Monday, August 24, 2009

An explanation of the Venus Project's social direction.

The Venus Project advocates phasing out of the monetary system of exchange in favor of a resource based economy, wherein all of the resources of a given community are declared as the common heritage of all the community’s people. Like Anarcho-Communism and Anarcho-Syndicalism, the Venus Project advocates the abolition of the state, private property and capitalism in favor of common ownership of the means of production. Rather than focusing on labor as a means of exchange, as with Anarcho-Syndicalism and Anarcho-Communism, proponents of the Venus Project feel that the need for labor can eventually be eliminated entirely through automation. This school of thought holds to the idea that almost all functions previously held by governments can be held by machines in a manner similar to Cyberocracy. With computer networks that are designed with sensors to continuously gather data on the status of the Earth and react accordingly, this cybernated system would facilitate the rapid transmission of relevant information from the source of a problem to the people or automated machines in position to fix said problem, via a system of interconnected computer networks and automated information-sorting software. Human decision-makers would only be called into use in the case of unusual problems, problem trends, or through an appeal process pursued by an individual. It should be noted, that this computer system will only be used to automate the infrastructure of the society, not rule the people in it. People often pose the question, "what if someone hacks into the computer?"

Lets compare the advantages of an automated infrastructure rather then one administrated by people, and the benefits of computers over politicians.

Ok, lets say that your extreme situation takes place, and someone hacks into one of these computers.

The computer makes a better administrator, because it cannot be bribed, it has no ambitions, and has no mental weaknesses. It has no ego, and no agenda that it is not specifically given. If it is “programmed” to do something incorrect, then such a thing is traceable to it’s source. Particularly since we would advocate all actions done with any system like this to be totally transparent.

Now, take a politician. A politician can be corrupted by an untraceable conversation, a transaction with some financial institution, etc. When a political system with people in it is being used, tracing the problems is notoriously difficult. Ad campaigns come election time are very good at convincing people the person is a good candidate. Whereas with a computer it’s not corruption, it’s a technical error that can be easily corrected. Rather then listening to CNN tell us that a politician has an affair, we can just print out the computer's system history. And you don’t have to wait 4 years to replace the computer if it is not working properly.

Once again, it is important to note, that we are not talking about computers “ruling” people. The computers basically function to automate the infrastructure of the society. Rather then say, a sewage department of poorly paid state employees, or a private industry bent on cutting as many corners as it can in the name of profit.

When a sewer pipe breaks, sensors alert the computer. This computer does not have a fat pension, has not been persuaded by any lobbyists to contract some other company to do the job with a no-bid contracts. The computer alerts the automated systems designed for the purpose of repairing sewer pipes.

The sewer pipe repairing robots do not belong to labor unions that want absurd pay increases beyond what any infrastructure can hope to pay. They also don’t have managers who don’t care about their family outings and vacations. They do not get sick, or tired. And they do not get lazy to get paid more by taking longer to complete a task. They also don’t mind handling raw sewage. This is a plus.

Venus Project advocates disagree with the notion that many Anarcho-Communists hold that people will spontaneously commit themselves to labor for the betterment of the community, and instead seek to use technology to automate menial labor, allowing mankind to focus on researching and developing better technology to improve the standard of living for all people. The Venus Project advocates contend that education, housing, food and all other necessities of life could easily be provided through the intelligent management of resources and the proper application of technology. It is egalitarian in approach, utilizing the Scientific Method to find the best possible standard of living for all people involved in a given society. If you don't agree with the findings, you are still free to conduct your life any way you wish.

The Venus Project advocates reject any form of social class or social stratification. In addition, they believe that the environment must be protected through the use of sustainable and recyclable forms of energy and production, that all goods produced should be done so with sustainability and efficiency in mind to minimize waste and maximize quality, and that all communities should be as self-sufficient as possible.

This school of thought holds that capitalism and the accompanying motive to make profit too often lead to corruption and the creation of social class, leading to pollution, war, and the exploitation of the workforce. A major point raised by advocates of the Venus Project is the existence of Technological Unemployment, that is, unemployment created by innovations in automation technology, eliminating human labor at an ever accelerating rate, as employers seek to minimize their workforce, therefore minimizing wages paid from profits. Free Market advocates have long argued that technological unemployment is a fallacy, stating that any unemployment created by machines will be absorbed by the production of the machines themselves. However, people who support the Venus Project believe that most of those arguments were made in a time when technology was far less advanced than it’s current state today, where machines make machines. Venus Project advocates point out that the only labor force that can effectively compete with an automated machine is slave labor. That same conclusion has already been reached by profit motivated business professionals who buy their products from factories in the third world where working conditions are extremely profitable, but equally inhumane. The economic situation that is created when massive unemployment becomes a permanent state of affairs rather then a problem that ebbs and flows with time will be a disaster.

The Venus Project also feels that laws, force and coercion are not a productive means to effect social change, challenging instead that all behavior comes from the environment of the person in question. The circumstances by which people are currently defined as criminals would be examined closely to determine the root causes of behaviors, in order to determine how best to help the individual, so as to eliminate these aberrancies in the future. This school of thought holds to the idea that crime is generally a direct reaction to the scarcity of the necessities of life, or through neurosis caused by stresses of said scarcity. And that this can be overcome through the creation of abundance.

Personal choice is absolutely respected in this school of though. Rather than attempting to forbid certain modes of behavior, such as eating unhealthy foods or the use of dangerous drugs, research would be made public to discourage these choices, untainted by the motive to profit from selling such products. Education would be centered on the cultivation of creative and analytical thinking, empowering people to solve problems and provide solutions.

It also values the use of the Scientific Method and logic in all decision-making, stating that the best way for all of mankind to live the best life possible will only be clear through rational thinking that has been tested for it’s validity.

This concept is the work of industrial designer and social engineer Jacques Fresco of The Venus Project. Fresco has worked as both designer and inventor in a wide range of fields, spanning from biomedical innovations to totally integrated social systems. Fresco believes his ideas, some of which stem from his formative years during the Great Depression, would maximally benefit the greatest number of people.

Fresco was compelled by his childhood experiences during the great depression to find a sustainable society for all people. In pursuit of this he traveled to an island in the Pacific where there was little to no conflict between the native peoples present, due to an abundance of food and shelter. What he witnessed there was a society with an environment that rendered it almost completely free of conflict. With all of the people’s needs in abundance, there was no need for competition. Fresco then went on to research ways to recreate this effect in a modern world through the use of technology to create the same circumstances of abundance.

I hope some of this clears up some of the questions that have been asked.

1 comment:

  1. I think this article explains pretty well the Venus Project. It is very pro-freedom, it's sustainable, it treats machines as a tool to improve the quality of life, and it ensures the survival of humanity.
    It would be great if machines could help with decision-making. I had to dart in so many directions before finding a solid basis, and I think a lifetime will not be enough for me to know enough to make sound decisions least in comparison to a machine that can obtain pertinent data to make sound decisions at a blink of an eye.