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Interview: Peter Joseph on RT: Redesign of the Sustainable Society

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Today R.T. is talking to Peter Joseph, activist and filmmaker. He's the founder of The Zeitgeist Movement and has recently released his newest film 'Zeitgeist: Moving Forward'. Peter, thank you for joining us today. For our viewers who may not be very familiar with it please briefly explain what The Zeitgeist Movement is. - The Zeitgeist film series I'll first point out is my own creative expression and it carried over with an influence and inspiration to The Zeitgeist Movement through a number of people that wanted to start being active in social change. The Zeitgeist Movement overall is built upon the ideology of The Venus Project which is worth mentioning, the life work of Jacque Fresco. What that means is all of the work that he's done throughout his entire life as an engineer: compiling sustainable designs compiling ideologies, value orientations compiling ideas essentially that make us in tandem with nature. If we want to approach all the problems in the world, we have to think about it technically not through political parties or the acquisition or movement of money. It's time we just go straight to it because we understand it now. Science... I say that and people don't quite understand what I mean. I'm not talking about an esoteric view, but a firm, physical science of what it means to meet the needs of the human population. -You often talk about the problems caused by our current monetary system. How is it that by taking away money from the equation you really think we can eliminate such problems as crime and disease? - It's not just taking away the physical currency. It's the entire system itself. Let's make sure that's abundantly clear. When I talk about money I'm referring to the monetary structure and its holistic entity. Let's start with crime: 90-95% of all crimes are based on property. A guy will run out and steal a car that's worth $15,000. He'll get arrested and thrown in jail for possibly 10 years at an expense of probably $300,000. Just give him the car. It's inefficient, the entire crime and punishment so give people what they need and you'll begin to see that needs and wants start to divide. We live in a subculture based on wants. We create all these artificial wants. People want their stylistic and materialistic ideas, and the things they want to own and show their property and status: This is a concoction. Then there's needs on the other end of the spectrum. Needs are true, viable things and when people don't have their needs met, crime emerges. Crime is easily related to money and there's only one small percentage of really serious violent crimes and even many of those come from psychological neuroses. You can research the work of James Gilligan. They come from bad conditions and in a Resource-Based Economy, that is a very important issue. It's not just the technical management of resources. It's understanding that the entire environment has to be low-stress. -You also talk about our over-reliance on fossil fuels and how this will eventually lead to a financial collapse. What do you think that it will eventually take for us to to start looking at our energy issues a lot differently? Does gas have to be 10 dollars a gallon? - If you're born into this system or indoctrinated into it and you think the system is working 10 dollars a gallon might be the rude awakening it takes to get society to understand what's happening. - Let's talk about how over-consumption is affecting us in real time. Here in Los Angeles we're dealing with high unemployment unprecedented hunger. Does it really have to be this way? I think a lot of us over the years have grown to learn that there has to be some suffering in this world, right? - Capitalist, free-market system, I don't believe it's going to hold up for that much longer. I'm not a prophet but I think that it's going to show itself and people are going to begin to see that it's intrinsically flawed. The collapse of industrial civilization to put it very exaggeratedly because we base everything on oil is a very terrifying idea. I am not a doomsday theorist. I'm simply looking at the statistics. If we aren't adapting ourselves to renewables which we have plenty of: We just need a Systems Approach to energize them and get them going to change the global infrastructure which we could easily do if there was an interest to do so. It's a technical phenomenon. We don't need money to do it. We just do it. You know what I mean? If that doesn't ocur, we're definitely going to see more wars and extremely high gasoline prices. We're going to have a huge profiteering subculture. The collapse of society will be met with a huge profiteering group that are shorting all the interests, that are the owners of the goods that are going scarce because scarcity equates to more profit and that's another thing I think people should understand. There's no intrinsic interest in the whole of society for the well-being of everyone and there isn't going to be as far as I'm concerned a legitimate economic recovery. We're not going to see... The heyday of the human species, as far as I'm concerned, is over until radical shifts are made because of how important the hydrocarbon issue has been, and no one is doing anything to counter it. What we need really is a 'Manhattan Project' but for renewable energy research and without having to worry about limitations of corporations to get it done. To answer your question, there's not going to be an economic recovery that people are expecting. -But it was many poor and middle-class Americans who contributed to the victory of our current president. Is their voice not being heard? - Does anyone have a voice in this democracy we call America? It doesn't matter how loud someone yells or how many letters they write to their congressman or how much they complain very little can change what is set in motion by the very nature of the political system which is simple: It's appointed dictatorship, boom! Once they're in power there's very little any of us can do and since the entire thing is subservient to corporate interests through taxation and everything else you see that the political corporate interest in what John Perkins calls 'The Corporatocracy' is the phenomenon that exists. The public is always going to be given the short end of the stick and always has been since the divinity of kings. Nothing's really changed. We live in an advanced form of feudalism and nothing more. - In the past you've pointed out the dangers of our massive debt problem here in America. Do you think that this is an issue that's just impossible to resolve even with the massive austerity measures that are being proposed? - Austerity measures are an abomination a complete atrocity against the general population as all austerity measures have been from the World Bank or any other institution because the problem isn't the people. They cut natural gas programs, NPR things like education. These are the core attributes of human survival. They cut welfare. Why are they cutting that when we're spending a trillion dollars a year on war? Where is the logic with all of this? - In your film, you talk about how robots will eventually be doing all the jobs that humans are doing. To a certain extent that's already happening robots are taking the jobs of thousands of people. This sounds like a bad thing to those workers that are losing these jobs now but you think that mechanization will eventually be a great thing. -Technological unemployment has manifested throughout time. Every major labor change that we've had as a civilization has been based on the advent of technology from the Agricultural Revolution (the invention of the plow) to the Industrial Revolution (the invention of the power machine) until we come to the Information Age we have now where everyone is interacting with computer systems. The contradiction of capitalism by some economic theorists that investigate this idea that we're displacing ourselves with mechanization that can create more provide more, but yet reducing human purchasing power... What you have is the more we mechanize, less jobs less money in circulation, so how can an economy work? It's starting to stifle itself because of this very phenomenon. Technology is more efficient than labor. It's time to maximize that. Instead of corporations feeling that they would be providing a social service to keep people employed, we say "Forget the labor crippling system. We're in a different paradigm now." We can create an abundance on this planet, an 'Access Abundance'. We can have vertical farms fully automated off the coast of Los Angeles that could produce all of the organic food for all of Los Angeles. - You make the claim that our current socioeconomic system is just not working. For people who agree with you or want to create change right away, what suggestions do you have for them? - If the patterns and trends that I see continue: ignoring of energy issues ignoring the growing instability through society the naivety of the general population to think "Oh, everything is just going to be OK" these things will coalesce into what I consider collapse and it's a multifaceted, very difficult thing to anticipate and it won't occur in some big 'you wake up one day and everyone's on fire' it will be a slow grind of more unemployment extreme poverty, suffering, death, more wars more basic social instability, rationing of resources. People should boycott the major banks especially the banks that are part of the Federal Reserve cartel. This is a corrupt financial institution that has a cartel of private banks and everyone seems to think it's OK. People are beginning to realize that people in power are preserving themselves and they really don't have a genuine interest to help anyone else. I do suggest that people begin to be more conscious and try to find other sources of information. I happen to enjoy RT independent media, more independent media and get away from the dominant institutions. Imagine years ago when you lived in a society where all you had was a newspaper. There was no television. All you got was the newspaper in your front door. Imagine how easy it was for people to control what people thought. Don't ever join the military. Support the people that are there and respect them as human beings. When I speak to people in the military, I say "Just get out!" I keep respect for the people that go into this. I feel for them. The poorer Americans that have been forced, coerced by the economic structure to get money for college, and boom! They're thrown into this hugely detrimental psychological environment the shell-shock and everything that emerges the one in four veterans that commit suicide. It is not in our basic human development to just kill each other. I think that it really is a bad state of mind and causes more hurt than anything else and in the larger perspective geopolitically all it does is create animosity. If you took all the money we spend on war and applied it to renewable energies or applied it to anything social, you could resolve that problem in a second. If you took all the scientists that are currently developing weapons and put them on how to actually redesign a sustainable society... If you get out of hydrocarbon economy if you had people actually utilize the interests of the well-being of the planet and its human species, if we just simply made that decision instead of constantly trying to kill each other for whatever temporal purpose or resource, geopolitical alignment or whatever strategy of dominance happens to be the flavor of the month if we could just get away from that we'd be much better off, to put it very frankly.

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 56 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Russia Today
Director: Russia Today
Views: 290
Posted by: ltiofficial on Jul 16, 2011

RT's second exclusive interview with the Zeitgeist ideologist, economic activist and film maker Peter Joseph.

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