What does 'FLOW' mean?
The name “FLOW” has two primary roots:
- An optimal state of human experience in which individuals are fully engaged
in creative endeavors, experiencing fulfillment, happiness, and well-being.
This state is articulated by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
means by which increases in the free global flow of goods,
services, capital, people, and information will accelerate human
progress and well-being.
We believe that the entrepreneurial spirit fosters the flow state, and entrepreneurial
creativity and innovation can create conditions that promote
sustainable peace, prosperity, and happiness for
The name FLOW was discovered by John Mackey after an early work session
in which more concrete, descriptive terms (such as “Realistic Visionary”
“Voluntarist Idealists”) had been considered and rejected.
Aren’t FLOW’s stated goals of achieving peace, prosperity, happiness
and sustainability in 50 years idealistic?
Yes, exceedingly so. Indeed, they are possible if and only if we
are able to obtain the commitment and cooperation of thousands
creative entrepreneurs who understand the role of freedom, property
rights, and rule of law, on the one hand, and creativity, innovation,
on the other hand, in creating a better world.
These fundamental classical liberal institutions first received widespread
acceptance in late 18th and early 19th century Britain and the
U.S. Not even the most wild-eyed
idealist in 1800 could have predicted the fantastic increase in
working class standards of living that followed.
Similar institutions followed in the rest of Europe in the first
half of the 20th century, and among Japan, South Korea, Taiwan,
in the second half of the 20th century, resulting in similarly
remarkable gains in the standard of living of the masses.
Today Chile, China, India, Dubai, Ireland, and the Baltic Republics
are beginning to implement classical liberal principles and
peoples to improve
their standards of living. In the last ten years Ireland has
moved from among the poorest of EU nations to among the wealthiest
of classical liberal principles.
What does FLOW do? What specific, real-world initiatives and
activities are involved in reaching these goals?
FLOW will create a community and public identity associated
with the idealistic principles outlined herein. We intend to
agents for the
good rather than to initiate projects ourselves. Some of the
ways in which we intend
to create and support such a community include:
- On-line community
- Participating in and producing events
- Catalyzing FLOW study groups and action circles
- FLOW books and other publications
How do I become a member?
Anyone who agrees with FLOW's vision and in non-coercive solutions toward that
vision are invited to become a member of FLOW and enjoy the benefits
FLOW and its members are committed to three
- Freely-chosen, mutually beneficial solutions to
achieving the FLOW vision.
- Active support for human flourishing.
- Uncompromising tolerance for all paths that
lead to the FLOW vision.
At this point, membership includes subscription to a monthly FLOW newsletter
and access to FLOW on-line discussion forums. In the future we
will announce additional membership benefits.
We invite you to join FLOW. Click here to register for the FLOW newsletter.
Why does FLOW emphasize entrepreneurial, market-based means
of achieving its goals?
Voluntaristic, freedom-based approaches to human
betterment can be orders of magnitude
than command and
control solutions based on conflict and coercion. These
classical liberal principles
their effectiveness, relative to other approaches to human
betterment, again and again.
A vignette: By the mid-1980s, a decent university in the
U.S. had more computing power than the entire Soviet
a result of
math, sand, and freedom. The Soviet Union had the best
mathematicians on earth and
plenty of sand, but without freedom, they were unable
to create a vibrant, innovative, IT industry that continually
and more amazing products
and devices. Critical to this act of creation was the
opportunity for young, untrained, uncredentialed, amateurs to
around with gadgets
own ways, to link together with other amateur geeks,
and to create organizations and seek funding under the protection
of laws that
rights and contract.
This vignette is a parable for all of life: In the fields
of education, law, therapeutic intervention, medical
more, when thousands
are allowed to create new and more wonderful ways of
learning, adjudicating disputes, and healing minds,
bodies, and spirits,
we will then see
solutions to our most
vexing problems that are orders of magnitude more effective
than what we have today.
Submitting crucial aspects of human existence, such
as education, community formation, and health care
is a certain means
of delaying progress
and ensuring that problems remain intractable. Political
decisions are slow, costly, and often based on conflict.
evolving, and more frequently based on win-win principles.
We want to develop cadres of creative young people
who look for
solutions to problems that were previously “solved”
by means of political conflict.
FLOW is committed to entrepreneurial, voluntaristic
solutions because we believe in the Creative Powers
of a Free Civilization
essay by this title).
How is FLOW different from other organizations promoting
FLOW supports all entrepreneurial efforts that result in
human betterment, be they explicitly “social entrepreneurship”
otherwise. We benefit
and refrigerators, birth control and year-round fresh produce,
computers and cell phones through the efforts of many thousands
resulting businesses. While FLOW recognizes that businesses
have not always pursued human well-being as consistently
in the past
ought to have
done so, on
balance FLOW recognizes that the process of creativity,
innovation, and entrepreneurship, whether implemented by
corporations, isolated individuals,
family businesses, or non-profit organizations have collectively
provided extraordinary gifts to humanity.
In addition to our much broader vision of “social entrepreneurship,”
FLOW has a more comprehensive, far-reaching vision than
is characteristic of
social entrepreneurship organizations. We wish to weave
together the work of existing social entrepreneurship
organizations along with the
entrepreneurs and businesses, policy analysts, thinkers,
and activists to create an integrated web of individuals
create a better
based on a realistic, effective plan. (Our “Open Source
Plan for Making the
World a Better Place.”)
Where does FLOW receive its funds?
From a diverse set of
individual supporters, including FLOW Board and Founders' Circle
Are contributions to FLOW tax deductible?
Yes. FLOW is a 501(c)(3)
here to see FLOW's
Status Determination Letter from the IRS. And here to see FLOW's Texas
Exemption from Taxation Ruling.
Where is FLOW based?
Our headquarters are located in Austin,TX. The FLOW Board and Executive Team are located across
located all over the
world. FLOW is constantly expanding and has a global netowrk that is growing by the day.
Is FLOW affiliated with particular political, religious
or other institutions?
No. FLOW members include individuals from an exceptionally
diverse collection of political, religious, cultural,
ethnic, and professional
FLOW members are united by a collective commitment
to the creation of global peace,
prosperity, happiness, and sustainability by means
of our core principles (voluntarism, human flourishing,
FLOW seeks to create a world in which we learn to live
and let live, in which we no longer seek to coerce
fear and insecurity,
support and tolerate difference based from a position
of fullness and love.
Does FLOW have a political agenda?
FLOW is not a political organization. However, insofar as we passionately believe in "liberating the entrepreneurial spirit for good," our educational
efforts may include examining ways in which we can reduce the extent to which individuals use government to coerce other individuals. The primary case in which new governmental structures may need to be
developed, within which the entrepreneurial spirit may then be liberated, pertains to those environmental "tragedy of the commons" problems in which new property rights systems may need to be created.
Why is FLOW concerned with achieving human happiness?
Does this mean the organization has a spiritual
FLOW believes that people by nature desire to seek
happiness and well-being for themselves and their
as each of
us seek happiness
for ourselves, simply by means of the Golden
Rule we should likewise seek to create a society in
to pursue happiness
well-being in their own ways. Given FLOW’s commitment
to radical tolerance, we nonetheless understand
are as diverse as
human nature. FLOW does not endorse any particular
secular, religious, spiritual,
or vocational path to happiness and well-being.
FLOW has tremendous respect for individual autonomy,
including the individual desire to join communities.
One of FLOW’s
to allow for
new institutional structures that allow diverse
communities to create ways
of living that allow
for ever deepening levels of human happiness
and well-being. Educational freedom will be
this aspect of FLOW
– the freedom for families
to choose the
manner in which their young people are educated.
"Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference." ~ Joel Barker
FLOW programs bring ideas to life by engaging people with FLOW-related Ideas, Community and Action.
Would you like to join us in liberating
the entrepreneurial spirit for good®?