A. Post Background
On Facebook I reposted a link to this fairly new Forbes article Is The Venus Project The Next Stage In Human Evolution? (Forbes, Sep 2020) which has been making the rounds in the last few months. It is good to see the topic of Resource Based Economies (RBE) getting some mainstream media attention. I wish everyone knew about this topic.
In response me posting that article John Spritzler posted a link to a PDBR Boston article as a response – The Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement (PDBR Boston). However, my response was that I had serious issues with what the PDBR article said, although I did not have time to post my thoughts. So, I will post my thoughts on that article here, so that I can answer this for those in that thread who were curious, and, well, everyone else who may care about what I have to say, but mostly so I can practice screaming into the void. =)
John, who I believe is the author of the PBR Boston site, a site which I have seen posted a bit through Facebook. Although, I wonder if it’s because I am FB friends with the John? Not sure though. This is a site I have found some interesting concepts on, but I have not really taken the time to dig into it as much as I really need to. This is a man after my own heart – caring enough to put his thoughts down in blog form so he can repost his thoughts without having to retype them over and over again. I blog for much the same reason, so bravo to that! =)
B. My Experiential Bias
Ok, to be fair to John and his article, and to you the reader, I must disclose I have a significant biases regarding this topic which will, of course, affect my thoughts here, and I want to make sure you know what you are getting into.
First, I have been blogging about politics for a little over a decade, all of which you can find here on this site. I started with social sexual issues and religion, and then shifted to economic issues such as minimum wage and inequality. I am a member of the Green Party and a Bernie supporter too, so you can see where I am politically. I identify as an eco-humanist and I have my own policy site Interstellar New Deal if you really, really, really want to see where I stand politically.
Second, I found out about Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project (TVP) first in 2017 and was immediately blown away by it. I read their entire website. I read both of the free e-books that were available on their site. I purchased and read Jacque’s book, The Best Money Can’t Buy, as well as watched all of their documentaries too. I eventually volunteered a smidge doing some transcription. I even spent the time to copy the entire content from the website and from all 3 of his books, and have reorganized all of that content into topical areas so I can someday rewrite it all as book with my own thoughts and commentary so that others may learn from it.
At the same time, through my initial research into the The Venus Project, I had also found out about Peter Joseph and his Zeitgeist Movement (TZM). I ordered his amazing book, The New Human Rights Movement, and watched all of their documentaries too during that short period too. This was a mind-blowing birthday month!!
I did all of that reading and the watching of all of that content in the span of a week or two in Nov of 2017, which spurred me to write my initial post on this topic, The Cancer of Capitalism, which has been updated over and over again as my understanding has grown over the last few years.
If you want to know how important this topic is to me politically, then you would be interested to know that both of their main books are required reading for my policies.
I had know for a few years prior that money was the fundamental problem through my reading and research on inequality and economics, and everything else, etc, although I could not wrap my head around it because of the sheer magnitude of it. I mean, we are talking about questioning the entire foundation of Human civilization as we know it today. Both of these people and their groups talk about that issue, why it is a problem, and what the solution is and why.
I have also written a bunch more on the topic of Resource Based Economies since then too as you will see below. Here are all 145 pages of my RBE posts which start with The Cancer of Capitalism. Then you could go into the Q&A post which references all of the other posts within an appropriate topical context:
- The Cancer of Capitalism (30 pgs)
- Capitalism and Resource Based Economies Q&A from Facebook (Dec 2020) (31 pgs)
- Productivity and Motivation? (7Â pgs)
- How will a Resource Based Economy work? (9 pgs)
- Human Nature, Competition, Employment, and Housing (21 pgs)
- Some Technical Steps Towards Implementing (7 pgs)
- Benefits for Industries and Businesses (6 pgs)
- The Cities of Tomorrow (15 pgs – mostly pictures)
- How might an RBE playout, if it ever did? (19 pgs)
Ok, so, I know quite a bit about this topic and I have a bias because of it.
Whew! With that off my chest, let’s get into my comments on John’s article:
My Thoughts on the PDBR Article
I have not read really any of his John’s other stuff, although I think I will have to now. =)
I do not have time to tear his commentary apart quote by quote, but I will cover the 4 main issues that pervade his commentary:
- Fundamental Misunderstanding of Resource Based Economy
- Fundamental Misunderstanding of What Causes Global Problems
- A World Beyond Politics
1. Fundamental Misunderstanding of What a Resource Based Economy Is
A. Resource Based Economy Short-Take
The first issue is that he does not really understand well enough the The Venus Project and the The Zeitgeist Movement, or how they are recommending to accomplish the world of tomorrow. To be fair, this can be a very difficult to put your head around without a lot of reflection and research, so I do understand. For his “at a glance” he got a very basic idea, but there is much, much more to it that needs to be understood for a critical commentary like this to work well.
Both TVP and the TZM are both really talking about the same exact thing, but they are coming at it from very, very different perspectives which is something you could see by looking at their websites or reading their primary books: The Best Future You Can’t Buy and the New Human Rights Movement. I am not going to go into it all. My posts are linked to above and there are links to both books above in my in policy’s required reading (also linked to above).
Both talk about a moneyless society using technological advancements to set Humanity free from work, poverty, war and suffering. They both also talk about the root problems we have (monetary systems), why they are a problem (Tension), and what sort of society we need to evolve into in order to fix it all too (Resource Based Economy).
Perhaps, the key part for the people reading this post to understand (at least for the 3rd section below) is that a Resource Based Economy is also attempting to create a world beyond politics. How great would that be? No more 2 years long election season? No more two-party mudslinging and stonewalling? And, real progress and peace too?
B. The Venus Project Overview
The major strength of the The Venus Project‘s works is that Jacque, a brilliant and visionary engineer, has an amazing vision of what the World of Tomorrow could look like with amazing models and visuals; and why it should be this way with his unique experiences, research, clarity, and insight. He also talks at length about the issues we have as a civilization and how fix it too (without all of the references, studies, and statistics).
C. The Zeitgeist Movement
The Zeitgeist Movement approaches a Resource Based Economy from a very, very different perspective. Peter talks about the failures of human civilization from a very academic and technical place. His life-changing book alone has 57 pages of references to studies and statistics. He approaches things very solidly from systems theory – very technical and very fact oriented. If I could buy his book, The New Human Rights Movement, for every person in the world I would do that. Very recently I was also very fortunate to have been given permission from Peter to read his book on my Twitch live stream too.
2. Fundamental Misunderstanding of What Causes Global Problems
A. The Corruption is NOT the Problem
His “TZM doesn’t understand” section has significant problems because he does not address what the root issues are that face Humanity. He falsely attributes the causes while also really mischaracterizing TZM’s work, and in some cases he is completely incorrect.
Yes, corrupt leaders are a significant problem, but they are not THE problem. They are a systemic symptom of the root problem. He fails to dig down to really explain why the “elite” have broken values, why they create suffering, or how they even get their power to do so. Much like Andrew Yang said during the 2020 presidential debates:
This is why Democrats need to stop acting like Donald Trump is the source of all our problems. He’s a symptom of a disease that has been building up in our communities for years.Andrew Yang, Presidential Debates 2020
Now, I am not a Yang fan, but this statement is 100% correct, and I clapped and cheered when he said that. Our corrupt leaders and the system they have created are not THE problem. They are a symptom of a much greater problem which allows them to do the horrors that they do.
B. The Tension Within Monetary Systems Creates the Corruption
In general, John is definitely on the right track which is great, but he just needs to dig a little deeper and start to asking what causes that corruption of these “elites“, to have them do the horrors that they do, or to even have the power to do so in the first place? If you keep digging you will find that the root problem for almost all of the problems that Humanity faces is monetary systems, more specifically its Tension problem that I write about in my Cancer of Capitalism post. Here is an infographic I created for that section to get you started on this very important topic.
Now, his analysis about why these corrupt leaders do things has good observations, and I agree with them within his limited context of understanding. However, it is essentially impossible to remove that corruption, those “elites“, from power in the long term, because the system rewards if not demands that corruption, that inequality, that suffering, as well as those “elites” who make that happen. The existence of this corruption, exploitation, poverty, war and suffering is NOT a bug in the system. They are a feature, a symptom of the system working just the way it was intended with the concentration of wealth falling in the hands of a small minority while killing people and destroying the environment for fun and profit as the end goal. This is the way the system is intended to work.
This is all happening because the system, monetary systems, only has one morality or value – profit no matter the cost to Humanity and the Natural World. That’s it. All of the laws we create and all of those politics are just trying to deal with the inevitable result of that lack of real humanistic values visceral to the system itself. The system is THE problem. If the system does not change then the outcome will also not change because the system’s values make that corruption and all of that suffering an inevitability.
C. A Values Change within Monetary Systems Will NOT solve the Problem
Another graphic I created in the Tension section says that even with a tremendous values change, the corruption will always seep back in like virulent cancer. A values change will only temporarily stem the tide of the inevitable harm that is coming.
The only way to get actual long term change in order to create a better world for Humanity is to change to a system which values the Interdependence of Humanity and the Natural Word. That system is a Resource Based Economy because it gets rid of monetary systems and specifically embraces a values system that values the Interdependence of Humanity and the Natural World; such as could be represented as through my 8 Philosophical Pillars (8P3H). To learn more check out my Cancer of Capitalism post, and then the Q&A post to start.
3. A World Beyond Politics
A. Politics are a Symptom of a Broken System
I know that this very concept might be somewhat unimaginable today, because of how ingrained politics, much like monetary systems and Capitalism, is to us today, but if you are willing to consider a world beyond money, then how much further do you really have to go to consider a world beyond politics as an option? Ok, yea, that is quite a jump. =)
Politics, as we see it today, is a larger symptom of the root problems of the corruptions of monetary systems – competition, exploitation, poverty, war, and suffering – all of which are the result of a societal values disorder. The existence of a political process is NOT something that we should desire, for it is a symptom of a broken society which needs to be patchwork adjusted to prevent harm. A society with visceral eco-humanist values will not need those dirty words of politics and monetary systems and capitalism which hopefully will all be considered swear words, virulent pejoratives that will be the subject of the horror movies from the future while looking back to the broken and corrupt world of the today.
B. A Technocracy of Sorts
A large part of why neither TZM of TVP does NOT goes into the specifics of how decisions will be made (or not) is because we have no idea what the world of tomorrow is going to be like or what technologies or electoral concepts or social evolutions will happen when we get there, especially when we embrace civilization wide eco-humanistic values. The specifics of democracy or whatever is honestly far, far beyond the scope of this conversation or ability to predict.
A Resource Based Economy to me seems very much like a technocracy of sorts where those within their individual fields collectively will forge a Sustainable and Humanistic future world based on what science and human psychology and sustainability says works, and not just on what the populace votes for. Doctors will be in charge of medical stuff. Environmentalists will be in charge of environmental stuff. Mechanics in charge of fixing vehicles. The opinion of the populace on how to do a surgery, how to create a sensor network, how to sustainably harvest some fruit has nothing to do with anything and it should not. It would be like voting on if Climate Change or Gravity or Evolution were real. The people’s mass opinion would not be relevant.
Now, something to keep in mind here is that a core principle with a Resource Based Economy is a highly educated populace along with city centers that are universities and research centers. A culture of life-long education and learning will be present which will uniquely position each person to be educated and belong to professional or academic organizations which will have a unique sphere of influence over how their part of society is managed.
It is not that the people at large will not have input. It is just that the people will have very little reason to do so. For every project planned there will be studies done to see how it will effect Humanity and the Natural World, and such things as people’s desires will be mostly caught there because it is built in to the process to an extent. I also imagine there will be a level of indirect democracy where how the people chose to allocate their personal resources or through the projects they support will help to show what the public’s opinion is. There will definitely be times where input from the populace will be desired and that can be done easily through the ubiquitous Your RBE Life app where they could vote or comment.
I talk about a basic explanation of RBE systems management in the How will it all be Managed? section of my new Q&A post. Here is an excerpt from my just published post How might an RBE playout, if it ever did? which, in the spirit of things, is really general:
Ideally, the people that should be in charge of this process are those who best embody the values found in 8P3H and that best understand the vision, scope, and breadth of what an RBE is trying to accomplish, so, hopefully, by the time this goes down there will enough people who will fit this description.
Obviously, at every level (community, county, state, nation, continent, global) there will need to be Cybernation Process Facilitators (or whatever title) to help keep things moving and to make decisions during this insane process. Perhaps, for some positions there will be local, state, continental, or geographical elections perhaps through direct democracy or something completely different. Who knows what sort of options are available then. Maybe it can be done completely online or through normal in-person elections, maybe even a mixture of that and other options.
4. Intellectualism Elitism?
Again, there are significant issues with this section of his writing which is a massive misrepresentation of what both movements represent. I actually have no idea where he is getting the thought that either movements “have looked down upon ordinary people as being stupid and morally wrong”. He seems to be projecting his previous research into Socialism and Communism (from the article he wrote and he linked to in that section) into what he thinks TZM and TVP think of contemporary people. So, color me patently a bit insulted and confuzzled too.