the Star Trek paradigm

[the following was a response to a comment on the exclusion of linux in schools and the importance of open source software in general, posted originally on Slashdot]

ever seen star trek? i'm not like an obsessed fan or anything. but i'm seriously seeing things go the way of the federation. from what i gather, the story goes: after a major third world war, where most of the human population is killed, a survivor builds an interstellar craft with a light speed drive... using the ship draws the attention of aliens, and the whole remaining population joins together to rebuild earth as a single peaceful society so they can effectively take part in a universe filled with civilizations much older than themselves. to do this they create a free society, where people are simply taken care of, and value is placed appropriately on ingenuity and hard work; a whole do what you can / get what you need thing.

aside from a little capitalism here or there europe almost made it to that point after the whole nazi fiasco; most of the major players there have universal healthcare... but for some reason they never made it completely out of the primordial ooze.

the web and digital technology has proved peoples interest in a free open society--well beyond any doubt. all we need is for a major nation to collectively take it's head out of it's FOR-PROFIT a$ and encourage people to make use of the cooperative business model so they can work productively in groups merely for the sake of producing better goods and enriching everyone's lives, instead of helping maintain singular entities which work to enrich the lives of themselves or those closest to them at everyone else's loss.

seriously, consider cooperative organizations, employee governed or member governed... it just depends on the service provided. most people don't want to get there hands dirty anymore and grow their own food, and if they're a rocket scientist they shouldn't have too... so most farms would obviously be employee governed. but than people do want to have a say in what is directly available to them locally... so grocery and retail stores would be member governed. who cares if it's a warehouse like costco or a huge retail outlet like a wall*mart, as long as it's a non-profit cooperative distributor it should be all good... and if something is found to not be good the group can find a way to fix the issue.

consider how wall*mart was able to exercise their power over the manufacturers to get the amount of murcury in CFLs lowered; imagine what a nationwide union of cooperative retailers could accomplish! imagine localized non-profit electric automobile manufacturers and cooperative mechanic shops, construction companies, temp and employment service agencies. furniture manufacturers and bicycle shops (with built in storefronts and repair centers), colleges, hospitals, insurance agencies, dentist offices... who do you give all your money to and get piss-all in return for?

a service providing business is the easiest to create as a non-profit cooperative; insurance agencies and money lenders should be a major priority for anyone who has a lot of money to play with and a philanthropic heart; then manufacturers--especially automobiles, or anything else that's mostly a direct to customer business!

start something... do it today!