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Interview: Peter Joseph on Redacted Tonight VIP - What Would It Take? (Repository)

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Redacted Tonight VIP with Lee Camp Welcome to ‘Redacted Tonight VIP.' I'm Lee Camp. There are ideas that are so dangerous they're not allowed on our mainstream media at all. Usually the reason is because these ideas, if accepted, would mean the end of our profit-over-people war-for-wealth greed-over-environment wage-slavery system. The Zeitgeist Movement is one of those ideas. Even though it has millions of followers with hundreds of chapters worldwide, and films that have been gone viral and been viewed over 100 million times, you will never hear it uttered on a corporate media outlet. Think about that! The media will talk about war and death, rape and genocide, pedophilia and racism. They don't shy away from those things. Yet the Zeitgeist Movement is too dangerous. Why? Because it questions capitalism. It says you are not being given the full picture of what humankind is capable of. It says a world without poverty, war, and environmental disaster is possible. And look: if it's a bad idea, if it's stupid, if it's a flawed concept, then let's argue about that! Let's have the discussion like f*cking adults, rather than being scared of an idea, terrified of a thought paradigm that could upend the current cultural template. Earlier today I talked with Peter Joseph, the creator of the Zeitgeist films, the web series ‘Culture In Decline,’ and the Zeitgeist Movement. Peter, thanks for joining me. - Oh my pleasure Lee, it's great to be back on campus. - And thanks for wearing the same colors as me, that's very important, that people know the teams here. (Peter laughs) I hope to have saved humanity by the end of this interview so I hope you're cool with that. - That's cool; the clock is ticking, so it's all on us now. - Exactly. The Zeitgeist Movement, it basically wants to move beyond capitalism but capitalism has done a lot of good, has it not? There's been massive innovation in-… massive innovation, there’s been huge leaps in technology, leaps in human rights for women, minorities, gay people, potheads, juggalos. So that's all thanks to capitalism, right? - I know. Capitalism made your smartphone. It basically made you Lee; capitalism impregnated your mother and produced you. - Absolutely! - It's just sad how people have no sense of of where things have come from, through knowledge and science and technology and the beauty of all this scientific development that has really been the underscoring element that's increased lifespans and helped us. And capitalism has been along for the ride, man. I've heard this over and over again, and when you … look deep down, all the major civil rights movement stuff- that hasn't happened from anything but the outskirts. That's happened from people that have been pushing things like socialism as they call it. I mean people talk about democratic socialism today like it's some kind of new thing when FDR did it, 80 years ago. And what would we do without those safeguards that have helped improve things over time? so... From technology to the advancement civil rights, it's all based on the development of technology- in part, I’m not saying that's the only issue. But if you look for example the abject slavery, chattel slavery, when did that really resolve? It happened when automation processes and mechanization started to be applied to agriculture. So if you look in tandem, we really didn't start alleviating all of this labor oppression until technology started to replace it. And that's of course continuing this to this day with technological unemployment, - Right. - and we could talk a lot about that as we go along. But the trend keeps going; it's actually very powerful if we can just jump on board and not fight it, which is unfortunately what capitalism is now doing. - Well okay, as long as you brought it up let's talk about technological unemployment. It's increasing exponentially, I mean with self-driving vehicles we could lose a third of the current US workforce or at least their jobs in, very soon, 10 years maybe. And I want to hear what your plan is, how you would view we should deal with that. My plan is: I think if we kill the robots now while they're babies they wouldn't know what hit them, right? - Yeah (laughing) robot wars is upon us for sure. Sadly enough, it's two things that have been polluting our need for labor freedom and that apparently are robots and brown people if you listen to American politics. But nevertheless-... And of course, we’ll let the orange, the orange monster Donald Trump lead the way with the latter of that one. Technological unemployment should be a godsend, man. It should be everything that we've been striving for as a species. Even John Maynard Keynes, you know, the early Keynesin economist famous for realizing that capitalism is fundamentally unstable and we need safeguards, he said, even though he thought it was going to be a minor issue, that we're really resolving our economic problem. Literally the economic problem of our society is a lack of means, and it's scarcity. And with this new capacity for efficiency which is being birthed in technology that's replacing labor, we should be harnessing than and happy about it, and instead we're still trying to “create jobs” and “create growth,” and these arcane ideas are just gonna hit a wall. And with the advent of universal basic income (something that will be a big subject at the ZDay event in Greece that I’ll be speaking at, Zeitgeist Day, we could talk about that moreso), this is probably the first step to alleviate that issue, to give people a standard of living fueled by this increased efficiency without them having to, to struggle and pay for everything. And not having just the base welfare stuff that you see as well which is nominal and looked down upon, but to really realize that we can support society as a society for the first time in human history. And that's a powerful powerful state. If we could just jump on board with that and stop this need for labor for income, and turn the tides and say “You know what? Maybe we should NOT focus on people needing jobs, and focus explicitly on replacing these jobs and adjusting as we go along," we’d have a much healthier society. A much more peaceful society too because all the conflict that happens with the scarcity reality that would be resolved. It’s far-reaching what this step forward could do. And I'll say that I think the force is fantastic. I think it's really, it's the door being cracked open by the contradiction, because labor for income is needed by capitalism obviously, it's the bedrock of it, and this contradiction is cracking that door open for people like myself. I believe in a design economy and in collaborative systems, all these things have been proven to be more efficient than competition and all the other myths that support capitalist structure today. The door’s cracking open. I think we're going to push through as a new generation very soon, hopefully. Well nevertheless GDP, growth, all that stuff is old, arcane. Needless to say, you can't have a society based on growth, you need a society that lives in coexistence with itself and the habitat; I don't know how that logic has eluded us for so long on the political ... the political economic level. And political economy, no one seems to talk about the problem with assuming the interest of growth. And of course it's like a cancer. Capital accumulation, you can use that old Marxism term but it's just as relevant today as it was then. All the corporations, like a disease, like cancer, they stretch out, and they want to get more and more, they make a million dollars one year, they need to make $2 million the next year, they get more employees, the last thing you want to do is contract. And you know, infinite growth, I think there's only one, literally one type of mechanism that does that on earth apart from our economy, and again that is cancer itself. So it's a cancerous system and something's gonna have to happen to shut this thing down before it eats itself alive or we literally get to that point of no return which I'd, I'd say about 2030, 2040 when you look at the biodiversity loss, when you look at climate change, you look at the debt crisis, when you look at the resource overshoot: about a sixth of the way through [the year] on this planet we consume more resources that we’re actually able to produce by the planet. We need many more planets in the future, by one estimate 27 more planets by 2050 if we’re to keep the current rates going. And the sad thing is the Global South is never ever going to reach a high level of, of public health and sustainability, and alleviation of poverty, because all the mechanisms we’re using based on growth are just rapidly tearing things apart to affect where the long-term repercussions are going to settle down in the Global South, Africa and Latin/Central America - they're the ones that are going to suffer from all this because they're not going to have a chance because of all the negative externalities that are being birthed from all the activity of the Global North. Remember the Global North consumes everything. 80% of all the goods and services produced on this planet are consumed by less than 20% of the population stuck in America and Europe, so it’s sad. - Doesn't that just mean we're winning, Peter? - That's exactly what it means, we are absolutely winning! … it’s obnoxious. - Hashtag winning. To shrink that down to kind of one little point maybe mixed in with what you're saying, like for example, clean water. Thousands of people, especially children, die every day due to lack of clean water. I saw a documentary about the same guy who invented the Segway invented a water purification system called Slingshot, that, you know, you could dump diarrhea in one end and you’d have a clean glass of water out the other end. And it's affordable, it's only the size of a mini-fridge or something and he's gone around to various organizations to try and get those in the towns and cities in Africa and South America that would need, that definitely need clean water, and basically no one says that's what they do. The UN says No, the Clinton Foundation says we can't really do that. Ultimately, he's ended up partnering somehow with Coca-Cola, because they need clean water to create Coke so they're willing to put some of these things in these towns in order to get, use his machine for their water to make Coke. So that shows capitalism works, right? - (Chuckles) It's the trickle-through trickle-around affect. I don't know quite how people defend it anymore. No, I completely agree, if industry wants it, then it will move forward, but if the individual or poverty- I mean there's still people dying of tuberculosis on a massive scale in Africa. Tuberculosis has been off the chart in the Global North for forever, and literally the pharmaceutical companies have decided to stop investigating it. In fact I believe if I remember correctly, it's been 50 years since anyone has attempted to perfect any treatments for tuberculosis given the circumstance in the epidemic in Africa, and literally they said this: that it's just not profitable. - Right, it does, it does come down to profit. I also want to go back to something else you mentioned: basic income. Do you support that in the- is that like a band-aid to getting to somewhere else? or is that a good idea? - Oh yeah, I’d say it's less of a band-aid more of a step. If we’re keeping focus on basically eroding, eroding this cyclical consumption, competitive, scarcity, exploitative economy, basic income is that first step. And other steps will happen such again as, as working to push for more technological unemployment and applied mechanization to increase efficiency and safety and all of that. These are all cumulative and again they'll be talked about on this event day that we're having in Greece. And I don't see it as a band-aid, I see it as a step as long as we keep focus on the larger order goal, which in the view of the Zeitgeist Movement is, is at the farthest extreme, is the removal of commerce itself. We have the ability to do that. The original premise of commerce and trade and all of its flaws, as effective as it has been over the course of the past, you know, 2,000 years, this thing is not necessary anymore because what defines it is no longer applicable, because we've reached high levels of efficiency; we are post-Malthusian today. I think we've talked about that before on your show. The Reverend Thomas Malthus came along a couple centuries ago and said “You know what? There's too many people, they're going to keep reproducing and then they’re just gonna die because there's not enough resources on the planet,” and that's what the entire political economy is based on. The entire world has been based on this Malthusian view which means that war is inevitable, and people really care about war and how many people die. Which means that disease will just be allowed to happen. I don't think people sit back and want to see mass populations die off, but at the same time they don't really do much to prevent it because they think that's just the way it is, you know what I mean? And that's I think the mindset of a lot of these people in the establishment. So yeah, all of that to answer your question, these steps - universal basic income, applied mechanization and then eventually creating a peer-to-peer and open source type of design environment that eliminates the need for corporations itself, where you- we have the technology to do that now. We can literally create and design and use engineering systems that work in a digital realm where you don't need - and it's less efficient by the way - to have small boardrooms and proprietary property and all of that stuff. I could ramble on a lot about that but we have is a massive increase in efficiency of both production and creative design, and both of those mechanisms that are doing that are actually the antithesis of what is supported by the market system. - Couldn't have said it better myself! I wanna go to a quick commercial here and then I'm gonna ask you about the current political climate in this country. - Oh sure. - I'll be right back with my guest Peter Joseph, the creator of the Zeitgeist Movement. Welcome back. I'm here with Peter Joseph, the creator of the Zeitgeist Movement and the Zeitgeist films. He also has the ZDay coming up which we'll talk about in a moment. Peter, I wanted to ask you about- there's a lot of anger in this country, justifiably, I think, people are angry. Some people are channeling it into the Bernie Sanders campaign, some people are channeling it into Donald Trump and racism: “Make America white again!” You know, that kind of thing. Some of that anger has to do with scarcity I think: there's not enough money out there, there’s not enough food, there’s not enough clean water, not enough jobs, dancing in the background of rap videos which is my true dream, and if we just have the right president in place those problems would be solved. What's wrong with that train of thought? - The counter establishment dyad of Sanders and Trump which, in a certain poetic sense is kind of fun - I have to admit it's a very amusing and surreal environment. - For entertainment value it’s great. - Oh that's for sure. But it also goes to show, speaking of that, just how easily persuaded the general public can be as far as entertainment and the news networks go where their ratings are, where their corporate sponsors put the most money into. So therefore you gravitate towards this belligerent known as Donald Trump. (I don't think he's real frankly, I think he's a weird hologram.) But the structure of the system I think needs to be held more in account. I mean, why do we have a president? There's a question for the general public. This is a business consti[tution]-… as Thorstein Veblen said, “Constitutional democracy is business democracy.” I think it was just dead on when he said that about a century ago. And you literally have this "president" of this big American corporation with all of its subsidies, which have now been funneled out into the transnational industries, that have culminated their own identity with the TPP and NAFTA and the like, and it's really is quite amazing that no one sits back and questions the very structure itself. Scarcity - going back to that one though - I love what Trump represents in the sense of his rhetoric because he literally is doing exactly what all the other guys have done of the elite class, and that is blaming black and brown people and foreigners for the problems of the world. And I think it's just so poetic that he's doing exactly what everyone else has done, since the beginning of this country, to distract people from the fact that they're being screwed on a daily basis by the upper 1%. And they make them fear, you know- the xenophobic fear. And that's exactly what he's doing, it's literally textbook, and frankly I think he believes it; I think guys like that are not sitting there and trying to con the public, they literally believe this stuff. And I think that goes for the majority in fact. We have a conspiratorial tendency, I think Frederick Douglass was the one who made a great quote about that. He said “When society makes you feel like there's a conspiracy working against you, no property or person will be safe.” And it's the feeling that everything's working against you, when it's really this sort of procedural dynamic and poor value structure and these interacting web of chain reactions that are inevitably oppressive. I've done a lot of work on structural bigotry and structural racism, structural classism, so in other words to answer your point: It's just fascinating how this old ancient rhetoric is still so prevalent just like it was in the Roman Empire and beyond where they're blaming the external-… And scarcity, back to that, is a big part of it. That's at the root of almost all of our problems on one level or another. - Yeah, you said it's amazing that no one sits back and questions kind of the system as a whole, you know, why do we have this system we have? That's kind of reinforced all day long with advertising. I've heard people say “Oh advertising, you know kind of evens out” because if Coke’s advertising for one thing Pepsi's advertising for the other thing, so it's not like one thing has an advantage. I've heard this multiple times. I've heard about the Democrats and the Republicans: “Oh, the ad dollars even out.” You have Democrats advertising, Republicans advertising. But people never seem to take notice of the fact that it's all advertising one thing: it's all advertising the current system. It doesn't matter whether it's for Coke or Pepsi, it’s for this current profit-over-all-else, you know, dual-party system. So really it is endless! thousands of ads a day most people take in, that just continues to promote this system and in your last book - I know you have another one coming up - but in your last book you talked about how then it becomes to the point where our own thoughts become indecipherable from propaganda. Are we there? - Yeah, well we've been there a long time; I mean it's called cultural hegemony. That's a term put out by a theorist, I can’t remember his name right now but Antonio [Gramsci] ... nevermind. Cultural hegemony is-… - Benderas! I think it was Antonio Benderas. - (Laughs) It's when you hijack the value system of the culture, and we are extremely malleable. Speaking of advertising, as a slight aside which caters to your point, and the fact that of course we are a social- we’re social organisms man. We are immutably responding and affected by-… Our limbic and nervous system literally reacts to the world around us and... There's numerous studies for example that have been done when people are put into a room and they're purposefully conned into believing something or making a measurement that is clearly untrue, like it's blatant. Like “Is this a circle or is this a square?” and the people will say "it's a square" but it's actually a circle, and they'll see how much it takes to get that person to conform to that value so they'll fit in with the group. And it’s pretty frightening, frightening! how many people will conform to the group just because they want to fit in. That's part of our system, our nervous system has been measured to react that way. But on the issue of, similar studies on the issue of advertising, it's been found - subliminal advertising, that's been made illegal because clearly it has effects: they flash. But they did a recent study and I have this in my new book that I'm working on, they found that actual normal advertising, because of the way it's been groomed socially, the way it's evolved, that it's even worse than subliminal advertising. And what they concluded in this study is that it's really a form of violence because effectively you get like a Coke shown on the screen and you're a diabetic, and you get the Coke shown on the screen, and they make these associations socially. Your brain starts to rewire itself with those associations regardless of your conscious thoughts. - Right. - So effectively it's affecting you on a deeper subconscious level that no one was even really aware of in the past and its truly destructive and, you just have to avoid it. I mean literally just turn it off, do not listen to advertisements. I just, I don't do it. - You know what made me realize just how deep it is was I had quit eating meat. I had quit eating at McDonald's for probably a decade, but I grew up on it. When I was a kid, chicken nuggets were my favorite thing. And I realized that despite not having been in a McDonald's for a decade, when I was driving long distances and I saw the golden arches in the horizon, it still made me feel good. I still got kind of excited. I knew I wasn't gonna go get a Big Mac, but it was like “Why am I excited about an establishment I have chosen long ago to no longer eat at?” - Yeah! Believe me I understand, your associations get engrained. We are not in control of ourselves, which makes us have a larger order awareness, excuse me, requires us to have a larger order awareness of what's affecting us. I'm what you call a structuralist, that's the term I’ll label myself just for ease. A structuralist- Gandhi was deemed a structuralist in the context. He said “Don't blame the person for their actions, look at the motivating structure that puts them in there.” I mean that applies to like the military establishment. The military, for it to be positive on some level, it's great to see people in their idea wanting to defend their country and their people, that's fine. But on another level what you have is a groomed set of serial killers. Because they're serially oriented around the destruction that they're seeking, and they've convinced themselves that all of this is of high-value so they're being influenced by the structure of the military to do what they're doing, as opposed to their own individual free will, and that's really important. Gandhi was big on that, I'm big on that, I take it to many different levels. My big thing ultimately is that until we change the economic system you're not going to change human culture. The absolute foundation of our entire value structure, our culture, is rooted both in present and historically in the unfolding of our economy and how its evolved, whether it's slavery, whether it’s exploitation, all of this stuff is built into us now and we just- that's pretty much what I started to to say about that, that's why I’m big on economic change. - Before we run out of time, we have a about a minute 30 left, I wanted to hear about ZDay you have coming up in Greece, and you also have a new movie you're working on, you got a new book you're working on. I wanna hear about all those things, because people are itching for new projects from you. You've got them addicted and you've created some sort of scarcity market around it, around your projects, and its really really hypocritical of you! - You're figuring me out! I can’t work fast enough. Yeah, everything's been long overdue for a long time. I have too many things going on man, too many projects. Yeah the Zeitgeist Movement, that's a big time consumer and also very important, we’re on our 8th annual Zeitgeist Day. You participated in our Berlin main event last year, we appreciated that. - Yeah - And we’re in Athens Greece, which is a timely place to be. Athens had got so hit with its debt collapse and austerity and youth unemployment. It's still in shambles to this day so we're hoping to draw a nice European crowd to talk about this. So that's the 8th annual Zeitgeist Day. There's also local ones. I'm in Los Angeles at the moment and there's a Los Angeles event March 26 as well, and by the way March 26 is also the Athens Greece day. And there are ones all around the country and around the world. If anyone wants to see if there's one in their area they can go online to the social networks or and check it out. As far as my film InterReflections, this has been very much overdue and I'm in production with it now in tandem with a book that I was also working on which I won't go into too much detail with because it’s still in its kind of final stages. But effectively it deals with the future of civil rights. Frankly I think of all this conversation, at the very root of it is our mutual codependence and our interplay as a species; that's what we are right? I mean- Our lives are defined by each other, and our entire presence is social. And the Civil Rights Movement as historically seen in America, which was so profound on multiple levels because of the history of America and slavery, a very different orientation than many other countries, served as a unique model for me and what I've done in this book is basically taken the framework of the American Civil Rights Movement and extended it out to include all the things that I've talked about throughout the years with respect to economic change as the ultimate route. I'll say in conclusion of that is that racism and bigotry, its grandfather - the ultimate overarching umbrella - is classism. It always has been. It’s always been about that. - Well thank you so much Peter, I feel like we could talk for 3 hours and not run out of topics but I really do, I really do appreciate it and keep doing what you're doing. - I appreciate Camp, we all appreciate what you're doing as well so, be good. - Thanks man. That's our show. Tune in tomorrow for a new episode of Redacted Tonight which tapes with a live audience here in Washington DC. Email [email protected] for ticket details. Good night, and keep fighting. Redacted Tonight VIP with Lee Camp

Video Details

Duration: 26 minutes and 4 seconds
Year: 2016
Country: Andorra
Language: English
Producer: Redacted Tonight
Director: Redacted Tonight
Views: 64
Posted by: ltiofficial on Sep 20, 2016

In this episode of Redacted Tonight VIP, Lee Camp sits down with renowned author Peter Joseph to discuss what it would take to end the profit-over-people society that has dominated America since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

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