The Well-Field System: How China Pioneered Open Source 30 Centuries Ago
9 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2011 Last revised: 13 Jan 2016
Date Written: November 12, 2011
This paper draws concepts from the book The Mind Share Market: The Power of an Alternative Currency, by the same author.
The conventional timeline of open source often revolves around its etymology and start as a software movement in the twentieth century. While anecdotal evidence recalls kitchen recipes that have been shared at no cost since the beginning of civilization, no formal system has stood in between, where a private economy organizes shared and discrete resources. None except for a concept invented by Chinese philosophers in the 9th century BCE called the Well-field System. The latter, in essence, operates in many ways as what we call today an open source system.
This paper, for the first time, connects the dots.
Keywords: well-field system, open source, China, history, technology
JEL Classification: B10, D24, H20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation