Saturday, January 29, 2005

FLOW Project Proposal

FLOW Project Proposal

The FLOW Project (Freedom Lights Our World) is dedicated to making the world a better place by means of entrepreneurial endeavor and adherence to three principles:

  • Voluntary solutions rather than government-imposed solutions.
  • A commitment to human flourishing, well-being, and happiness.
  • Passionate, radical tolerance of different ways of life.

By means of adherence to these principles, we intend to promote peace, prosperity, happiness, and sustainability. For more detail see A FLOW conference was held in the fall of 2004 in which supporters of FLOW pledged $250,000 to launch the project. This seed money will be used to:

  • Support a professional, significantly expanded, community-building website.
  • Prepare for a public launch at a major national conference in May of 2006.
  • Support the writing and publication of The FLOW Manifesto by Strong and Mackey.
  • Create a logo and visual identity for caps, shirts, bumper stickers, etc.

Additional funding is being sought to create a campus movement based on FLOW.

In the past the Left has provided an idealistic framework which bestows meaning and value upon student activism, so that students can become active in a meaningful way. Hitherto, for many students the apparent message of libertarians has appeared to be “The effort to help people is pointless therefore you should DO NOTHING.” FLOW will offer an idealistic movement based on entrepreneurship-as-activism. A Cornell student surveys current student attitudes:

“The climate is overwhelmingly liberal . . more people are libertarians but don't know it. The students I meet are very entrepreneurial and personally responsible and want to do everything by themselves and start businesses and create things.”

We will direct this entrepreneurial energy into a Hayekian framework rather than allow it to be co-opted by the Left. We will start by means of a series of one-day campus events in 2005-2006 to be used to draw students into our community and to launch campus-based FLOW clubs.

The Proposed Campus Activism Project: Detail

The campus activism project will begin with four one-day campus events during the 2005-2006 academic year. The events will be publicized, fun, quasi-theatrical events. They will feature:

  • An introduction to the FLOW concept by Michael Strong.
  • A talk by a high-profile entrepreneur, such as John Mackey of Whole Foods.
  • A talk by a social entrepreneur, such as Hernando De Soto, Muhammad Yunus, etc.
  • A talk by a venture capitalist or foundation personnel supporting FLOW.
  • A talk by a classical liberal or libertarian academic.
  • A FLOW-moderated debate between prominent Leftists and FLOW entrepreneurs.

In the course of the interest generated by the conference, students will be encouraged to register with FLOW so that we are able to create an ever-expanding web community. The number of conferences will increase in the 2006-2007 academic year; the rate of expansion will be based on lessons learned. The FLOW website and conferences will act as a market-maker in idealistic entrepreneurial projects for thousands of ambitious and idealistic college students.

Through key partnerships (details avail), FLOW will emerge as a coordinated movement with:

  • Access to and expertise with thousands of freedom-friendly people on campuses.
  • World-class expertise on the institutional changes needed to allow entrepreneurs to make the world a better place.
  • World-class expertise on how to become a successful entrepreneur.
  • Immediate access to idealistic, multi-faceted global entrepreneurial projects.
  • Immediate access to idealistic, multi-faceted U.S. entrepreneurial projects.

The FLOW project meets several unmet needs:

  • The need for idealism.
  • The need to convey libertarian/economic ideas more effectively to more people.
  • The need for idealistic libertarians or proto-libertarians to have something to do.
  • The need to ensure that the existing movement towards social entrepreneurship moves in a direction consistent with institutions supportive of liberty.
  • The need to create an effective movement to make the world a better place.

With the help of the identified partners and prospective donors, we can launch a successful movement that makes a difference in the world.

The marginal utility of arguments about ideas is decreasing. FLOW seeks to create cadres of young people who have a class interest as creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the institutions of liberty combined with a sophisticated understanding of why those institutions are in their interest and in the interest of all humanity.