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Peter Joseph - Origins and Adaptations, Part I - Z-Day 2012

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Our next speaker, I know not a lot of you are probably going to know too much about this guy. He is the filmmaker and director of the Zeitgeist film series ... [Applause] and he has flown in to come and give you guys a talk. Here you go, Peter Joseph. [Applause] I have given a great number of talks the past 15 or 16 months. I'm getting really tired of hearing myself speak, and with that comes a kind of a general frustration because what I've been doing over the course of the past few years is taking the same information, more or less and moving it around and trying to communicate it in different ways, different angles to appeal to different values and different levels of education. Those that are familiar with the talks that I've given, there will be some overlap. [With] all the wonderful presenters we had earlier, naturally there is going to be some repetition, so please bear with that. Overall, to be a little honest, I'm a little tired of talking about this stuff, but it is all within good reason and formulating new ways to make this more creative and expansive, as I move forward. In the words of the late great comedian Bill Hicks "Pardon me as I plow through this shit one more time." [Hoots and applause] The title of this presentation is 'Origins and Adaptations.' Part 1 of 2, I'm afraid. Due to the time restraints here and the train of thought that I ended up working with to create this in the form that I wanted, I had to break it up into two sections, so there will be, at a later date, probably at the Los Angeles Town Hall where I live (we do these monthly town halls), I will do the second section of this. It's unfortunate I couldn't condense it enough, but I ran out of time to make it the way I wanted to. It will work best I think, in the long run, as two sections. As a whole, both sections (the 2nd section that you're not going to see today) this talk will deal with the root origins of our economic system along with the outgrowth of problems that have emerged. The focus of Part 1: to present a different angle of understanding with respect to the problems we see. The second part will discuss adaptation, change and transition, the way we interact, a hybrid economy. But again, that is for the 2nd section. We'll focus on this for now. The first section of this work is entitled 'Structural Psychology' which will walk through the evolution of our current economic social order and work to show how where we are today is not some unexpected anomaly or some unfortunate detour from a high-integrity economic practice. It is rather a natural consequence of the basic underlying assumptions that define the kind of economic model we endure today. I will also work to show that the value system disorder we have at hand, as rampant as it is, how the free market economy itself, as it's politically pitched and defended is nothing more than an imposed structural framework that reinforces these distortions and guarantees not only the reduction of social, environmental efficiency, on many levels, but also the reduction of human liberty and the ongoing empowerment of a very small subculture as a natural consequence. In the second section, 'Market Versus Technical Efficiency,' some of the core contradictions between the monetary market economy and the provable natural order of our physical reality will be assessed. The argument will be made that the economic system we have today is really a grand corruption in form and completely incompatible with the natural order of our physical reality. Part 1: Structural Psychology As noted earlier, a great deal of attention has been paid in the public media and in activist groups about the problems that we are facing as a world society because of the economic system we have. Issues, many years ago that we started to discuss, as I've mentioned in the introduction of this event, have been picked up quite rapidly, in ways that really blow my mind, which goes to show that the seeds have been planting and you never know where they're going to take root. From the wilderness we have been talking about these things, but it has started to come into the general Zeitgeist which is kind of the whole point, no pun intended. Yet, as recognized, as some of these problems now appear to the general public, there is still a truncated frame of reference when it comes to the important root causes of the psychology, the structural logic that's imposed by this system and the trends that, when you follow them, paint a picture that, really, is quite dire that unfortunately many aren't actually seeing. It is one thing to comment on the injustice of having 1 billion people starving or 1 percent owning the vast majority of the planets wealth, and it's another to really understand 'why', and how this is even possible. How has this happened, and what does the trend actually foreshadow? The fallback, as we all know, has been the blaming of the infamous 'they'. Everyone wants to blame somebody; it's the easy way out. The right blames the left, the economists blame the state, the poor blame the rich, and so on and so forth. The psychological and structural pressures that comprise human motivations are typically ignored. For example, when we think about the ruling class and what has now been globally branded 'the 1%', the most critical question is not what to do about the injustice of the circumstance; it is too ahead. The real question is "How is such a reality even possible?" What mechanisms have set this pattern in motion to enable the condition? Are the 1% a manifestation of the current system or an anomaly? Why is it that those in our legislative bodies seem to always come from the same pool of people? Is it really any surprise that our elected officials continue to hold up policies that support the very class they have been groomed or bred into? Is it any surprise that in a system based on social warfare, where the market is driven solely by the intent of personal or group gain at the advantage and exploitation of others, that those who are most rewarded by this system ethic often show characteristics of indifference and elitism? In a recent study by the University of Michigan entitled 'Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior', it was found that the upper class individuals often behave more unethically than lower class individuals. It appears that the more privileged people are in this system, the greater the tendency to lie, to cheat, to take things meant for others, to cut others off when driving, not to stop for pedestrians at crossings, and to endorse unethical behavior, than people that are in the lower classes. Hmm! I would contrast this point that many years ago ... in America, a big study was done that found that the lower and middle classes would donate their time and money to poverty and charitable organizations exponentially more than those that are very wealthy. More money (percentage of income) was donated and more time was donated, yet the wealthy have more money and they generally have more time. Interesting. John Lennon once said "Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we are being run by maniacs for maniacal ends, and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that." I would obviously have to agree in gesture, but the reality is that those in positions of power today only appear insane when their restrictive belief systems are compared to a more viable benchmark. Within the frame of reference they understand, they most certainly are not insane. Rather, they are a manifestation of an outdated societal reward and reinforcement system that continues to uphold and protect the structural insanity we unfortunately still call normality. So with that in mind, let's now quickly consider how our economic-political system and its defining values essentially emerged. It's safe to say that the Neolithic Revolution was likely the most profound social shift in human practice on record. It is in many ways the dawn of applying scientific causality for human utility, enabling us to better control our environment, not to mention understand it. We went from a natural balance with the regeneration of planetary resources, to one where we could cultivate and create almost at will. Consequently, this allowed for the stockpiling of food and tools, and eventually set the stage for what we know as trade, as one producer who has corn might find a balance of demand with another producer of wheat and then barter would commence. Then, once our nomadic ancestors slowly began to settle in fertile regions, establishing city and state systems, hence emerging the introduction of land rights, law, property and all the underlying social logic we clearly see today. Then with respect to trade, cumbersome barter was replaced by product values being represented by precious metals and rare materials. It then moved to paper certificates, then eventually to the introduction of banks, the digital revolution, where now essentially these abstract, empty structures house only digits on screens and pieces of paper that don't mean anything, in reality. Basically [it's] a religious belief imposed by culture that gives value to these symbols. The first thing to point out, one of my biggest frustrations when I talk to people that deal with traditional economics: The introduction of money was not just the introduction of a 'medium of exchange'. How many people have heard that "Oh, money is just a medium of exchange!" What does that mean? How is that possible? The introduction of money was the introduction of a new form of abstract property which had an inherent characteristic, excuse me, it had inherent characteristics, that were never fully realized, many many centuries ago. Adam Smith and John Locke, those notable economic philosophers, who essentially formalized the current system as we know it, likely never imagined that the most profitable and influential industry on the planet would eventually be in the realm of stock trading and investment, where money moves not for the sake of creativity or direct production but for the purpose of systematic extraction of simply more money. Likewise, we went from a producer class, trading the fruits of their labor with other producers, which actually did enable the unique form of human freedom and abstraction, to a system where those with high wealth concentrations (money) are able to detach from the producer role entirely, and instead buy human labor as a commodity. Under the metaphysical notion of capital investment, are able to exploit those who actually invent and produce for their own narrow, personal gain and power, even though they produce absolutely nothing. In other words, we went from a system based on a producer-to-producer merit empowering the individual and minimalistic simplicity, to the emergence of what I call, the ownership investment governance class (which I'll expand upon later) we see in the world today: those 'insane maniacs' that John Lennon poetically described. Sociologist Thorstein Veblen, notable figure, writing from 1917, made this very acute observation: "The standard theories of economic science have assumed the rights of property and contract as axiomatic premises and ultimate terms of analysis. And their theories are commonly drawn in such a form as would fit the circumstances of the handicraft industry and petty trade." In other words, simple systems of exchange. "These theories," he continues, "appear tenable on the whole when taken to apply to the economic situation of that earlier time. It is when these standard theories are sought to be applied to the later situation, which has outgrown the conditions of handicraft, that they appear nugatory and meretricious. The competitive system which these standard theories assume as a necessary condition of their own validity, and about which they are designed to form a defensive hedge, would, under those earlier conditions of small scale enterprise and personal contact, appear to have been both a passively valid assumption as a premise and a passively expedient scheme of economic relations and traffic." He continues: "Under that order of handicraft and petty trade that led to the standardization of these rights of ownership in the ... accentuated form which belonged to them in modern law and custom, the common man had a practicable chance of free initiative and self-direction in his choice, in pursuit of an occupation and a livelihood; insofar as rights of the ownership bore in his case. However, this complexion of things as touches the effectual bearing of the institution of property, and the ancient customary rights of ownership, has changed substantially. The competitive system has in great measure ceased to operate as a routine of natural liberty, in fact, particularly insofar as touches the fortunes of the common man. And, as would be expected, the change in popular conceptions has not kept pace with the changing circumstances. On the transition to machine technology the plant became the unit of operation and control has clearly come to be not the individual or even isolated plant, but rather an articulated group of such plants working together, under a collective business management, and coincidentally the individual workman has been falling into the position of an auxiliary factor, nearly into that of an article of supply, to be charged up as an item of operating expense, so that at this point, the right of ownership has ceased to be, in fact a guarantee of personal liberty to the common man and has come to be, or is coming to be, a guarantee of dependence." He wrote that in 1917. This assessment by Veblen is really critical to understand, as it underscores what is the growth of an abstract economic premise of ownership with a shift of power from the general worker producer class to the investment and ownership business class, which are in effect a perversion of the producer concept. As these roles literally, again, contribute nothing to the technical, artistic or scientific basis of industry. The introduction of money as a commodity is the source of this perversion. So, remember that when someone says "Money's just a medium of exchange!" As would be expected, due to the power now yielded by this ownership investment class, we now have a governance entity which not only operates as a manifestation of values of competition and ownership but naturally pulls the vast majority of its governance constituents from the very same wealth, business and ownership pool, not to mention operate with a broad collusion between the state and the corporate institution, in effect merging the state and the corporate structure into one, as we clearly see across the world today. On this issue of the ownership class and hence its inevitable morphing into the governance class, Veblen states: "The responsible officials and their chief administrative officers, as so much as may at all reasonably be called 'government' or 'administration', (I love early English bourgeois smart ass) are invariably and characteristically drawn from these beneficiary classes, nobles, gentlemen or businessmen, which all come to the same thing for the purpose in hand: the point of it all being that the common man does not come within these precincts and does not share in these councils that are assumed to guide the destiny of the nations." He adds with respect to the legislative legal orientation to which these beneficiary classes, defined by the ownership/investment values, are in control of: "There is a strong and stubborn material interest bound up with the maintenance of pecuniary faith (that means money) [and] the class in whom this material interest vests are also, in effect, invested with the coercive powers of the law." Which means, you're basically double-screwed. So: where are we now? Today, I am sorry to say, we have little more than a covert system of slavery, which not only motivates people and groups to directly exploit for their preservation and expansion, [but] the very construct of social operation, government and law has evolved to preserve the integrity of the established elitist power structure and values as well. I call this 'structural classism' which is derived from an old phrase used in the 1960s by an activist named Stokely Carmichael called 'Institutional Racism'. Structural classism really is a racist institution, as I'll describe. Only this time the oppression is based on monetary social status, not the color of your skin. Some quick examples of this are debt and interest, capital gains, pay scales and credit rankings. Really quickly, the debt and interest system is the most powerful driver of structural classism, for money is made out of debt and interest is charged as a fee, ... excuse me, and that interest doesn't exist in the money supply outright. Since the low and middle classes are the ones who need to take interest-bearing loans to afford cars, homes and education, the vast majority of people are put into positions of imposed scarcity, with the pressures of debt constantly reaffirming their class status and hence lack of social mobility, not to mention that the interest charged for those loans are then often paid to the upper class, who might invest their free cash into CDs [Certificate of Deposit] or the like, in a financial institution, making money off the interest while the poor pay it. You don't get much more structurally biased than that. Capital gains, which is the profit generated from investment in the stock market is likely a key source of income disparity in the West, hence class permanence. The top 1/10, 0.1 percent, 1/10 of a percent earns 50% of all capital gains today. And according to Forbes, capital gains make up to 60% of the income made by those in the Forbes 400. That's enormous! The top 400 richest people in America make 60% of their money through the capital gains that they get from the stock market. That's ridiculous! In other words, the art of turning money into more money, in the stock market, this rich man's game that has been invented by them for their own purposes, really is the most massive driver of inequity and class division, and it is built into the design. The stock market should have been shut down a long time ago. [Applause] And pay scales: Pay scales via the corporate pyramid are also astounding and irrational. Top CEOs in the financial service sector now take home hundreds of millions of dollars a year still. If you were to compare the shift in pay scales as you examine the corporate ladder, the multiplier is truly astounding and baseless as far as merit. A study done by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives found that Canada's top CEOs make an average worker's yearly salary in 3 hours!! It's even worse in America, naturally. [chuckles from audience] A final issue I'll address on this, regarding structural classism, has to do with the credit system which is pretty much universal. Those in the lower and middle classes are always under the benchmark, for the cost of survival in terms of their available cash. In homes, education, cars, no one has the type of money to pay outright for this in those lower classes, so credit must be used; and once any error of judgment emerges, or money is not available for a bill that is due, the possibility of affecting one's credit negatively becomes more and more probable (very common with hospital bills for example, which is a leading cause for bankruptcy in America) and once it's tarnished it becomes a self-feeding feedback loop. I've seen this with numerous friends of mine, once they get a little bit inhibited, they can't get above water and it's one big massive spiral and they end up at the bottom of their credit with very little options in the way they conduct their financial life. It's structurally classed. I can provide many more examples of this, but I think you get the point: The structure of this system benefits the ownership/investment governance class, continually securing the financial well-being of the wealthy elite, while systematically inhibiting the well-being of the lower and middle classes to keep them in their place, if you will. Back to my main point: What did you all expect? The structurally-induced psychology inherent to a system based on competition, where some win and some loose, logically leads to levels of protection that transcend the market itself and move into affecting the regulation or governance of society, as a whole, as a form of market strategy and preservation. Why not? After all it's the free market, right? Who says lines have to be drawn? If I believe in competition and a philosophy that some will win, some will loose, I seek my own best interest; that's the game. Then, I would have personally no problem working to alter the very structure of society to support and reinforce my security, as the way I choose to operate. It's a natural progression, so the things we see as far as government collusion, we shouldn't be surprised whatsoever. In conclusion of this section, as an aside, I would like to add that if I was indeed a wealthy elitist, groomed into a value system that I must be better than everyone else in the world to justify the fruits of what I've been given, for whatever reason, the great wealth and privilege that you see, I would like nothing more than the impecunious masses to think that the Free Market was the only way for their liberty and freedom. It's a perfect structural scam, for the entire economic system, by its very core philosophy, inherently supports the higher classes and condemns the lower. [Applause] Thank you. Section 2: Market vs. Technical Efficiency In the prior section we quickly glossed over how the market economy has undergone a natural evolution where the benefits it used to have in a more simple period of human history are deeply overshadowed by the misaligned philosophy that was inherent to its root premise. It was just a matter of time, through technological means, other developments, that the result would be a covert, structured oppression that can only continue the division of society with more social imbalance and unfortunately, destabilization. Now I would like to take a look at the foundational practice of the market economy in a more physical science context and consider how those attributes that are inherent to it are environmentally disconnected, decoupled from the natural world as it actually exists, as science has taught us. The context is 'efficiency', and there are two opposing systems at work. The first one we will call 'market efficiency' which has to do with the fluid operation of the monetary market system and abstraction, while the second is 'technical efficiency' which has to do with the physical natural laws and how we best align with the environment for our own sustainability. I'd like to first remind ourselves what an economy is supposed to be by definition in early Greek. It means the management of a household, and being efficient with that management, hence reducing waste. Keep that in mind. For the sake of the comparison I'm about to make, I want to define my terms for clarity, and I'm mixing this up a little bit: We often use the term Resource-Based Economy, which is perfectly applicable. [but] Resource-Based Economy (RBE) can sometimes be semantically construed for people to use it in very weird contexts because they think, for example "Monetary economy is resource-based because you use resources," or they think that a RBE would be a gold standard economy or something like that, so I prefer the term, at least at this point in time, 'the Natural Law Economy' because it is referencing scientific natural law. This would be essentially defined as follows if it was actually in practice: "Decisions are directly based upon scientific understandings as they relate to optimized habitat management and human health. Production and distribution is regulated by the most technically efficient and sustainable approaches known." Very simple. Market Economy, as it is practiced today, would be defined as follows, in operation: "Decisions are based on independent human actions, through the vehicle of monetary exchange regulated by the pressures of supply and demand. Production and distribution is enabled by the buying and selling of labor and material provisions, with the motivations of the personal group (competitive self-interest) as the defining attribute of unfolding and initiation. Here are 7 economic attributes that each economic [system] shares in a certain contextual comparison, all of which I'm going to address one by one. I will add that the asterisks at the bottom have to do with issues that relate to the advancement in science and technology and social science also, which is naturally a part of a scientifically-oriented system where you're paying attention to what we understand about human health and you adapt the system accordingly to maintain good public health or advanced technology (you get the idea), and this will become more clear as we proceed. Point 1: Consumption Market economy is driven by consumption. That is the fuel. That's what keeps you employed. That's what keeps you fed. That's what keeps the lights on, basically. It's not that people are consuming to support that, per se. It is the other way around at this stage: They're consuming to keep it going, if that makes any sense, to maintain purchasing power and the stability, the stability we see that's in jeopardy right now. If consumption was to stop or significantly slow, as it's doing, all life-supporting processes are stifled. The world economy is based on one thing and one thing only: turnover through sales. How does this compare to the demands of the natural world? It is obviously the opposite: preservation, efficiency. The Earth is a virtually finite system, and the reduction of waste and hence true economic efficiency is demanded. The example I use: If you had a small island, a small group of people with natural regeneration of certain food-producing produce, etc., you would respect those actual boundaries, the dynamic equilibrium. Why would you design an economy for your society where everyone has the initiative to want to consume as fast as possible? The Earth is indeed a small island in a vast cosmic ocean, and it's a lot smaller than we think. Point 2: Obsolescence, something people don't think about enough. The market economy maintains two forms of obsolescence: Intrinsic and Planned. Intrinsic Obsolescence has to do with cost-cutting necessities of companies, in order to remain affordable and competitive. It's called cost-efficiency in traditional economics. The result is immediately inferior products the moment they are made. Immediately! Planned Obsolescence: much worse. During the Great Depression, the need for turnover to boost the economy brought about the idea of deliberately reducing good quality for the sake of more turnover. Huge economic praise was given to these people that pitched this stuff. You can go back and look at the historical record. It's amazing! Awards were given. [People were] held in high esteem, to create an economy that's basically going to waste more and more. That was apparently efficient, and it is! That is market-economically efficient, while the antithesis of what a Natural Law Economy would be. Part 3: Property A foundational premise of the market economy is singular ownership: a metaphysical notion, clear and simple, as all ideas and physical goods are transient and serially developed through the group mind, and there is no way to make a permanent association to ownership over the long term. Nature [economy]: What does our developing scientific reality say about how we use the world around us? Universal property is obviously inefficient. Strategic access is more environmentally responsible as a model and more socially efficient, clearly. The best example is a car; you only use it for a small percentage of time. Why not not even own that and share that vehicle with a number of other people that would use it as well, and there would be an incentive to maintain the well-being of that car so it doesn't break down because of the need to keep it going. That's for another conversation, as I would address in the second part of this talk, when I talk about a hybrid system and certain processes that can be used to demand the corporations actually support truly efficient products, but that's my tangent for the evening. I have tons of film equipment piled into my closets. I don't want to own it; it takes a great deal of space, but it's too monetary economically inefficient, for me to rent this every time I need it because it is more expensive to do that, given how often I use it. So, I'm forced to have all this stuff that I very rarely use. I would be so happy to have a storage facility where I could go, get these things, return them. It would be amazing, and obviously more environmentally responsible and socially responsible because more would have access to it than they do today. Part 4: Growth The market economy not only needs consumption in general as mentioned, it actually requires growth of consumption. and increasing rates of it, I am sorry to say. This is always the topic of conversation with government today, who is talking about economic stimulus: "We need more growth" they say. That's just wholly ridiculous under the ecological level. What does the natural world has to say about infinite growth? Obviously, it demands a balanced-load economy: an economy that demands dynamic equilibrium be recognized! Otherwise, it's simply a matter of time before the incompatibility of these two systems come together, which is what you're seeing now to a certain degree when it comes to certain resources, and massive scarcity emerges and problems emerge. Point 5: Competition The market economy's operational premise is competition to the pursuit of self-interest as drilled in before. The sociological, scientific reality is that human collaboration is at the core of all invention in reality and psychological studies now show long term distortions in inapplicable qualities of the competitive view as Matt mentioned earlier with the research of Alfie Kohn. As denoted in the first section of this talk, competition itself as a foundational structured philosophy is at the core of an enormous number of atrocities and inhumanity, and it just simply isn't necessary as a method, despite people's claims of human nature and the like. It's obvious that we can collaborate. People argue "War, we want to compete." People go to war; why do they do that? They're in great collaboration in the army of themselves. They have a common enemy they work against because of the manipulation factors. I'm sure there was great camaraderie in the 10-million strong Nazi army. I'm sure they were very good friends, but once they turned their attention toward someone else, through the competitive neuroses, you see the distortion that emerged. It's a very dangerous, dangerous identification, and I could go on other tangents on patriotism and a lot of other stuff with respect to this underlying psychological flaw of the competitive training. Point 6: Labor for Income The market economy is based on labor for income, as we know. Human survival is contingent upon one's ability to obtain employment and enable sales, foundational, considered time immemorial as we all know. As Federico pointed out very clearly, mechanization is taking its toll. The scientific development, the evolution of our ability to create, is producing tools that far exceed our ability, that are more reliant than we are; they don't have the fallibility that we do. The advent of automation is making human employment more scarce at a minimum and possibly obsolete on the foundational level. It's more productive and efficient, as well, than human labor. It's more safe, which makes it socially irresponsible for us not to mechanize at this point, and take the fruits of its abundance and safety and everything else. Last point, Point 7: Scarcity and Imbalance Money moves based only on inefficiency, imbalance, scarcity. That's the driver of it, and when you realize that, when you realize the anti-steady state nature of this, when you realize that the dynamic is fueled by scarcity and Marshal Salant's quote that Matt mentioned earlier, it's "The driving mechanism is deprivation." How could we ever expect there could be balance in the world? Abundance and equality just simply can't emerge in this system. It's impossible! So, on the human health realm, the public health level, is that good for us? Obviously not. We need to meet human needs. The vast majority of crimes are related to money. They can't get their basic needs met. They're related to all sorts of other complex layers of conditions that happen from scarcity, from familial developments that create the spiral, as I'll mention in a second, the spiral of distortion for human behavior and malintent and mental neuroses. So, meeting human needs is critical! Why would you want a society, scientifically, that can't do that? Equality, as well, is the ultimate positive for public health. Equality, if you compare for example the US (extremely stratified, a very deeply imbalanced society, the excessive murder rates) to Canada, which has some stratification but nothing compared to the US. Why is it that the US has these enormous murder rates and Canada, right across a little river, has just a fraction of them? What does that mean? There's all sorts of public health issues that coincide with imbalance in society; it's called psychosocial stress, and I suggest you look into it. It's literally unhealthy for us to live in a stratified society, and the worse it gets the worst we behave. I call this whole kind of concept the 'Spectrum of Social Disorder,' whether it's debt collapse, pollution, mental disorders, resource depletion, general destabilization, overall public sickness, war, waste, poverty, scarcity, drug addiction, unemployment obviously, crime in general. Life support systems that fuel good public health are basically in decline as a whole because of the evolution of this system, and I can go on a very long tangent describing certain experiences I've had in my life with respect to friends that came from super deprived environments; and I've been able to watch them, in sort of this forbidden experiment, manifest themselves in these very neurotic distorted ways, all because of this lack of understanding in our culture of what causality does. I strongly suggest the work of Gabor Maté if you're interested in how society as a whole and its condition affects us at very young ages and distorts us systematically from those points on, building into it. On the left side here, that you can't really read, are a series of points that are kind of general societal problems: abject poverty, relative poverty, inequality, unemployment, destabilization conflict, the debt collapse, pollution, waste, energy scarcity, water and resource scarcity as well, public health disorders in general. When you take the broad view of what's possible and our understanding of public health, that can be statistically evaluated, all of these issues are technically obsolete. They don't have to exist. This is our potential; we have an enormous potential! Removing the environmental and sociological inefficiency inherent to the market and simply applying modern scientific understandings resolves or greatly reduces these issues. That's our potential, but since we don't maximize it, and we let this system go, we're faced with what I consider to be well-defined as collapse, and there's 3 nails in the coffin as far as I'm concerned [1] Unemployment: Again as Federico pointed out, you are not going to see the percentage employment levels for the human population that we've had in the past ever again. Unless, unless, there is a decision by governments to literally stop technological development, which they actually attempted to do during the Great Depression when they were blaming all the unemployment on mechanization back then. They literally had legislation come through that said "We want to stop all technological invention and application." The unions wanted this, which is kind of mind blowing when we think of this. It's really fascinating that it had even go through their minds. How one-sided their values really are! So, that's something that is almost insurmountable unless huge obnoxious and socially inefficient decisions are made on the part of government to stifle such issues. [2] Energy costs: We live in a hydrocarbon economy and very, very little real work is being done to bring a green revolution, if you will. It's too slow, and the energy scarcity that's predicted at this point with the rising gas prices that you are seeing now, there's going to be a peak point. Excuse me, there's going to be an acceleration point, whether it's panic driven or not. You're going to see unions eventually stop working because they can't afford to do it. What happens when 3 or 4 major unions that go up the west coast decide they can't afford to make their shipments any more because gas prices are too high? There's an easy way to see a systemic crisis emerge with the hydrocarbon economy, I can't emphasize it enough; but I don't want to spend too much time on it. There is just simply no real government or corporate initiative being made because there is far too much money being made (back of their mind and their profit incentive) with the scarcity that's emerging. That's an unfortunate conundrum of values. Then we have [3] Debt Failure. Debt failure is a pure comedy to me, because it doesn't exist! You have all these horrible austerity measures in Greece, Italy, Spain. The dominoes just keep falling throughout Europe. The US will go bankrupt; the only reason it hasn't gone bankrupt is because it happens to still be the de facto empire and holding great reserves currency-wise and its oil control, and of course military hegemony, but that's about the only thing that keeps it at bay. The debt thing is not going stop. It needs to be shut down immediately and a transitional type of concept: There needs to be a massive campaign to have a complete debt jubilee across the board (personal, corporate, state), and then we can have some breathing room to figure out what's going on. Well, I know what's going on, but... [Applause] But again, do you see any of that rhetoric happening in your governmental talks about this issue? No, they pretend it's real, like it's a physical natural law. Out of all these issues, that's the one that insults me the most, frankly. I am sorry to say, due to time restraints, I wish I had more time to reflect on... really, my original focus was a proactive kind of thing, to not only harp on the problems but to talk about change as well. We are faced with a critical social imperative where each of us has a responsibility to ourselves and each other. In the next part of this talk, I'm going to do my best to talk about a hybrid system of economics with one foot in the market system and one in a 'natural law' Resource-Based Economy system and how these things can be connected and pooled, and how a new level of activism, a new level of initiative can be made by us, and creative thinkers and activists, to really start to push this in a step-by-step basis before it's too late. It's one of the greater criticisms that any of the organizations that talk about new social systems face: How do you get there? I'll do my best and I've done a great deal of work on it, and I hope to have that presented within say 2 months or so, and you can see it at thezeitgeistmovement.com and so on and so forth but until then, I thank you for your patience and thank you for coming today. [Applause] Please stay for the Q and A. Oh, thanks! [Continuing applause] Thank you very much! [Continuing applause] Thank you! [Continuing applause]

Video Details

Duration: 42 minutes and 1 second
Year: 2012
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: TZM Vancouver
Director: TZM Vancouver
Views: 308
Posted by: ltiofficial on Mar 23, 2012

Peter Joseph gives the first half of a talk entitled 'Origins and Adaptations' at Zeitgeist Day 2012 in Vancouver, Canada.

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