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Open Source Hardware

Can Open Source Hardware Feed the World? 231

jfruhlinger writes "When it comes to food scarcity in the developing world, one of the major problems is production capacity: land that could be arable using modern techniques goes underutilized because locals don't have the ability to build or buy equipment. A group calling itself Open Source Ecology is trying to solve that problem. They've developed a set of open source hardware specs for 50 different industrial machines, which they're calling the Global Village Construction Set."
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Can Open Source Hardware Feed the World?

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  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @01:06PM (#35857160)

    Worry about stabilizing the regional governments first and then worry about upgrading them to first world farming techniques.

    Keeping those who know how to farm alive and on the land they know how to farm will be necessary to make new equipment have any lasting effect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2011 @01:06PM (#35857176)


  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @01:14PM (#35857296)

    "Modern" farming techniques requires infrastructure. If the developing area isn't stable, the infrastructure to support the "modern" techniques won't be there or won't last so the area will still be dependent on outside aid to solve their food scarcity.

    Seed suited to their area (ie, local) and conditions (drought,heat,pest,blight, etc. tolerant) would be a better boon than machines they can't support for seed that isn't suited for their area.

  • by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @01:33PM (#35857630) Journal

    "In a visit to Ethiopia in 2009, I talked to more than one citizen there who said that the arability of the land wasn't so much the problem as not having the machines to farm the land productively. "

    This is completely ignorant. Read here [guardian.co.uk]:

    "In the late 1970s Ethiopia's communist regime nationalised all land, and private ownership remains outlawed. The millions of small-scale farmers work under licence from the state, and most plots are one hectare or less, which has hampered efforts to improve food security."

    Now the Ethiopian government is leasing out large scale plots of land to foreign farm companies, which will certainly produce some work for Ethiopians, but your typical Ethiopian still has no ownership of the land and thus no ability to use that capital to get loans for farm equipment, fertilizer, and seed.

    As Hernando DeSoto pointed out in "The Mystery of Capital" [amazon.com], every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly informal, extralegal land ownership to a formal, unified legal property system that allowed people to leverage property into wealth. This has not been done in countries such as Ethiopia (Egypt is another country with little rural private land ownership).

    Lack of private property rights and over-regulation and government ownership of business causes poverty. Enhancing private property rights and freedom to participate in commerce cause wealth. Even the Chinese have realized this (belatedly, after starving tens of millions of people to death with collective farming during the Great Leap Forward).

    Poor people around the world are not too stupid, too lazy, or too ignorant to be entrepreneurs and productive farmers. They are simply kept from becoming rich by government. They can solve their own problems if they are allowed to.

  • by Antisyzygy ( 1495469 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @01:42PM (#35857742)
    Private property rights and limited taxes on the rich's income sources also cause poverty because the end results is 1 percent of the people owning everything. Then us peons have to lease it or borrow it and obey their rules on its use. Its no different than leasing from the government, and frankly I think its worse. It hasn't totally happened here yet but its coming if we don't do something about it. True communism would work out just fine if people weren't people, i.e. selfish, and corrupt. Actually, capitalism would work out just fine if the same wasn't true.
  • NO. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday April 18, 2011 @02:03PM (#35858114) Homepage

    Right now most countries refuse American Corn and wheat unless it has been ground up int a meal or flour. Why? because Monsanto has polluted our food stream with it's copyrighted and trademarked products so completely that other countries do not want to allow the lawsuit ridden crops to ever be planted in their countries. Monsanto has sued most USA farmers out of existence that dared to plant a non Monsanto crop by claiming IP infringement when a neighbor crop cross pollinates theirs. and IF you dare to own a seed cleaner and keep part of your crop as seed, they will go after you and bankrupt you. Most other countries, including the ones that have a lot of starving people do not want this problem there. Monsanto owns the USA, they do not want them to own them as well so they refuse crops and seed from the USA.

    Want to feed the world? fight for the invalidation of all patents on food crops.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.