Open Empire is a concept that has its origins back in the 1980s in questions I began asking of myself and the world around me. The Open Empire Foundation represents a vision that has come from that journey.
It took the first 10 years for these initial questions to crystallise and evolve into something more consise and concrete, summarised by a single new question:
What would it take for a civilisation to be truly ecologically and socially friendly and sustainable, such that at no scale – from the individual to an interplanetary society – would it ever break?
Over the following 2 decades I studied, researched, contemplated, and discussed a great many topics in seach of the answers – along which journey I invented many things, but never pursued the development of these inventions, because none of them individually provided the answers I was seeking. There was a central set of problems I couldn’t resolve, and about 15 years after the journey began, I ran into someone who provided me with the key to solving these sticking points.
What had me stuck, was that as I went thought the process of extrapolating countless scenarios in my mind, in order to see whether one idea or another was capable of achieving the benchmark objectives I’d set … I found that no matter how efficient any particular engineered object or process becomes at fulfilling its purpose – even if ( hypothetically ) every single human made object/process on the planet was designed at its theoretical maximum efficiency – the same problem persists:
if you have a growing population motivated by ownership and exploitation of property, whom are not responsible for the ecological and social consequences of their actions, you will eventually exceed the capacity of your planet, and there’s no guarantee any solution will arise before it leads to conflict, suffering, death, species extinction, and ecosystem collapse … because any efficiency savings you make in one area, become new resources to exploit by yourself or someone else.
This is particularly true if you’re poor or another species, because you are considered by the status quo as merely surplus resource inventory waiting to be exploited, with complete disregard to your own interests.
So this is where my friend ( nearly 20 years ago now? ) introduced me to the work of the late ecologist Howard Odum, and the principles of Ecological Systems Modelling and Thermodynamics … which I have to admit took me a while to wrap my head around, as it stood in stark contradiction to some firmly held beliefs at the time, and which I had to let go of in order to come to grips with it.
But come to grips with it I did, studying it a little more formally later, and giving it all a great more contemplation over the years. Around the time of these discussions however, it caused a rapid explosion of new ideas, and eventually led to me solving the problems that had me stuck up until that point. What you see here in this website, is just a small part of the work that has been done in the nearly 2 decades since that time.
I must note at this point, that the same friend is directly and significantly responsible for a number of general concepts and systems I am looking at designing. However he chooses to remain anonymous at this time, due to the conservative nature of his professional life.
Where the project stands today, is that I am working on building a skeletal prototype of the systems required to get it all off the ground, and looking at ways of getting funding to accelerate that process, but on terms which will not sabotage the very objectives I am trying to achieve.