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Global Village Construction Set

The technologies are -

Progress Summary

The Global Village Construction Set - Products and services for a self-sufficient economy

Economy creates culture and culture creates politics. The politics we seek are freedom, voluntary contract, and human evolution in harmony with life support systems. Note that resource conflicts and overpopulation are eliminated by design. We are after the creation of new society, one which has learned from the past and moves forward with ancient wisdom and modern technology.

This is a real experiment, and product selection is based on us living with the given technologies. First, it is the development of real, economically significant hardware, product, and engineering. Second, this entire set is being compiled into one setting, and land is being populated with the respective productive agents. The aim is to define a new form of social organization where it is possible to create advanced culture, thriving in abundance and largely autonomous, on the scale of a village, not nation or state.

Here is a talk by Marcin Jakubowski on the GVCS at the 4th Oekonux Conference. You can download the slides and see a transcript here. First is an introduction by Franz Nahrada, leader of the Globally Integrated Village Environment:

A video presentation on the first year at Factor e Farm and the GVCS from 2007-2008 here.

And you can also view a GVCS slide show presentation for more information.



[edit]Collaborative Development Process

The open development process involves global contributions of content to a rigorously defined process for developing, deploying, and improving the Global Village Construction Set. The rigor lies in a template that guides the development through all the necessary theoretical and practical aspects of deploying a given product. The same template, or process, is adapted to deliver all the products of the Construction Set. The template starts with product definition and ends with economically significant models of production.

If you are interested in contributing to this wiki, your first step is a quick debriefing on the issues we are trying to solve. Please bring yourself up to speed with the background, project status, and action items as described in the Development Strategy. Once you read up on the current work and key issues being considered, you are in a position to make meaningful contributions consistent with the goals and progress of the overall project.

With a sufficient pool of technically-skilled collaborators, we aim to deploy the complete Global Village Construction Set in 3 years, starting at the latter part of 2007. The result is a formula for building your own village - whether you pursue our open source designs and business models yourself or with a group, or buy infrastructure components from providers, or buy an entire turnkey village infrastructure according to proven specifications. From that point, all you need is land and people to populate your village, and you are on your way to freedom.

[edit]Product Selection Criteria

The selection of 28 products is based on

  • Availability of a land or facility base
  • Essential contribution to an infrastructure for living and working
  • Essential goods and services of wide use and large markets
  • Provision of a robust village economy and sufficient surplus for further developments
  • Generative nature of the product, thus promoting self-replication of the village
  • Selection of a widely applicable and sufficient, but not complete, range of economic activity to support a community
  • Viability of a community on a village scale, perhaps 100 people, but as few as 2 or as many as sustained by the land base

[edit]Product Line


[edit]Enterprise Community Contract

We are proposing the formation of Global Villages in the form of productive enterprise communities that strive for unprecedented quality of life:

  • material abundance
  • freedom from bureacracy and unnecessary activity
  • total focus on one's true interests

For our particular OSE prototype implementation, we are interested in the following general essence of an Enterprise Community Contract:

  • 2 hours of productive activity daily, such that 100% of the community's food, energy, housing, transportation, and technology essentials are produced for subsistence, with surplus production for market
    • Agriculture base follows permaculture design, and includes production of water soluble organic fertilizer, orchard, nursery, and crops, as well as certain food processing and value added propositions
    • Flexible fabrication produces advanced technologies at the cost of materials
    • Cost of living is reduced dramatically, from $20,000/year in the industrialized world, to negligible income requirements, under the assumption of high-tech self-providing
  • Each participant undertakes a study program of full stewardship of the community, including:
    • Agricultural production capacity
    • Technological literacy to operate and maintain flex fab equipment and other machinery
    • Numeracy to facilitate design
    • Study of the mind and body to expand one's consciousness, skills, and abilities, and to disseminate such human augmentation widely towards eliminating mind control of the masses
  • Entry of new people can be negotiated by the new participants providing skills and productive contribution to the community
  • Beyond the 2 hour requirement, participants follow a research lifestyle to promote further development of the community or of the greater world

[edit]Enabling Technology - Salient Features of Technology Base

Without going into details, the main features for the comprehensive technology base are:

  • Hybridization of power devices - decoupling of power source from the working unit in order to produce electrical drive is a formula for increasing integrated efficiency of electromechanical devices such as electric vehicles, tools, heavy equipment, etc. For example, the hybrid car decouples the engine from its wheels by using an electrical generator to feed electric wheel motors. Note that this eliminates the clutch, transmission, crank case and its oil, differential, drive train, and other parts, and replaces these items with electric wire from the generator to electric motor. This is a huge efficiency leap, one in fuel efficiency, and two, in eliminating billions of dollars of industry which is outdated today due to the hybridization option. As such, we can talk of complex machines with huge simplification, assuming easy access to infinitely scaleable and controllable, low cost electric motors (these do not exist today). For example, we can envision an agricultural combine where each moving part is powered by its own electric motor - producing a leap in simplification and maintenance of the overall machine - as all belts, pulleys, gears, and other power transmission components driven by a single engine - are all replaced by electric wire. One can point to many examples where such strategy would provide leapfrog advance in device simplicity and maintenance.
  • Open source fab lab - combine and expand the [1] with xyz table as in RepRap (, and you can envision a robust fabrication device that integrates open source computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM). This device would perform a large variety of machining and fabrication operations, and would be producible at the cost of materials if metal casting is available. When deployed, we are talking of producing any advanced object or device at the cost of materials. Would you like to fabricate an electric motor for your personal transport vehicle? Here, I'll email you a file to make on your local village fabber. In practice, one could conceptualize a single or several Multimachines, with their milling-drilling-lathing functions, surrounding an xyz motion platform with interchangeable heads. These heads could include acetylene torch attachment, plasma cutter, CO2 laser, router, hot wire, or additive heads such as a plastic extruder found in RepRap. This overall fab lab concept could start with a basic machine such as the Multimachine, with computer controls and table added in time. As such, this is a realistic proposition - with supporting open source knowhow with significant advancement already available. This propels civilization to new levels of decentralized material prosperity, and implies significant reduction of resource conflicts, especially if material feedstocks are sourced locally - as in the next point.

Here is an initial Fab Lab design: Fab Lab.jpg

Here is a sample Product Matrix that falls right out of Fab Lab capacities:

Product Matrix.jpg

[edit]Sample Scenario

Imagine a village with buildings of dirt (CEB) with year-round greenhouses (sawmill, CEB, bioplastics from local trees), with all facility energy produced by a solar turbine, where people drive hybrid cars with car bodies (bioplastics) made from local weeds, with critical motors and metal structures (aluminum) extracted from on-site clay, which are fueled by alcohol produced on-site, on a wireless network linked to the greater world. That's just a sampling of the technology base. Food, energy, housing sufficiency. There are no poor among us - because we are all evolving human beings and farmer scientists.

[edit]Development Template

An Index for the Open Source Technology Template is shown here, including explanation of each heading. This template, properly adapted, shall be the famework seen when you go into any of the products in the links on top of this page.

[edit]Open Engineering Strategy

Here is a diagram of the engineering development strategy:

Engineering Strategy.jpg

[edit]Definition of Open Source Hardware and OSE Specifications

See the updated entry for OSE Spec here.

We like to be clear about the meaning of open, or open source,' as used in this work for items of physical production. By open source, we mean documented to the point where one may replicate a given item, without even consulting with the developers. To us, this embodies the most complete form of documentation possible, where sufficient detail is provided to enable independent replication. This is open source embodied in OSE Specifications. Other features of OSE Specificationsare:

  1. Freely downloadable documentation
  2. DfD, lifetime design
  3. Simplicity and low cost are of prime importance
  4. Replaceable components
  5. Modular Design
  6. Scaleability
  7. Localization
    1. Level 1 - product fabrication or production is local
    2. Level 2 - material sourcing is local
  8. Product evolution - phases and versions are pursued
  9. Concrete Flexible Fabrication mechanism exists for others to purchase the product at reasonable cost
  10. Open franchising - replicable enterprise design is available, and training exists for entrepreneurs

Thus, these features are meant to promote liberatory technology - open, replicable, essential, optimal, and ecological goods and services for humankind living in harmony with natural life support systems.

[edit]Working Assumptions

Here is a partial list of assumptions that we are making as we go about the development work of this wiki. These assumptions help one to understand our motivations and approach.

  1. Underlying dynamics of human civilizations are related to peoples' resource base. The resource base, and its control through the control of other humans, is the feedstock for power and its accumulation. Resource conflicts occur because people have not yet learned to manage the global resource base without stealing from others. In other words, society dynamics have not transcended the brute struggle for survival. As a society, we remain on the bottom steps of Maslow's pyramid. Transcending resource conflicts by creation of abundance, on the unit scales of few hundreds to few thousands of humans, is a present possibility under the assumption of open source knowledge flows and advanced technical capacities for material production.
  2. Today, most humans are controlled not by a commercial force (armies) but by information and social engineering that feeds the commerce itself. Understanding means of social control; understanding the mechanics of one's mind, body, and spirit; learning to discern mechanics of mind control and propaganda as they are used in controlling agendas; and applying learnings to meditation, expansion of consciousness, and evolution of one's awareness and powers are all crucial if civilization is to escape the control of commercialism and is to give up its dependence on a centralized, planned economy.
  3. Said propaganda and conditioning has successfully removed the notion of self-sufficiency as a viable means of livelihood. Most people are afraid of self-sufficiency and consider it a return to the stone age. Most people cannot envision that advanced civilization can be created in small (100-1000 person), self-sufficient, highly skilled communities. Furthermore, most people do not realize that it is possible to educate, skill, and evolve human beings such that an integrated, self-sufficient lifestyle option that promotes advanced civilization on a small scale of human organization is created. It it possible to achieve this level of excellence if people are taught real knowledge and wisdom, as opposed to undergoing global workforce training.
  4. Education curricula have typically deleted practical applications deliberately, to produce subjects of the global workforce. If education is reinstated then self-sufficiency will emerge as a natural option.
  5. Self-sufficiency is not an antisocial behavior, but a means to full individual and community accountability for resource conflicts, foul politics, and other corruptions of large-scale endeavors. (review works of Gandhi, Schumacher, Fuller) Self-sufficiency is a means to highest quality life by definition, one is in control of one's destiny when one is self-sufficient. The assumption of self-sufficiency is that its practitioners must be highly skilled, and not products of centralist education.
  6. By self-sufficient, we mean in full control of providing one's needs. Note that self-sufficiency refers to needs - those things that allow one to survive in absolute health - and not wants. Self-sufficiency does not imply a solo, isolationist endeavor. Self-sufficiency may be accomplished with the help of as many people as it is possible to maintain full accountability, transparency, and sound ethics within that group. This group may be dispersed globally. Historically, sociology of human settlements has shown that this scale of self-sufficiency is a few hundred people. (see E.F. Schumacher; other references)
  7. The State promotes well-paid incompetence, largely through specialization, such that subjects produce sufficient surplus to pay for their own oppression.
  8. Education, media, and social engineering programs have subjugated human integrity to passive consumerism, with its related problems (resource conflicts, loss of freedom such as wage slavery). The only way out of this is creating a framework within which humans can prosper: provision of true education, learning of practical skills, stewardship of land, advanced technology for the people, and open access to economically significant know-how.
  9. Import substitution is reducing dependence on external feedstocks and replacing them with local ones. People in control of their resources control their own destiny. Thus, to localize the essential parts of an economy completely is the prime formula for social stability. Localization should not be considered a struggle, but merely a possibility. It is a possibility that is not recognized because most people, as specialists, lack integrated technical literacy and skills that make a local economy feasible.


The Rubber Hits the Road: OSE Product Cycle

To deploy the technological items of interest, we pursue a series of 15 steps known as the OSE Product Cycle. We develop the technologies of interest one by one, and as the components become available, we add them to the infrastructure of our facility, Factor e Farm.

It is a great challenge to design a collaborative development program for creating a world-class facility for open source economic development. The first natural challenge is that we are asking remote co-developers to take interest in the project, without enjoying the full benefit of seeing the integrated fruits of the effort – namely, the building of the facility itself. We address this point by motivating the development of each of the 28 key technologies for infrastructure building as products in their own right. We divide and conquer, and propose the development of the 28 technologies through the avenue of explicit products that utilize these technologies. As such, we can attract stakeholders interested in particular products, and develop the key generative technologies as part of that process. We already mentioned that our endpoint is optimized production facilities for products.

The above paragraph begins to address the issue of gathering stakeholders for the development process. However, it does not addressed the various challenges that lie in the path of deploying the 28 technologies- the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS)- via a distributed, open source pathway. The key challenges and some solutions are proposed in Figure 14.


Figure 14. Challenges and solutions for deploying Global Village Construction Set component production for internal and outside markets.

The points of Fig. 14 are several:

  1. Synthesizing the entire Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) is an ambitious endeavor.
  2. If we are talking about 28 technologies, and perhaps a 6 month development period until optimized production for each, then there is no way that we could deploy the GVCS, and build a world-class open source research and development facility, within our proposed time frame of 3 years (2008-2010).
  3. The only way to meet the timeline goal is to proceed with parallel development of the technologies.
  4. In order to pursue parallel development, funding must be available to accelerate progress.
  5. We will pursue a bounty funding mechanism based on attractive product packages and clear definitions of deliverables.

A detailed, step-by-step process, or deployment strategy, emerges out of Fig. 14. for rapid deployment of essential technologies for Global Village construction. It relies on distributed stakeholder co-funding cycles of approximately 1 month in duration, utilizing a social enterprise internet platform.

[edit]OSE Product Cycle

This OSE Product Development Cycle is:

  1. Core Team: Assemble a core development team for each product. This team must serve the functions of: (1), social enterprise website development and fundraising management; (2), technical development; (3), strategic development; (4), review team.
  2. Ecological Review: Publish Ecological Review on website. This review introduces the product of interest and all its attributes, and requests feedback on product choice for meeting a particular service. For example, for renewable energy production, the boundary layer turbine with solar concentrators is considered. In this technology choice, we propose a certain set of deliverables, and challenge the audience to come up with a better solution based on ecological design and localization agendas. We provide the Ecological Review as a motivation for certain products, which is our marketing effort to attract stakeholders to our technology choice. After considerable review, we believe that our product choices represent the best available technology for meeting certain needs, as supported by the Product Selection Metric in this proposal, and as motivated by ecological features, ease of replicability, and localization potential.
  3. Product Definition: Beyond the Ecological Review we define the Product Specifications of the Deliverable. This fills the clear deliverables requirement of Fig. 14. This includes a timeline and budget for product delivery.
  4. Design Phase: Next, we produce a Design, BOM, Sourcing Information, and Fabrication Procedure. This is published on the enterprise website.
  5. Review: We then send the information from step 4 out for review. The first level of review is a technical review team. This team of about 5 qualified people reviews the (1) technological aspects, (2), social merit, (3), P2P economy effects, (4) Quality of Life merit, (5), merit from the standpoint of liberatory technology if production time is counted , (6) ecological and regenerative merit, (7), dissemination and replication potential. The results of this review process are then sent out to an external, distributed review team, to verify whether the technical expert opinion holds merit with non-experts in any of the fields.
  6. Bids: Three bids are requested from prospective fabricators for prototype fabrication after the design has been agreed upon.
  7. Fundraiser Recruitment: Now the fundraising cycle proper begins. The first step is to recruit a fundraising team. This team of 10 or so individuals who will lead a publicity effort to direct others to our social enterprise site to request funding. We are looking for a large number of stakeholders to share the development risk, with small donations, and a possible funding collection tool such as
  8. Fundraising: The role of the fundraising team is to identify potential stakeholders, contact them, and direct them to the website. We propose a week of conscientious fundraising by this team to collect the necessary funding. After 1 week, progress will be evaluated to update fundraising strategy. Details of disbursement upon successful funding are determined on a project-by-project basis, and are to be documented in the deliverable definition (step 3).
  9. Product Delivery: After a successful funding cycle of approximately 1 month, the building of a prototype (or other deliverable) is funded and product is delivered to Factor e Farm.
  10. Product Testing: The funding cycle is repeated for every step of the product development process. The step after an initial prototype is product testing. This may require certain infrastructure or outsourced testing procedures, and if costs are associated, this step will cover them.
  11. Prototype Optimization: The next funding iteration is to deploy an optimized prototype. This includes any redesign, and involves the fabrication of an entire device, from gound-up if needed, to document the ergonomics of optimized production.
  12. Fabrication Development: The next iteration is to deploy an optimized fabrication facility. This is probably the major cost step for all the technologies, unless the infrastructure and machining requirements are already satisfied by the existing flexible fabrication capacity at Factor e Farm. The goal is to have optimal production capacity for several or all of the products being fabricated at the same time.
  13. Fabricator Recruiting: Factor e Farm will provide an in-house fabricator (person) at the outset of a particular production effort. New people will be absorbed into the operation as soon as possible so that the Factor e Team could proceed to other products. This requires preparation of training materials and training time for the new participants.
  14. Fabrication Optimization: After a fabrication facility is tested, production results are replicable, and quality control requirements are met, optimizations are made to the production facility itself. This may include installation of additional equipment or reorganization of the work space.
  15. Production: Once step 14 is complete, production can begin in full. Orders may be accepted and filled at this point.
  16. Enterprise Replication: Once full production is in place, we will teach prospective producers via freely-downloadable documentation, on-site training internships, and workshops.

We will test the above 15-step strategy immediately by applying it to:

  1. The CEB machine fabrication facility development, with XYZ table developed as part of the program (components: CEB, XYZ table)
  2. Solar Turbine electrical generator prototype fabrication (components: Babington burner, steam generator, turbine, solar concentrators, Multimachine, electronics fabrication)
  3. Swing-blade circular sawmill prototype fabrication

The above projects are prioritized to meet our building (CEB and Sawmill) and energy needs.


You'll find a brief description of the technologies that we are developing at the GVCS tools page.

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