open knowledge

languages: ennl

Few people used to be able to afford to experiment and develop new knowledge. The resources to develop and share that knowledge were expensive and the potential market for it small. Patents, copyright and other intellectual property protections were introduced to make innovation profitable and stimulate development.

However, the growth of population and prosperity have meant that creativity is no longer of such scarcity. Moreover, with the digital revolutions of the 20th century, sharing knowledge has become easier than ever. It has also become evident that most innovative ideas build upon the work of others and are often conceived by several people at the same time. This is more than ever applicable in our network society

As such, we live in ideal conditions for the development of knowledge and innovation. However, while patents and other forms of intellectual properties once stimulated innovation, they now lead to the withholding knowledge and increasingly block the innovative power of society.

Technology is an instrument of power, whether it be fire, a vehicle or the internet. Those without access to technology have fewer possibilities, while those who control access can largely determine the playing field. The same applies to knowledge; as knowledge and technology are further developed, the differences between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ are exacerbated.

An additional sense of urgency arises from the simultaneous crises of climate change, collapsing ecosystems and a pandemic. It is no longer a problem for future generations. The only chance we have in resolving this matter is to start radically sharing knowledge now.