WikiChains is an initiative “to gaze backwards through the chains of production in order to gain knowledge about the sites of production, transformation, and distribution.”
WikiChains is a website that aims to encourage ethical consumption and transparency in commodity chains. Contemporary capitalism conceals the histories and geographies of most commodities from consumers. Consumers are usually only able to see commodities in the here and now of time and space, and rarely have any opportunities to gaze backwards through the chains of production in order to gain knowledge about the sites of production, transformation, and distribution.
Over the past decades, the production of commodities has been globalized at a staggering pace, and yet our knowledge about the production of those same commodities has shrunk. The aim of WikiChains is therefore to encourage a different type of globalization: a globalization of knowledge that will harness the power of the Internet in order to allow consumers to learn more about the commodities that they buy.
The core activities of WikiChains will involve the setting-up and maintenance of a wiki website (www.wikichains.com). This website will encourage Internet users from around the world to upload text, images, sounds, and videos of any node on any commodity chain. All uploaded information will be licensed under the creative commons framework and made freely available. The hope is that ultimately a large enough body of data will be assembled to allow consumers to find out information about the chains of all mass produced commodities.
WikiChains will not push any particular political, ethical, or environmental perspectives. Rather, it is hoped that by simply facilitating the free flow of information to transcend barriers of time and space, the project will encourage consumers to be able to make informed economic decisions and be more aware of their economic, social, political, and environmental impacts.