I wrote this piece on an Open Standards thread at the My Social Actions site.
I don't have much knowledge about Open Standards in technology, except that wherever possible I use Open Source software. And I have talked casually to senior government and business leaders from around the world about the need for IT companies to break away from proprietory software and hardware competition/branding and to collaborate, if they truly want to create ubiquitous connectivity using cloud computing.
I'd like to comment on the idea of open standards and collaboration across all of society.
I think the Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' competition model our economic and social worlds are built on is leading us to extinction, dragging with us many of the planet's other inhabitants.
I don't believe we can afford to be participating in that model, at any level, any longer and the sooner large businesses and governing institutions can accept that reality and move into collaboration, the better.
For some more ideas around this, I'd recommend that people read Peter Senge et al's "Presence", which really is a distillation of the knowledge contained in most of the world's spiritual (not religious) traditions, especially in the indigenous cultures.
Competition is killing too many of us, and the fact that we still have to fight each other for basic life-giving and supporting resources such as food, water, shelter, clothing, moving up the scale to education and medical care etc, is a completely immoral and unjustifiable state of affairs in the 21st Century.
Juxtaposing the consumerism and waste of the west with the poverty and death in the east for example - where is the sanity in that?
It seems to me to be a completely irrational economic argument that the free market and competition are the mechanisms that best encourage prosperity. Capitalism, by its very nature, is exploitative, driving up the cost of finite resources with the winner being the person/entity at the end of/controlling the 'value-added' chain.
Its non-sustainable - look at the cycle of expansion and contraction, growth and depression - the system keeps imploding on itself and only those very few at the top are immune to the effects of that cyclical binge and bust phenomenon.
Look at the pyramidic wealth structure that exists in the west, notice the fact that 90% of the wealth is controlled by 3% of the population; competition actually costs incalculable amounts of money, resources, time and energy in lost human potential and 'ambulance at the bottom of the cliff' measures to contain the societal damage and dysfunction of a system which is in reality, the ultimate hybrid Pyramid-Ponzi scheme...
Remember the Reagan and Thatcher economic battle cries of the 80s - be patient and wait for the trickle down effect? Statistically and in real terms, people are worse off now than they were post WW2. How many years of economic decline does it take before people realise there never has been, and never will be, a sharing of the profits from the top down to the middle and bottom?
And then we have the nonsensical accounting structures we have in place in measuring costs and profits. Goods are sold at a fraction of the real costs of production. We don't count the costs of environmental degradation for example, and we seem to think it justifiable to pay some people less than a living wage to produce goods and services which then are sold at 200+% the cost of production.
Referring again to Buckminster Fuller, he estimated that the actual cost of production of a gallon of gas over the millions of years it took to form in the earth was more than $1,000,000 and he said commuting to work could not be justified.
There is nothing in all of this enthusiasm about capitalism and the free market about equity, stewardship, collaboration and sharing. And none of this will change until major businesses and governments turn their backs on the current paradigm, turn their backs on the idea of competition being a good thing and commit to equity and sustainability.