he social direction being proposed here has no parallel in history with any other previous political ideology or economic strategy. Establishing the parameters of this new civilization will require transcending many of the traditions, values and methods of the past. The future will evolve its own new paradigms, appropriate to each successive phase of human and technological development.
The answers do not lie in debate or philosophical discussion of values, but rather in methodology. Thus what is needed is an operational definition of a better world, which is as follows: To constantly maximize existing and future technologies with the sole purpose of enhancing all human life and protecting the environment.
Today we have developed the necessary technology to surpass the fondest hopes and dreams of any social innovators of the past. The fact that previous attempts at social change have failed is no justification for us to stop trying. The real danger lies in complacency. The only limitations to the future of humankind are those that we impose upon ourselves. It is now possible to relieve humanity of many of its unresolved problems through the humane application of technology.
The future does not depend on our present-day beliefs or social customs, but a set of values unique to its own time will continue to evolve. There are no â€œUtopias.â€ The very notion of â€œUtopiaâ€ is static. However, the survival of any social system ultimately depends upon its ability to allow for appropriate change to improve society as a whole. The paths that we choose will ultimately determine whether or not there is intelligent life on earth.
New Frontiers of Social Change
It has often been observed that common crises create common bonds. While people seek advantage during the times of prosperity, shared suffering tends to draw people closer together. We have seen this behavior repeated time and time again throughout the centuries; during times of flood, famine, fire or other natural disasters. Once the threat is resolved, however, scarcity patterns once again begin to steer people back to their behaviors of seeking individual advantage.
Sensationalist motion pictures such as Independence Day depict a world united for the purpose of repelling an invasion by a hostile alien culture. Indeed, it seems that the only force that would mobilize the world in a unified direction would be one that poses a common threat, such as a colossal meteor hurling towards the earth, or some other major catastrophic event. If such an event were to occur, all border disputes would become irrelevant in the face of impending disaster. While many would call upon divine intervention for salvation, all nations would surely combine their efforts and call upon science and technology to deal with this common threat. Bankers, lawyers, businessmen and politicians would all be bypassed. Every resource would be harnessed and mobilized, without any concern for monetary cost or profit. Under this kind of threatening condition, most people realize where the key to their survival lies. For example, during the Second World War, it was the collective mobilization of both human and material resources that lead to a successful resolution for the U.S. and its allies.
As the amount of scientific information grows, nations and people are coming to realize that even in today’s divided world there are, in fact, many common threats that transcend national boundaries. These include overpopulation, energy shortages, pollution, water shortages, economic catastrophe, the spread of uncontrollable disease and so forth. However, faced even with threats of this magnitude, which are common to all nations, the direction of human action will not be altered so long as powerful nations are able to maintain control of the limited resources available.
The prime conditions that would really effect social change will come about when conditions have deteriorated to such an extent that governments, politicians and social institutions no longer have the support and confidence of the people. What once worked is no longer acknowledged to be relevant. If the public were better informed, only then would it be possible to introduce a new and improved social arrangement.
The solutions to our problems will not come about through the application of reason or logic. Unfortunately, at present we do not live in a reasonable or logical world. There appears to be no historical record of any established society’s leader who deliberately and comprehensively redesigned a culture to fit the changing times.
The real factors responsible for social change are brought about by biosocial pressures, which are inherent in all social systems. Change is brought about by natural or economic occurrences that adversely affect the immediate circumstances of large numbers of people.
Unfortunately, the world’s outmoded social, political, and international order is no longer appropriate to these times. These obsolete social institutions are unable to grasp the significance of innovative technology to achieve the greatest good for all people, and to overcome the inequities forced upon so many.
Competition and scarcity have caused an atmosphere of jealousy and mistrust to develop between individuals and nations. The concepts of proprietary rights, intellectual property, copyrights, and patents manifested in corporate entities and in the sovereignty of nations preclude the free exchange of information that is necessary to meet global challenges. The European Union represents an attempt to bridge the present with the future, but it falls far short in that it relies on the crutch of the monetary system.
The ultimate survival of the human species depends upon planning on a global scale and cooperatively seeking out new alternatives with a relative orientation for improved social arrangements. If humankind is to achieve mutual prosperity, universal access to resources is essential.
Along with the introduction of new paradigms towards human and environmental concern, there must be a methodology for making this a reality. If these ends are to be achieved, the monetary system must eventually be surpassed by a world resource-based economy. In order to effectively and economically utilize resources, the necessary cybernated and computerized technology could eventually be applied to ensure a higher standard of living for everyone. With the intelligent and humane
application of science and technology, the nations of the world could guide and shape the future for the preservation of the environment and humankind.
There is no doubt that many of the professions that are familiar to us today will eventually be phased out. With the rate of change now taking place, a vast array of obsolete occupations will disappear more rapidly and more extensively than at any other time in history.
In a society that applies a systems approach, these professions will be replaced by interdisciplinary teams — the systems analysts, computer programmers, operation researchers, and those who link the world together in vast communications networks that are assisted by high-speed digital computers.
They will eventually lead us to large-scale computer-based methods of social operation. Social operations are far too complex today for any elected politicians to handle.
The Obsolete Monetary System
Although skillful advertisers lead us to believe otherwise, in today’s monetary-based economies, whenever new technology is introduced, the human consequences are of little concern to those introducing the technology — except, of course, as customers. In a monetary-based system, the major concerns of industry are profit, maintaining a competitive edge and watching the bottom line, rather than the well-being of humanity.
It does not serve the interest of a monetary-based society to engage in the production of goods and services to enhance the lives of people as a goal. With rising public concern regarding the greenhouse effect, acid rain, polluted air and water, etc., some companies are also beginning to realize that for sustained market presence it is in their best interest to heed social and environmental concerns. While such trends are commendable, they are insufficient as a method of solving the overall problems of waste, environmental degradation and unnecessary human suffering.
The monetary system has been a useful but interim tool. It came into being as a means of placing a value on scarce objects and labor. The monetary system, of course, replaced the barter system, which involved direct trading of objects and labor. However, just as there was no universal bartering standard in the past, there is no global monetary system today. Individuals and groups, now as in the past, still need to exchange objects and labor for today’s goods and services. The unequal distribution of skills, resources and materials throughout the world necessitates global trade.
Until the last few decades, the monetary system functioned to a degree. The global population of three billion was not over-consuming world resources and energy, global warming was not evident, and air and water pollution were only recognized by a relative few. As we make our way into the 21st century we find our global population at an exponentially rising seven billion, with resources and energy supplies dwindling, global warming a reality and pollution evident worldwide.
Planet earth is in crises and the majority of the world’s population cannot meet their basic needs because people do not have the means to purchase increasingly expensive resources. Money is now the determinant of people’s standard of living rather than the availability of resources.
In a monetary system purchasing power is not related to our capacity to produce goods and services. For example, in a recession there are jewelry and electronics in store windows and automobiles in car lots, but many people do not have the purchasing power to buy them. In today’s culture of profit, we do not produce goods based on human need. We do not build houses based on population needs. We do not grow food to feed people. Industry’s major motivation
The monetary system is now an impediment to survival rather than a means of facilitating individual existence and growth. This imaginary tool has outlived its usefulness. The limitations on earth’s population now caused by the monetary construct can be phased out. It is not money that people need but the access to goods and services. Since humanity requires resources to exist, the replacement system should provide those resources directly to people without the impediment of financial and political interest for their private gain at the expense of the lives and livelihood of the populace. The replacement system is therefore logically a resource-based economy. This global resource-based economy would be gradually phased in while the monetary system is phased out.
All the world’s socio-economic systems — socialism, communism, fascism and even the vaunted free enterprise capitalist system — perpetuate social stratification, elitism, nationalism and racism, primarily based on economic disparity. As long as a social system uses money or barter, people and nations will seek to maintain positions of differential advantage. If they cannot do so by means of commerce they will resort to military intervention.
Presented here is a straightforward approach to the redesign of a culture in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but totally unacceptable. This new social and economic design works toward eliminating the underlying causes that are responsible for many of our problems. But, as stated previously, they cannot be eliminated within the framework of the present monetary system and political establishment.
Human behavior is subject to the same laws that govern all other physical phenomena. Our customs, behaviors and values are byproducts of our culture. No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry and hatred — these traits are learned. If the environment is unaltered, similar problems will reoccur. These aspirations cannot be accomplished in a monetary-based society of waste and human exploitation. With its planned obsolescence, neglect of the environment, outrageous military expenditures and the outworn methods of attempting to solve problems through the enactment of laws, these methods are bound to fail.
The Earth is still abundant with resources. Today our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter-productive to the well-being of people. Today’s society has access to highly advanced technologies and can easily provide more than enough for a very high standard of living for all the earth’s people. This is possible through the implementation of a resource-based economy.
Simply stated, within a resource-based economy we will utilize existing resources rather than money, and provide an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all natural, man-made, machine-made, and synthetic resources would be available without the use of money, credits, barter, or any other form of symbolic exchange. A resource-based economy would utilize existing resources from the land and sea, and the means of production, such as physical equipment and industrial plants, to enhance the lives of the total population. In an economy based on resources rather than money, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all.
We must emphasize here that this approach to global governance has nothing whatsoever in common with the present aims of a corporate elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations in control, and the vast majority of the world’s population subservient to them. Globalization in a resource-based economy empowers each and every person on the planet to be the very best they can be, not to live in abject subjugation to a corporate
All socio-economic systems, regardless of political philosophy, religious beliefs, or social customs, ultimately depend upon available natural resources, e.g. clean air and water, arable land and the necessary technology and personnel to maintain a high standard of living. This can be accomplished through the intelligent and humane application of science and technology.
The real wealth of any nation lies in its developed and potential resources and the people who are working toward the elimination of scarcity and the development of a more humane way of life. A resource-based economy would use technology to overcome scarce resources by utilizing renewable sources of energy; computerizing and automating manufacturing, inventory and distribution; designing safe, energy-efficient cities; providing universal health care and relevant education; and most of all, by generating a new incentive system based on human and environmental concern.Unfortunately, science and technology have currently been diverted from these ends for reasons of self-interest and monetary gain through the conscious withdrawal of efficiency, or through planned obsolescence.
For example, it is an ironic state of affairs when the U. S. Department of Agriculture, whose function is to conduct research into ways of achieving higher crop yields per acre, pays farmers to not produce at full capacity while many people go hungry. Another example is the choice of some companies to illegally dump solid waste into oceans and rivers to save money, when more ecologically sound disposal methods are available. A third example is the failure of some industries to install electrostatic precipitators in their factories’ smokestacks to prevent particulate matter from being released into the atmosphere even though the technology has been available for over a century. The monetary system does not always apply known methods that would best serve people and the environment.
In a resource-based economy, the human aspect would be of prime concern, and technology would be subordinate to this. This would result in a considerable increase in leisure time. In an economy in which production is primarily accomplished by machines, and products and services are available to all, the concepts of “work” and “earning a living” would become irrelevant.
Perhaps the greatest aid in enhancing the survival of the human race is the introduction of cybernation, the electronic computer, and artificial intelligence, which may very well save the human race from its own inadequacies. Cybernation, or the application of computers and automation to the social system, could be regarded as an emancipation proclamation for humankind if used humanely and intelligently. Its thorough application could eventually enable people to have the highest conceivable standard of living with practically no labor.
Cybernation could free people for the first time in human history from a highly structured and outwardly imposed routine of repetitive and mundane activity. It could enable one to return to the Greek concept of leisure, where slaves did most of the work and men had time to cultivate their minds. The essential difference is that in the future, each of us will command more than a million slaves — but they will be mechanical and electrical slaves, not fellow human beings. This will end forever the degrading exploitation of any human being by another so that he or she lives an abundant, productive, and less stressful life.
A resource-based economy includes the redesign of our cities, transportation systems and industrial plants so that they are energy efficient, clean and conveniently provide the needs of all people, both materially and spiritually. These new cybernated cities would have their electrical sensors’ autonomic nervous system extended into all areas of the social complex. Their function would be to coordinate a balance between production and distribution and to operate a balance-load economy. Decisions would be arrived at on the basis of feedback from the environment. Despite today’s mania for national security, and subsequent intrusions into everyone’s personal affairs, in a worldwide resource-based economy where no one need take from another, it will be considered socially offensive and counterproductive for machines to monitor the activities of individuals. In fact, such intrusion would serve no useful purpose.
To further understand the operation of cybernation in the city system, for example in the agricultural belt, the electronic probes embedded in the soil would automatically keep a constant inventory of the water table, soil conditions, nutrients, etc., and act appropriately without the need for human intervention. This method of industrial electronic feedback could be applied to the entire management of a global economy.
All raw materials used to manufacture products can be transported directly to the manufacturing facilities by automated transportation â€œsequencesâ€ such as ships, monorails, trains, pipelines, pneumatic tubes and the like. All transportation systems are fully utilized in both directions. There would be no empty trucks, trains, or transport units on return trips. There would be no freight trains stored in yards, awaiting a business cycle for their use.
An automated inventory system would be connected to both the distribution centers and the manufacturing facilities, thus coordinating production to meet demand and providing a constant evaluation of preferences and consumption statistics. In this way a balanced-load economy can be assured and shortages, over-runs and waste could be eliminated.
The method for the distribution of goods and services in a resource-based economy without the use of money or tokens could be accomplished through the establishment of distribution centers. These distribution centers would be similar to a public library or an exposition, where the advantages of new products can be explained and demonstrated. For example, if one were to visit Yellowstone National Park, one could check out a still or video camera on-site, use the camera, and if they do not want to keep it, return it to another readily accessible distribution center or drop-off point, thus eliminating the individual’s need to store and maintain the equipment.
With the infusion of a resource-based, world economy and an all-out effort to develop new, clean, renewable sources of energy (such as geothermal, controlled fusion, solar heat concentrators, photovoltaics, wind, wave, tidal power and fuel from the oceans), we will eventually be able to have energy in unlimited quantity that could serve civilization for thousands of years.
To better understand the meaning of a resource-based economy consider this: If all the money in the world were to suddenly disappear, as long as topsoil, factories and other resources were left intact, we could build anything we chose to build and fulfill any human need. It is not money that people need, but rather it is freedom of access to most of their necessities without ever having to appeal to a government bureaucracy or any other agency. In a resource-based economy money would become irrelevant. All that would be required are the resources, manufacturing, and distribution of the products.
Take the automobile for example. In order to service the conventional automobiles of today, we have to remove a great deal of hardware before we can get to the engine.
Why are they made so complicated? This reason is simply because ease of repair is not the concern of the manufacturers. They do not have to pay to service the car. If they did, I can assure you, they would design automobiles that consist of modular components that could easily be disengaged, thus facilitating easier access to the engine. Such construction would be typical in a resource-based economy. Many of the components in the automobile would be easily detachable to save time and energy in the rare case of repair, because no one would profit by servicing automobiles or any other products. Consequentially, all products would be of the highest quality and they would be simplified for convenience of service. Automotive transport units engineered in this way can easily be designed to be service-free for many years. All the components within the car could be easily replaced when needed with improved technologies. Eventually, with the development of magnetically suspended bearings, lubrication and wear would be relegated to the past. Proximity sensors in the vehicles would prevent collisions, further reducing servicing and repair requirements.
This same process would be carried out for all other products. All industrial devices would be designed for recycling. However, the life span of products would be significantly increased through intelligent and efficient design, thereby reducing waste. There would be no â€œplanned obsolescence,â€ where products are deliberately designed to wear out or break down. In a resource-based economy, intelligently and efficiently applied technology will conserve energy, reduce waste and provide more leisure time.
Most packaging systems would be standardized, requiring less storage space and facilitating easy handling. To eliminate waste such as newsprint, books and other publications, these could be replaced, for example, by an electronic process in which a light-sensitive film is placed over a monitor or TV, producing a temporary printout.
This material would be capable of storing the information until it is deleted. This would conserve our forests and millions of pounds of paper, which is a major part of the recycling process. Eventually, most paperwork would no longer be required, i.e., advertising, money, mail, newspapers, phonebooks, etc. Enormous amounts of time and energy would also be saved by eliminating the redundancy of competing products. Instead of having hundreds of different manufacturing plants and all the paperwork and personnel that are required to turn out similar products, only very few of the highest quality would be needed to serve the entire population. In a resource-base economy planned obsolescence would not exist.
As we outgrow the need for professions that are based on the monetary system, such as lawyers, accountants, bankers, insurance companies, advertising, sales personnel and stockbrokers, a considerable amount of waste and nonproductive personnel could be eliminated. When education and resources are available to all without a price tag, there would be no limit to the human potential. People, provided with good nutrition in a highly productive and humane society, will evolve a new incentive system unattainable in a monetary system. There would be such a wealth of new wonders to experience, explore, and invent that the notion of boredom and apathy would be absurd.
Incentive is often squelched in our present culture, where a person dare not dream of a future that seems unattainable to him or her. The vision of the future that too many see today consists of endless days of mindless toil and a wasted life, squandered for the sake of merely earning enough money to survive from one day to the next.â€‚
To facilitate a global resource based economy, conserve energy, and have a high standard of living for all, it is necessary to build new cities as a total systems approach with built in transportation, hospitals, schools, housing, recreation and all the amenities that a highly technological society can provide.
These new systems would be planned from the ground up as sustainable, healthy and enjoyable places to live. As we are not separate from nature, the cities would be immersed in lovely gardens.
It is the vision of The Venus Project to make this all a reality. We propose the building of an experimental city to test the validity of these proposals as a stepping-stone which helps initiate and promote this new social direction.
If you are interested in this, or the major motion picture The Venus Project is working on, which will present these ideas to the world, please contact us.
To learn more about The Venus Project, visit www.TheVenusProject.com or see their ad below.