built as ‘black-boxes’ that hinder understanding of how they work ‘under the hood’. On the contrary, one should be able to study their ‘internals’ so as to be able to modify them or fix their defects, thereby improving them. The rationale is that technological innovation is a cumulative process that thrives on openness and collaboration rather than secrecy. It is not hard to see how the relevance of the concept of open source, like that of open innovation, extends far beyond the scope of any one product and may well be implemented as an organizing principle for an entire country’s economy and industry. And what’s more, there are many more concepts – some of which are closely related to that of open source and open innovation – that could prove to be very useful in reflecting about the development of a participative and open knowledge economy.

What do you see as the main challenges in Ecuador’s proposed shift to a shared and open knowledge economy?

For starters, such a paradigm shift requires an open mind and a strong willingness to try out alternatives.

Peer-to-peer, Internet-based alternatives (in commerce, education, information exchange, collaboration, etc) have been around for a couple of decades now. What is different in this realm now, than ten or 20 years ago? Or: why is Ecuador the first country to talk about converting to this economic model?

Lots of things are quite different now: one of the most important has to do with the fact that such alternatives are no longer ‘exotic’, fringe’ experiments driven by small groups of people. Instead, there is an explosion in the number of people who are interested in examining and using them as solutions to the practical problems they face and that, I believe, gives such alternatives a powerful impetus for further development. At the same time, the technology enabling these alternatives is far more developed now, opening up a wealth of new possibilities. Consider, for instance, how widespread broadband connectivity has made it possible to use the Internet in ways that were inconceivable for most users in early 2000s: videoconferencing and sharing videos on websites like youtube are two prominent examples. Most promisingly, all this is nothing compared to what the Internet could be after ten or twenty years: there is huge potential for innovation that remains to be explored.

I think one of the most important reasons that prevent many countries, especially in the so-called Western world, from adopting what we could call a peer-to-peer economic model lies in the hegemony of the neoliberal dogma and its attendant belief that a commons-based economy results in waste of resources and is therefore inefficient.

Crucially, that is starting to change as increasingly more countries realize that neoliberal economic policies are not only incapable of solving their problems but are, if fact, aggravating them. That is exactly the case with many countries in the south of Europe today (like Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, to name but a few) which have been made painfully aware of the fact that the economic agendas they have so far pursued lead to a model of one-sided development that creates wealth for the few while reducing the many to poverty; a model that produces unhappiness and insecurity as the majority of people are excluded from the very things (like education and healthcare) that enable life to blossom and thrive, to say nothing about its destructive effect on the environment. So, I think that as the realization sets in that another way of doing things is indeed possible, we’re going to see more and more countries following in the footsteps of Ecuador.

What are you looking forward to, about this project? Is there anything you are not looking forward to?

To begin with, joining the FLOK Society Project is a unique opportunity to put the insights I’ve gleaned from my study of open source projects into practice. Something of this scale has never been attempted before and I would definitely like to be part of it. Furthermore, I’m really excited to work on a project that combines both research and policy work.

John Restakis, experto internacional en cooperativas, ya está en EcuadorJohn Restakis, co-operative models researcher, joins the project

http://www.thenews.coop/node/12665
(Origen de Foto)

English article

Ha llegado al Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales el académico canadiense John Restakis. Está en Ecuador para trabajar en el proyecto del Buen Conocer/Sumak Yachay.

El proyecto Buen Conocer busca políticas de transición para la matriz productiva del Ecuador hacia una sociedad del conocimiento libre común y abierto. Restakis llega para coordinar la vertiente de la investigación que trata de la innovación institucional necesaria para hacer esta transición.

Restakis fue durante 15 años en Director Ejecutivo de la Asociación de Cooperativas de British Columbia, Canadá. Actualmente se dedica al estudio del modelo cooperativo para la transición hacia la sostenibilidad política, social y ambiental.

“El proyecto del Buen Conocer que se elabora en el FLOK Society en el IAEN es un contexto ideal en el cual aplicar mis estudios en la democracia económica cooperativa, y el desafío de transicionar a una sociedad con un nuevo modelo enfocado en el Buen Vivir, y la justicia económica y social,” dice Restakis.

Ha estudiado las economías cooperativas en Italia, en Emilia Romagna Italy y en Mondragón, España. También estudió y dictó clases en la Rishi Valley School, del conocido pensador Jiddu Krishnamurti, en India.

“He sido un activista comprometido y un relajoso casi toda mi vida,” dice acerca de su trayectoria.

Nació en Atenas, Grecia y creció en Toronto, Canadá.

Realizó sus estudios en la Universidad de Toronto, donde se especializó en Estudios de Asia Oriental, con estudios posteriores en Filosofía. Es autor de varios libros que tratan de la sociedad civil y los negocios cooperativos, la economía humanista, y la historia oral.

Ha sido consultor para proyectos de desarrollo de cooperativas en África y Asia.

Además de su actividad en el sector cooperativo, ha liderado programas educativos en la Universidad de Bologna y la Universidad de Victoria.

El proyecto del Buen Conocer en el que laborará en Ecuador se presentará en un evento público en el IAEN, a las 5 pm el 28 de noviembre.

http://www.thenews.coop/node/12665
(Photo source)

Artículo en español

John Restakis has arrived at the Ecuadorian Institute of Higher Studies (IAEN) in Quito. The Canadian academic is in Ecuador to work with the FLOK Society’s Buen Conocer/Sumak Yachay research project.

FLOK Society is researching transition policies for Ecuador’s productive matrix. The transition that is needed is towards a free and open knowledge economy. Restakis will coordinate the research stream that has to do with social infrastructure and innovation.

In the early 90’s John became active in the co-op movement of Ontario. In 1998 he took up a post as the Executive Director of the BC Co-operative Association, a position he held for 15 years.

“I’ve been a committed activist and troublemaker most of my life. I was born in Athens and grew up in Toronto where I was expelled from high school (Thistletown Collegiate Institute) for general insubordination and being a bad influence,” he writes in his bio.

He now divides his time between Canada and Italy, where he researches the use of co-operative models as a means of transitioning societies to social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

“The FLOK Society Project in Ecuador is an ideal context within which to apply my own interest in co-operative economic democracy to the practical challenges of transitioning a society to a new economic model focusing on Good Living, social and economic justice, and the empowerment of civil society as a primary force for the advancementof economic and social development that is humane, just, and sustainable within environmental limits,” he says.

“My previous studies on co-operative economies in places like Emilia Romagna in Italy and Mondragon in Spain provide key references for applying the experiences of these places to the context of Ecuador and its search for a national alternative to neo-liberalism and contemporary global capitalism.”

The project he’s working on in Ecuador will be introduced at a public event at the IAEN university, a 5 p.m. on Nov. 28.

Janice Figueiredo entrevista: “Ecuador es el primer país en acoger la idea de transformar los conceptos del procomún en políticas públicas”Janice Figueiredo interview: “Ecuador is the first country ever to embrace the idea of turning the concepts of the Commons into public policies”

Janice Figueiredo
Janice Figueiredo llegó a Quito a inicios de noviembre y estará trabajando como una de las coordinadoras de investigación del proyecto FLOK hasta finales de marzo del año entrante. Le hicimos esta entrevista para aprender un poco más acerca de su experiencia en investigaciones de economía social del conocimiento:

Dinos un poco acerca de tu vida

Soy una ciudadana brasileña que ha vivido en diversas regiones de Brasil antes de mudarme al extranjero. Trabajé por 20 años en el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID), inicialmente como gerente de proyectos TIC en Washington, DC, EE.UU., donde lideré desarrollo de proyectos institucionales TIC en entornos multi-culturales y audité varias actividades TIC de varias oficinas de la institución en los países de América Latina. Desde 1997 hasta 2009 estuve a cargo de las actividades de tecnología de la información de la Oficina del BID en Europa (con sede en París).

Tengo una licenciatura en Ciencias de la Computación, una maestría en Estrategia y Marketing; y cursos de postgrado en el área de Desarrollo Sostenible.

¿En qué punto te empezaste a interesar en lo que ahora es tu trabajo de vida?

Desde 2009, me he enfocado en investigar las áreas de inteligencia colectiva, movimientos colaborativos, dinámica entre partes, el procomún, la sociedad abierta del compartir, negocios sociales, divisas complementarias, desarrollo sostenible y reducción de la pobreza, con un interés en particular en explorar modelos alternativos a los paradigmas económicos convencionales basados en la centralización y la escasez.

Regresé a mi tierra natal a inicios de 2012, y actualmente vivo en Río de Janeiro, donde estoy involucrada activamente en varios proyectos colaborativos en las favelas de la capital, así como con grupos académicos de investigación en la Economía Colaborativa y producción entre pares en Brasil. Contribuyo en la P2P Foundation, una formadora de redes mundial y me gusta identificarme como polinizadora, es decir, alguien que se mueve entre varios mundos trayendo y difundiendo ideas y conectando a la gente.

¿Hubo algún instante, libro o persona que ha influido en tu trayectoria?

Varias personas me han inspirado durante mi trayectoria: Mohammed Yunus en el campo del Emprendimiento Social, Pierre Lévy y sus ideas sobre Inteligencia Colectiva. Jean François Noubel es una referencia importante para mí, ya que a través de él me involucré en la investigación de Divisas Complementarias, la Inteligencia Colectiva y en métodos para ser menos dependiente del sistema monetario tradicional. Heidemarie Schwermer, una mujer alemana que ha estado viviendo por más de 16 años es otra persona que me fascina. Michel Bauwens es un gran referente, por su visión sobre cómo la dinámica P2P y las comunidades pueden crear nuevos mundos

¿Has visitado Ecuador previamente? ¿Qué otros lugares de América del Sur conoces?

Estuve en Ecuador en 1992, en un viaje profesional. Además de Quito, he tenido la oportunidad de visitar la ciudad de Otavalo. Debido a mi trabajo con el BID he viajado a muchos otros países del continente: Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Perú, Paraguay, Surinam, Guyana.

¿Por qué abandonas tu situación actual para trabajar en este proyecto en Ecuador?

Veo este trabajo como una oportunidad tremenda de intercambiar experiencias con otros investigadores, para aprender con los ecuatorianos y para construir conocimiento sobre cómo crear una sociedad basada en valores de intercambio, abundancia, inclusión y cooperación. Como polinizadora, lo veo como un enriquecimiento de mi trabajo e interés actual, no como una ruptura de lo que hago actualmente. Todo está conectado: aportaré con mi experiencia en Ecuador; y me enriqueceré e intercambiaré este conocimiento a donde quiera que vaya.

¿En qué forma tu trabajo coincidirá con el interés nacional de Ecuador en la construcción de una economía del conocimiento abierto?

En el proyecto asumiré las funciones de coordinadora de investigación de infraestructuras físicas de la vida colectiva, que involucra la mutualización de infraestructuras tales como transporte y vivienda, prácticas de consumo colaborativo y un análisis de las políticas públicas que faciliten y promuevan un modo de vida sostenible.

Las prácticas de mutualización y consumo colaborativo crean una situación donde todos ganan: reducen los costos y el consumo, estimulan las interacciones de la comunidad y además, resultan más sostenibles para el planeta.

Cuando las infraestructuras para la vida son provistas, esto deja de ser una carga para las personas. La gente puede dedicar su energía a la creación de conocimiento y expresión de la creatividad. Entonces, una economía orientada al procomún, estimula la creación y expansión de conocimiento, al tiempo que utiliza eficazmente los recursos disponibles de una comunidad, lo que maximiza la producción de conocimiento y la sostenibilidad y minimiza el consumismo, el agotamiento de los recursos y los costes.

¿Cómo piensas que los conceptos que has investigado o descubierto funcionarán a una escala nacional? ¿Conoces algún ejemplo de algo similar?

Ecuador es el primer país en acoger la idea de transformar los conceptos del procomún y el conocimiento compartido y abierto en políticas públicas. Este es un gran reto y una oportunidad estimulante para la construcción colectiva de un modelo de transición para una economía orientada al procomún.

¿Qué estás buscando en este proyecto? ¿Hay algo en particular con lo que no te gustaría encontrarte?

Estoy deseando a un intercambio intenso, diverso y rico de experiencias y conocimientos con los investigadores mundiales y personas ecuatorianas que surgirán en la creación de un modelo de sociedad basado en los valores de la inclusión, el intercambio, la colaboración, el reconocimiento de la riqueza de la diversidad, el respeto de todos los seres vivos y el medio ambiente, la libertad y la autonomía.

¿Son las estructuras entre pares (peer-to-peer) una amenaza para la democracia? ¿Cómo pueden estas estructuras reforzar o mejoras nuestras democracias?

¡Para nada! De hecho, es todo lo contrario. En la antigua Grecia, donde nació la democracia, todos podían participar en las asambleas públicas para discutir, proponer y decidir el futuro de sus comunidades El sistema democrático representativo actual no permite la participación directa de la gente en el proceso de toma de decisiones. Las estructuras entre pares, por otro lado, eliminan la jerarquía y la centralización, brindando horizontalidad, transparencia, autonomía e igualdad de poderes a la gente ¡Eso es democracia genuina!Janice Figueiredo

   

Janice Figueiredo arrived in Quito in early November, and will be working as one of FLOK’s research coordinators until the end of March, 2014. We interviewed her to learn more about her experience researching knowledge-based social economies.

Tell us a little bit about your life. 

I am a Brazilian citizen who has lived in different parts of Brazil before moving abroad. I worked for 20 years at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB): initially, as IT Project Manager in Washington, DC, USA, when I led the development of institution-wise IT projects in a multi-cultural environment and audited IT activities of several Latin-American Country Offices of the institution. From 1997 until 2009 I was in charge of the Information Technology activities of IADB’s Office in Europe (based in Paris).

I have a B.Sc. in Computer Science, a M.Sc. in Strategy and Marketing and post-graduate courses in the area of Sustainable Development.

At what point did you become interested in what is now your life’s work? 

Since 2009 I directed my interests to researching the areas of collective intelligence, collaborative movements, P2P dynamics, the commons, the open and sharing society, social business, complementary currencies, sustainable development and poverty reduction, with particular interest in exploring alternative models to the conventional economic paradigms based in centralization and scarcity.

I moved back to Brazil in the beginning of 2012 and I currently live in Rio de Janeiro, where I am actively involved with several collaborative projects at Rio’s favelas, as well as with academic research groups on the Collaborative Economy and Peer Production in Brazil. I am a contributor to the P2P Foundation, a global netweaver and I like to present myself as a pollinator, that is, someone who moves among worlds bringing and spreading ideas and connecting people.

Has there been a moment, a book, or a person that was influential for you?

Several people inspired me during this trajectory: Mohammed Yunus on the Social Business field, Pierre Lévy on the ideas of Collective Intelligence. Jean François Noubel is an important reference to me, as through him I became involved in researching the areas of Complementary Currencies, Collective Intelligence and in ways to be less dependent on the traditional monetary system. Heidemarie Schwermer, a german woman who has been living for more than 16 years without money is another person who fascinates me. Michel Bauwens is a huge reference to me, for his vision on how the P2P dynamics and communities may create new worlds.

Have you been to Ecuador before?

I was in Ecuador in 1992, on a professional trip. Besides Quito, I had the opportunity to visit the town of Otavalo. Due to my work with the IADB I travelled to several other countries in South America: Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Suriname, Guyana.

Why are you leaving your current situation to work on this project in Ecuador?

I see this work as a tremendous opportunity to exchange experiences with other researchers, to learn with Ecuadorian people and to build knowledge on how to create a society based on the values of sharing, abundance, inclusiveness, and cooperation. As a pollinator, I see that as an enrichment of my current work and interests, not a break of what I am currently doing. Everything is connected: I’ll bring and share in Ecuador my experience; I then will be enriched and continue to exchange knowledge wherever I go.

How do you think your work will overlap with Ecuador’s national interest in building an open knowledge economy?

In the project I will be assuming the functions of research coordinator of physical infrastructures of collective life, which involves the mutualisation of infrastructures such as transportation and housing, practices of collaborative consumption and looking at public policies that enable and promote sustainable livelihoods.

Practices of mutualisation and collaborative consumption creates win-win situation: they reduce costs and consumerism, stimulate community interactions and are more sustainable for the planet.

When the basic infrastructures for living are provided to people, this is no longer a burden in a person’s life. People can then put their energies in the creation of knowledge and in the expression of creativity. So, a commons-oriented economy stimulates knowledge creation and expansion while effectively uses a community’s available resources, maximizing knowledge production and sustainability and minimizing consumerism, resources depletion and costs.

How do you think concepts you have researched or discovered would work at the scale of a whole country? Do you know of any examples of something similar?

Ecuador is the first country ever to embrace the idea of turning the concepts of the commons, open and shared knowledge into public policies. This is going to be a big challenge and also an exciting opportunity to collectively build a transition model for a commons-oriented economy.

What are you looking forward to, about this project? Is there anything you are not looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to an intense, diverse and rich exchange of experiences and knowledge with global researchers and Ecuadorian people that will emerge in the creation of a model of society based on the values of inclusion, sharing, collaboration, recognition of the richness of diversity, respect of all living beings and the environment, freedom and autonomy.

Are peer-to-peer structures a threat to democracy? How can they strengthen or improve our democracies?

Not at all! In fact, quite the contrary! In ancient Greece, where democracy was born, anyone could participate at public assemblies to discuss, propose and decide about the future of their communities. The current representative democratic system does not allow peoples’ direct participation on decision-making processes. Peer-to-peer structures, on the other hand, eliminates hierarchy and centralization, giving horizontality, transparency, autonomy and equal power to people. That’s genuine democracy!

VIDEO: Entrevista a Patricia Pacheco, de Creative Commons EcuadorVideo interview with Patricia Pacheco, from Creative Commons Ecuador

patriciapacheco

English version

Patricia Pacheco, abogada, es una docente investigadora de la Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja. Es líder del proyecto Creative Commons Ecuador, que busca informar a la ciudadanía acerca de licencias abiertas con las que puede liberar sus obras.

Creative Commons Ecuador ha sido fundamental en convencer a entidades públicas y educativas, como la UTPL misma, del valor de liberar el conocimiento que producen, no reservando derechos de autor sino usando licencias que animan a compartir, como las licencias CC.

Una de sus metas es que las publicaciones que se producen con fondos públicos en Ecuador se licencien libremente, y en eso han tenido algunas victorias: por ejemplo la más reciente publicación del Corte Nacional de Justicia está licenciada con Creative Commons.

Aquí nuestra entrevista con Patricia acerca de ¿por qué es importante apuntar al conocimiento libre, como sociedad?

patriciapacheco

Versión en español

Patricia Pacheco, a lawyer, is a professor at the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja. She’s also the leader of Creative Commons Ecuador, a group that informs Ecuadorians about open licenses they can use to free their creative works.

Creative Commons Ecuador has been fundamental in convincing public entities and educational institutions, like UTPL itself, about the value of freeing the knowledge they produce, not reserving author copyrights but encouraging sharing, by using CC licenses.

One of their goals is that publications created with public funds in Ecuador become freely licensed, and they have had some recent victories: the most recent publication by Ecuador’s National Justice Court is CC licensed.

We interviewed Patricia about why it is important to aim for building a free knowledge society. The interview is in Spanish:

Entrevista a Paul Bouchard: “Hemos visto el aumento de la cooperación económica como una alternativa a los fracasos del capitalismo”Interview with Paul Bouchard: “We have seen the rise of economic co-operation as an alternative to the failings of capitalism”

Paul Bouchard

Nombre: Paul Bouchard

Biografía: Profesor en Concordia University, Montreal, Canadá

Cargo en FLOK: Coordinador de investigación, vertiente Capacidad Humana

“Creo que Montreal es uno de los mejores lugares para crecer, bueno, excepto en invierno cuando la temperatura desciende a -20C. Ante esto Quito no suena tan mal ¿verdad?”

Así inicia la entrevista que realizamos con el profesor Paul Bouchard de la Concordia University en Montreal, Quebec, Canadá, y es que la distancia geográfica parece poca cuando ponemos en contexto otras situaciones como el clima o su orgulloso bagaje galo. Cabe recordar que la mencionada ciudad es una de las capitales culturales de Canadá y la urbe de habla francesa más grande afuera de Francia.

Bouchard es un especialista en la educación para adultos aunque afirma prestar especial atención en conceptos como el aprendizaje autónomo (edupunk) en el contexto del aprendizaje en red. Otras áreas en las que ha profundizado son en la economía del conocimiento, en las nociones de capital humano y en el estudio de las políticas educativas.

Actualmente se encuentra explorado la dimensión teórica de las redes que causan tensiones o concentraciones de poder en ambientes supuestamente libres.

Para el canadiense Latinoamérica no es un sitio desconocido ya que tuvo la oportunidad de visitar Guayaquil en el invierno del 2005 y trabajar con una pequeña universidad local que culminó en una propuesta admitida por la Canadian International Development Agency, además en un periodo de 6 meses realizó investigaciones de campo en México, Cuba y Haití entre otras naciones.

El trasladarse a Ecuador no implica para el profesor dejar su actual situación en Canadá ya que como profesor investigador de su universidad puede solicitar permisos para que por un tiempo determinado pueda trabajar fuera de las paredes de su actual campus. El profesor asegura esta listo para empezar a trabajar en FLOK aunque si bien no terminará su curso académico hasta mediados de diciembre, propone que cualquier reunión importante puede participar vía online.

Bouchard se dice especialmente intrigado por la polarización que se ha gestado a partir del contexto del conocimiento en red ya que por un lado están las posiciones obvias respecto al acceso abierto y el sharing (compartir) en red contra el enorme esfuerzo para radicalizar la legislación en derechos de autor. También considera interesante la paradoja entre “la inútil acumulación de la investigación propietaria” y el acercamiento mucho más amable de las revistas científicas de acceso abierto y se lanza las siguiente preguntas ¿cuándo terminarán los ataques a este tipo de publicaciones en nombre del profesionalismo y el rigor? ¿son las publicaciones de acceso abierto de menor calidad? ¿que tipo de revisión o garantías tienen las organizaciones que realizan investigaciones propietarias que las de acceso abierto no cuenten?

Concluye afirmando que nos encontramos en tiempos interesantes en donde al estar en medio de la batalla aún hay mucho por conocer. “Creo que la posición de Ecuador será de útil para contribuir a estos debates” afirma, y hace el comparativo entre la economía cooperativa de principios del siglo XX como alternativa al capitalismo con los fenómenos como los microcréditos en línea, las posibilidades del acceso abierto y la apertura de los candados del derecho autoral.

-Conrado Romo

English versión (complete)

Name: Paul Bouchard

Bio: Professor at Concordia University, Montreal, Canadá

Job at FLOK:  Research coordinator: Human capabilities stream

Paul BouchardI am from Montreal, Québec, Canada. I am actually still living in the city where I was born. They say that Québécois people are the least mobile of North Americans, probably because we speak French and relocating would mean switching to English. In my case, I grew up speaking both those languages, so I guess I just still believe that Montreal is one of the nicest places to be. Except of course during the winter months, where the temperatures are routinely minus -20C. Quito sounds good in this context, eh?

I was a community youth worker in 1990 when I decided to go back to graduate school. Without really intending to do so, I was drafted into the Ph. D. program, offered a grant, and I graduated in 1995. I was fortunate enough to find a job at Concordia University, where I am still a professor. I was granted full professorship last year, 2012.

I am interested (and have published) in various aspects of adult learning. I have examined the concept of learner autonomy, particularly in the context of networked learning. I have also delved into connected topics, such as public policy on learning, the so-called knowledge economy, and the notion of “human capital”. I am currently exploring the theoretical dimensions of networks that create natural “tensions”, or concentrations of power in an environment supposedly free of such constraints.

I worked in Guayaquil, Ecuador in the winter of 2005. During my 6-month sabbatical, I wrote a joint proposal with a small university in that city that was submitted to CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency. I have done fieldwork in Mexico and Cuba, as well as Mali, Tunisia, Haiti, and other places.

As a research professor, I can request a leave to pursue research outside the walls of my institution for given periods. I am looking forward to doing that in the coming months in Quito, probably starting around January 15, 2014. I am also available to work online if need be.

For some time, I have been collecting articles, reports and opinions on the politics and economics of Open Learning. I have observed in several of my writings that the new context of networked knowledge has created a polarization between the obvious ease of open access and networked sharing, on the one hand, and a tremendous backlash effort to “radicalize” copyright legislation in order to stifle that movement. Another interesting paradox is the dubious usefulness of proprietary research databases, as opposed to the seemingly more congenial approach of open access journals. What then of the attacks on the latter in the name of rigor and professionalism? Are open access publications lower in quality for lack of adequate supervision? What type of checks and guarantees are available to proprietary organizations, that are not available to open access ones?

These are interesting times, as the outcomes of these struggles are still very much unknown.

I think Ecuador’s position could be a useful contribution to those debates. We have seen the rise of economic co-operation in the early 20th Century as an alternative to the failings of capitalism, and we are seeing now some exciting developments enabled by the new connectivity, such as online micro-credit, and “pools” of Open Access marketplaces to “unlock” copyrights. I am certainly no stranger to the predicament of the Andes region’s traditional bio-pharmacology in the age of GMO’s and gene-staking by pharma companies.

Versión en Español (resumen)