An Intro. to a Resource-Based Economy [ TEDx - Peter Joseph ]
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Hello, my name's Peter Joseph and welcome to "Introduction to a Resource-based Economy". The goal of the following brief presentation is to outline the basic train of thought that arrives at this new economic model, which is based not on the movement of money, but rather the intelligent management of the Earth's resources, drawing inference from the physical world as to the most efficient, strategic and sustainable method for meeting the needs of the human population. In the world today, societal decisions are essentially the responsability of individuals or groups within the arena of politics or business. In fact, one could note that politics and business are the governing root entities of the social order as we know it, and, as history has shown, whenever anything goes wrong on the societal level, the tendency is for one group or a sub-group to simply impose blame on another. The left would blame the right, the conservatives would blame the liberals, a new administration would blame an old administration, etcetera. Yet, rarely do we hear any criticism of the foundation of the social operation itself. It appears to simply be presupposed by most. In another words, the culture seems to unconditionally accept the socio-economic paradigm without question and politics and business are assumed to be a natural human state of affairs. Even in a world of growing unemployment, growing poverty, growing mental health disorders, drug abuse, raw resource depletion, overall environmental degradation, violence and war propensities, sistemic global debt defaults, accelerating inflation, atmosphere of destabilization and many others social and ecological problems too numerous to name at this stage, there's still exist a general refusal to consider that maybe the socio-economic system itself could be at fall. What if the very game we play is really the problem? What if the very nature of the dominant institutions and methods of our time are actually creating and reinforcing certain behavioral tendencies which are, to put it simply, unsustainable and destructive, yet we simply don't see it? As time has moved forward with the exponential increase of human knowledge, we have seen a natural erosion of various forms of superstition and provably non progresive social practices. We are slowly entering into a true age of reason, if you will, which recognizes that there are, indeed, proven governing natural laws with direct physical reference and that this method of thought, which we can term scientific, allows us to extrapolate viable approaches to our conduct, which almost virtually guarantee a tangible return if, of course, properly assessed. This scientific inference is what has produced in fact the vast technology we see around us, from airplanes to life saving medicine, to even our understanding of the universe itself. Simply put, science is an approach to our comprehension of the world and ourselves, guiding us to the closest approximation of reality as we can possibly have. And of course, while we all see the obvious fruits of this method of thought and its vast applications, there is, however, still one area which stands virtually untouched by the scientific methodology; our social system. In this context, we appear to be stuck in time using antiquated, traditionalized practices which show clear signs of defficiency. For instance, we give dictatorial powers to politicians and political parties under the guise of something we label "democracy". Politicians who, on average, clearly have no education or training in the technical affairs of social organization. In a world where one child unnecessarily dies every five seconds from poverty and depravation, many look at government institutions for resolution, not really considering the scientific reality that feeding and caring for the people of the world is not a political issue, it is a technical one, resolvable by simple resource management and allocation and the intelligent, strategic application of technology. Likewise, we have these things we call corporations or businesses, which are able to arbitrarly claim property of the finite natural resources of this planet. Resources we all need. They utilize those resources for the betterment of an isolated group through a self-interest based system we call "free-market exchange". In fact, when it comes down to it, the message of this system is quite clear; either you submit to this game of differential advantage and self-interest, or you simply do not deserve the right to live. You must earn your right to life on this planet, if you will, which, to a thinking mind, is clearly a pseudo totalitarian construct to perpetuate one group or class over another. Yet, again, this inhumanity goes unnoticed for it is structurally built-in. We are born into this system and we are groom to think it is a natural fact, an empirical way of life, just as if years ago perhaps you were born into a society as an abject slave. Since you've never been exposed to anything contrary, you might even believe that you're supposed to be a slave, as though it is, again, a natural order of reality. And if we couple that fact with the monetary system based explicitly on debt, which, unannuanced to most, mathematically guarantees that a subclass of the human population would always be deprived, we begin to see that we live in an advance variation of futilism and nothing more. It is technically imposible for everyone to have their needs met in the current system. The economic game of differential advantage simply isn't designed to allow everyone to live and prosper. It is a win-lose system regardless of the state of the natural world and what we are able to produce and technically accomplish. Put succinctly, our economic system is completely decoupled from natural processes of the physical world. A characteristic which can only lead to further problems if a radical shift away from these outdated assumptions is not commenced. So, let's now take a large step back putting aside everything that we might have been tought about our social constructs and consider the following question: What are the inmutable foundations of human health and prosperity and how do we construct a system which meets those needs for the entire human population understanding we live, of course, on a finite planet while ensuring the sustainability of this habitat for future generations? To answer this question we need to first consider the issue of human need itself. For ions now philosophers had contemplated the nature of mankind trying to find those human universals we all share. This, of course, is an ongoing debate with many speculations. Yet, when it comes to the arena of human needs, we do find a a virtually universal set of commonalities amongst the entire species. Needless to say, if we do not get proper nutrition, food, air and water, we would cease to exist overtime. If we are exposed to substances which are chemically toxic to our biology, such as ingesting mercury or the like, we would likely get very sick. If we suffer serious vitamin defficiency as a child, there is a predictable, detrimental outcome for one's personal health, such as stunted growth or immunity problems. But, as human sciences have progressed, we find that human needs do not stop at this basic commonly observed level. Humans are bio-psico-social organisms, meaning we are affected by our environment, symbiotically, in many subtle and ofter complex ways. For instance, if a mother in the late stages of pregnancy suffers extreme emotional stress, flooding her system with cortisol or stress hormone, the nervous system of that unborn child could be predictably compromised in a negative way for the rest of his or her life, for the fetus itself technically is learning about what the world is going to be like. This also goes for infancy and early childhood as well, a critical developmental period where the organism is literally being programmed or adapted to the posible nature of the world they exist in. An impression which has been found to carry over for the entire life of that person in many ways. And if that critical period is met with negative stress, suffering and pain, that child's development could possibly evolve into predictable tendencies of behavior including propensities for addictions and violence in later life. The point here, with respect to human need, is that the physical, mental and emotional health of a person can no longer be considered an isolated or temporal affair. We are social and environmentally connected in a very real and multifacetive way and if our intent as a society is to produce psychologically and physically balanced human beings, the whole of society must be designed to meet those needs. Not to mention, adapt as our understandings change and knowledge progresses. So, public health in the broad view is really the ultimate measure of the performance of any social system along with, of course, the intelligent, sustainable management of the Earth which provides the core resources we need coupled aswell with a social arrangement which is actually conducive for a healthy individual to prosper and hence, the health of society itself and its progress. So, given this basic understanding, how do we go about designing a society that actually supports the human species while maintaining environmental balance? This brings us to the concept of a Resource-based Economy. A Resource-based Economy is a direct response to this natural, physical, scientific understanding infirentially derived to calculate how to best meet the spectrum of human needs in the most efficient and sustainable way taking into account what actually supports us, which, again, is the symbiotic relationship of this delicate, providing biosphere we all share. From there, we are able to arrange society with very little need for human opinion, if, of course, our collective goal is to maximize our sustainability and economic efficiency. The system that we describe is self-generating, it is self-evident, once these parameters are assumed. There are three dominant economic considerations which need to be considered inmediatly. Resource accounting, dynamic equilibrium and strategic design. As far as resource accounting, we live in a virtually close planetary biosphere with a set of mostly finite resources at our disposal. Given this reality, the logic becomes quite clear as to our responsability if we wish to allow our habitat to sustain itself for future generations and meet the needs of the current population. We must organize and account. Proper economic resource allocation really can not be made unless we have a clear understanding of what we have and where it is in a complete unified way. Eventually this understanding will lead to what we could call the carrying capacity of the Earth, which is very important information. But this accounting, of course, is only the first step. We also need to track the rates of change and regeneration where applicable. Here we have what we call dynamic equilibrium. The classic example of this issue today is deforestation. Trees have a natural growth rate and cycle and if our use of wood exceeds the rate of natural regeneration, which is, of course, the case today unfortunately, we have a problem for it is, by definition, unsustainable. Remember, as an aside, the monetary market model requires as much comsumption as posible to keep the growing population employed and the economy operational. This is, of course, simply ecocidal. Remember, a core requirement of a true economy is to economize or be strategically efficient and conservative. Today we live in what could be called an anti-economy. And this leads us to strategic design. Efficiently meeting the spectrum of human needs on a finite planet in a sustainable way means resource allocation must be optimized strategically and of course conservatively. Today this is not done, or you could say half, hazzardly done, through arbitrary monetary realizations. It is about what can be afforded by the producer and hence the consumer, not what the most scientifically efficient, strategic usage actually is. Not to mention, the issue of longevity of the given good and the method to be used for its eventual breakdown, hence recycling. All of these elements need to be considered in the initial design without the interference of the market system and cost-efficiency, which serve as inhibitors to sustainable design. Again, an economy is about increasing efficiency at all times, it is about doing what is most scientifically correct, not what some company can afford in order to remain competitive in the market model. We need strategic accounting, allocation and design as derived from proven technical parameters that asure maximum efficiency and sustainability. Anything less is simply negligence. So, resource accounting, dynamic equilibrium, strategic design sets the basic underlay for this resource-based economic model. So, let's now continue this inference. Building upon this, we can then arrive at the following more specific organizational points. First, we need to move from a growth to a steady-state economy. Dynamic equilibrium simply cannot be mantained in a growth economy for a constant growth is literally impossible on a finite planet. Two, we need a colaborative system, not a competitive one. Strategic design cannot be fulfilled when cost-efficiency is in play. In fact, quite simply, monetary efficiency is inverse to technological efficiency. Number three, we need a planned, designed system. A system designed to take into account resource allocation, dynamic equilibrium and strategic design, explicitly. The dispersed, haphazard corporate system does not even come close and the lack of efficiency and waste is simply unaceptable. Four; automation is put before human labor on all levels. This falls under the component of strategic design once again. Not only do we design consumer goods to be as efficient as they can be, but the very design of the production methods themselves to produce these goods needs to be equally as strategic to maximize accuracy and output. Unannounced to many, productivity is now inverse to employment in most sectors studied, which means it is socially irresponsible not to automate for it can help us generate, in fact, an abundance. And five, we move from a system of property to a system of access and hence the removal of monetary exchange itself. There's a very large difference between the current state of affairs today and the scarcity that was intrinsic in the past. We have advanced production technologies now which can enable what we could term an "access abundance" or a system of resource allocation which could enable universal free access to goods and services without the need for anyone to use currency. Rather than having a property based, investment approach, value approach, which requires hording and, in fact, protection, we design a system of interchangeable access. Like a rental or a library system as we might see it today. In a society where I, for example, might drive my car for only a few hours a week at most, does it really make efficience sense for me personally to store this vehicle where it will sit unused for probably 90% of the month? And if you extend that idea to the whole of the goods sector, the realization is that we can actually reduce production, create more efficiency, reduce the use of resources, while counterintuitively, simultaneously enabling more access of goods to the population when they need it. The term would be "strategic access". Now, I know for many it's very difficult to think about an access-based society rather than a property-based one given the materialism we have been groomed into, which serve to support the conspicuous consumption that perpetuates the market system and hence the demand for labor and everything else. But the efficiency of this concept, when all of those other requirements are removed, those false requirements of the monetary system, if done correctly, the efficiency of this approach is simply unparallel. Demand could be dinamically tracked to avoid access shortages and overrunes and using the most advanced forms of automation and distribution technology, the convenience could far exceed anything what 99% of the world knows today. Not to mention, a reduction in crime as we know it, by at least 90%. The bottom line is that money is no longer needed in a world that has an access abundance. Now, this conclude the basics summarization of the core attributes of a resource-based economic model. Is it perfect? Is it a utopia? No, but it would be cataclismically better than anything we have today which is continuing to damage ourselves, our environment and shows all signs of getting much worse. If you would like to learn more about a Resource-based Economy, along with the global organizations working to make it happen, please visit thezeitigeistmovement.com and thevenusproject.com for more information. I thank you for your time.
Duration: 18 minutes and 49 seconds
Country: United States
Producer: Peter Joseph
Director: Peter Joseph
Posted by: cdf83 on Mar 27, 2011
This is the 18 min video backup for the live March 21st, TEDx [Portugal] Talk by Peter Joseph called: "An Introduction to a Resource-Based Economy ".
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