Enforced Mediocrity

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One may claim that education brings everyone up - and that is true. But today's education is limited. By design, proprietary development of products and optimal education are incompatible. When companies keep their best practices to themselves in the form of patents and trade secrets, others cannot learn from them, and end up reinventing the wheel themselves. This introduces a tremendous quantity of wasted effort into the operation of societies. This is not an isolated incident - this is how the world works.

The above connection between education and proprietary products has a profound chilling effect on one's ability to become educated. First, schools do not offer cutting edge knowledge as a general practice: the cutting edge knowledge is in general proprietary. People who attempt to learn from best practice are discouraged - such as that one can even end up in prison for trying to copy someone else's design. How crazy is that? While some may favor 'intellectual property' - the widespread acceptance of this human construct is destroying human life and progress. We are currently in the stone age of innovation - as open access to the best knowledge is severely limited. Just think about how much better the world would be, and how products would improve - if companies collaborated in their design? If we address material security for everyone, then we can move on to solving other pressing world issues, move on to unleashing innovation, and move on to exploring the universe to find our true place within it.

Lack of access to know-how manifests not only in patents, but in subtle and direct forms of trade secrets. Those who are best in some field usually keep the trade secret sauce to themselves. Average creatives or professionals do not publish their knowhow openly. Mostly to protect their own ability to survice - a subtle manifestation of reptilian fear of survival.

We simply need to grow up - as a civilization beyond this jejune state of things.

To reiterate: quality, effective education is impossible when the world is based on proprietary product development. To solve this, we need to get clear that the connection between education and products exists in the first place. Then we must recognize the chilling effects of this condition, and abolish the scarcity mindset. That starts in each of us. The solution revolves around learning and sharing raw productive power - openly. This is obvious if we want a more balanced society. But open sharing of productive power - in the form of open know-how and design - is virtually nonexistent in 2020. It has happened in software - that is a good sign. Currently, the big players collaborate on open cores of code - with formerly antagonistic Microsoft now being the number one contributor to open source software projects. The same is inevitable for hardware, if we can transition through 200 years of proprietary industrial inertia.

The solution is to share best practice - by open source, collaborative development. This way, large gaps in skills and capacities - whether between individuals or countries - does not arise. A more level playing field is created, and a framework is created for prosperity in a more democratic society. This must be achieved before humanity engages on any honest effort to make a better world.

Transparent, open collaboration is core to OSE's work because of our recognition that in order to pull out of Artificial Scarcity - we must address our failure - to collaborate. This starts with a mindset, and is reified in a toolset - for open collaboration.

Note that the above is a first world problem, and that education is better than no education at all. However, the arguments above apply both in places where education is accessible, and where it is less accessible.