Monday, August 24, 2009
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.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I posted this on the blog at the national website of the Boston Tea Party recently to form a political caucus to spread the ideas of the Resource-Based economy. If you would like to join the caucus you can join the Boston Tea Party at no charge at the national website.
Due to the recent changes in my political ideology, I have decided to form a caucus that is in line with my ideas. This caucus still is in line with the platform of the Boston Tea Party, but suggests a different solution to getting us to the goals presented. The Boston Tea Party platform states:
"The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose."
This caucus would actually propose suggestions about how to remove the need for government entirely through the use of technology as a final goal.
The Resource-Based economy caucus:
The Resource-Based economy caucus is a caucus that seeks to bring about awareness of the advantages of implementing a Resource-Based economy. And to work towards that implementation. The definition of a Resource-Based economy as defined by Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project is as follows:
“A Resource-Based Economy is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival.
Modern society has access to highly advanced technology and can make available food, clothing, housing and medical care; update our educational system; and develop a limitless supply of renewable, non-contaminating energy. By supplying an efficiently designed economy, everyone can enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities of a high technological society.
We must emphasize that this approach to global governance has nothing whatever in common with the present aims of an elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations at the helm, and the vast majority of the world's population subservient to them. Our vision of globalization empowers each and every person on the planet to be the best they can be, not to live in abject subjugation to a corporate governing body.
Our proposals would not only add to the well being of people, but they would also provide the necessary information that would enable them to participate in any area of their competence. The measure of success would be based on the fulfillment of one's individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power.
At present, we have enough material resources to provide a very high standard of living for all of Earth's inhabitants. Only when population exceeds the carrying capacity of the land do many problems such as greed, crime and violence emerge. By overcoming scarcity, most of the crimes and even the prisons of today's society would no longer be necessary.
A resource-based economy would make it possible to use technology to overcome scarce resources by applying renewable sources of energy, computerizing and automating manufacturing and inventory, designing safe energy-efficient cities and advanced transportation systems, providing universal health care and more relevant education, and most of all by generating a new incentive system based on human and environmental concern.
Many people believe that there is too much technology in the world today, and that technology is the major cause of our environmental pollution. This is not the case. It is the abuse and misuse of technology that should be our major concern. In a more humane civilization, instead of machines displacing people they would shorten the workday, increase the availability of goods and services, and lengthen vacation time. If we utilize new technology to raise the standard of living for all people, then the infusion of machine technology would no longer be a threat.
A resource-based world economy would also involve all-out efforts to develop new, clean, and renewable sources of energy: geothermal; controlled fusion; solar; photovoltaic; wind, wave, and tidal power; and even fuel from the oceans. We would eventually be able to have energy in unlimited quantity that could propel civilization for thousands of years. A resource-based economy must also be committed to the redesign of our cities, transportation systems, and industrial plants, allowing them to be energy efficient, clean, and conveniently serve the needs of all people.
What else would a resource-based economy mean? Technology intelligently and efficiently applied, conserves energy, reduces waste, and provides more leisure time. With automated inventory on a global scale, we can maintain a balance between production and distribution. Only nutritious and healthy food would be available and planned obsolescence would be unnecessary and non-existent in a resource-based economy.
As we outgrow the need for professions based on the monetary system, for instance lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, marketing and advertising personnel, salespersons, and stockbrokers, a considerable amount of waste will be eliminated. Considerable amounts of energy would also be saved by eliminating the duplication of competitive products such as tools, eating utensils, pots, pans and vacuum cleaners. Choice is good. But instead of hundreds of different manufacturing plants and all the paperwork and personnel required to turn out similar products, only a few of the highest quality would be needed to serve the entire population. Our only shortage is the lack of creative thought and intelligence in ourselves and our elected leaders to solve these problems. The most valuable, untapped resource today is human ingenuity.
With the elimination of debt, the fear of losing one's job will no longer be a threat This assurance, combined with education on how to relate to one another in a much more meaningful way, could considerably reduce both mental and physical stress and leave us free to explore and develop our abilities.
If the thought of eliminating money still troubles you, consider this: If a group of people with gold, diamonds and money were stranded on an island that had no resources such as food, clean air and water, their wealth would be irrelevant to their survival. It is only when resources are scarce that money can be used to control their distribution. One could not, for example, sell the air we breathe or water abundantly flowing down from a mountain stream. Although air and water are valuable, in abundance they cannot be sold.
Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for the scarce resources. Money is a social convention, an agreement if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such.”
Key points of the caucus:
1. We intend to offer alternatives to the current outdated solutions that are simply not working.
2. We will work to expose the dangers of a profit motivated monetary system, and spread awareness of the various ways this system is corrupted.
3. We will work to spread awareness of the technology that could liberate mankind from the monetary system and the profit motive.
4. We will offer dialogue as to the flaws of Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism and why none of these solutions will solve the problems of mankind. And offer the research of the Venus Project as data of an alternative to any of these outdated failed systems.
5. We do not advocate the use of force or coercion, but seek to demonstrate our ideas to bring understanding of why we feel this is the best direction for mankind.
I am sure this will be somewhat controversial. But I have thought long and hard on this direction.
You can get more information on this subject by visiting the website for the Venus Project: