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Matt Berkowitz - A Resource Based Economic Model Explained

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Rhyolite Entertainment Presents Zeitgeist Vancouver Lecture Series Part II - Resource-Based Economic Model Explained Thank you all for coming. This lecture is entitled a 'Resource-Based Economic Model Explained', and it's designed to clearly explain the structure of the economic model proposed by The Zeitgeist Movement. So let's jump right into it. Assuming our goal of survival, the governing structure of our present socioeconomic system ignores what could be termed the 'life-ground'. That is, the factors necessary to support human survival are not insured, and in fact are not even considered within the social system we live under. They can't be. When the extraction and consumption of the Earth's resources at an ever-accelerating rate is the foundation of society, it doesn't take a genius to realize the mathematical clash between living on a planet of finite resources and in a system that depends on infinite growth. It is unsustainable inherently, with the only question being if we will realize this eco-genocidal uncertainty before we destroy ourselves. Now, the point of this lecture is to address the Resource-Based Economic Model, so I will not spend too much time discussing the inherent flaws and invalidity of our present system. But briefly... the infinite-growth model, aside from being mathematically unsustainable and leading only to problems, produces outrageous waste both through intrinsic obsolescence and planned obsolescence. Intrinsic obsolescence simply refers to the immediate inferiority of all goods produced in a market system, which is predicated on competition. And planned obsolescence refers to the tendency for companies to deliberately withhold technical efficiency within all products so that they break down, causing more consumption. In a Resource-Based Economy we would create products that last with no need to create inferior products, nor design them to break down. Next, the monetary-market system has set up a corruption-generating incentive system where fellow human beings are seen as barriers to our success, from the need to compete with each other for labor, to corporations competing against each other for market share, to governments competing for economic dominance. The monetary system can safely be considered the basis for the vast majority of crime, from large-scale corporate and financial crime, to drug-related crimes, to the poverty-induced backgrounds that lead to violence, theft, and many other complex social disorders. In a Resource-Based Economy, the incentive system changes drastically. I will go into this more as I explain the Resource-Based Economic Model. The monetary-market system creates scarcity, which at this point is mostly artificial. We have enough food to feed the world's population many times over, we have renewable energies that can last us thousands of years, and we have incredible technologies that can raise the standards of living of all people to well above what the richest man today enjoys. But the economic system that we currently live under paralyzes this potential due to its scarcity-driven, self-preserving mechanisms where human well-being is always secondary to monetary gain. So, in a Resource-Based Economy the goal is to provide access abundance to all the world's people, removing a great majority of the social problems that a scarcity environment generates. We have the resources, but not the money. In the monetary system, we always have to succumb to what our purchasing power will allow us individually, or society as a whole. This prevents us from asking the real questions: "Do we have the resources?" and "Do we have the technological capability?" to solve our broadest social problems of war, poverty, corruption, and environmental degradation? The answer is a big resounding "Yes!" but not from within the monetary system, where the bottom line is profit. New technological advents are immensely paralyzed within the monetary-market system, from potentials with renewable energies, to rapid-speed transportation systems, to methods for food cultivation, to the ability to create superior products that never break down or wear out, our true technological capabilities remain unexpressed and tragically paralyzed by the present system. A Resource-Based Economy is concerned simply with the most efficient and sustainable ways to manage, produce and distribute resources without the interference of an artificial accounting system that the monetary system assumes. The market system would be dissolved, with the religious notion of the 'invisible hand' to be outgrown, replaced with a system based on an underlying foundation of what are the most sustainable and efficient ways to manage Earth's resources, as determined by the scientific method. Our scientific and technological advancements over the last century have not been met with equal progress in our social system. It is time we implement a new social system that reflects present-day knowledge in terms of science and technological know-how. Part II - The Mechanics and Methodology of a Resource-Based Economy. So, how should we orient this new system if our goal is survival for the species? Logically, the management of Earth's resources would be a fundamental priority of society, with all Earthly activity centered around these resources, and the methodology that we would utilize to achieve peak sustainability and peak efficiency becomes objective. It is not at the whims of political opinions, or any other subjective biases. The scientific method is the best-known method for the discovery and application of the laws of nature. It's what's behind virtually every advancement that has improved the lives of the human species. Yet, up until this day we have not applied its methods to our society as a whole, only to isolated areas of study. As will be touched upon throughout this presentation, as well as in my subsequent lecture called 'Updating Human Values', the scientific method is also an attitude, an approach to a new value system that is more relevant to our lives. To quote Stuart Chase: "The scientific method is concerned with how things do happen, not how they ought to happen. Most of us are amateur scientists today, though we are seldom aware of it. The scientific method is not primarily a matter of laboratories and atom smashers, or even meter sticks; it is a way of looking at things, a way of gathering from the world outside knowledge which will stay put." So, with this in mind, I am going to demonstrate how the scientific method can be applied to society. To do this, we are going to ignore the artificial barriers that exist today; by these I mean national borders, religious divisions, the monetary system, supply and demand as practiced within the market system, and any other traditionalized notion of social affairs that is off the radar of most people today. In other words, how would we go about designing our world with the goal of nothing less than maximizing our quality of life through the most peak efficient and sustainable practices known, while ensuring the protection of the environment? Management. Since we all need resources to survive, logically the first step would be to do a survey of all earthly resources. It would seem illogical to begin any other way, as we cannot arrive at intelligent decisions with regard to resource management if we are unsure as to our inventory of these resources. So, we simply locate and identify every physical resource on the planet, along with the amounts available in each location, from mineral deposits to clean renewable energy potentials, to fresh water springs, to the most arable land for food cultivation, and so forth. And then we classify our findings into different components, from biotic, meaning those derived from the biosphere such as forest, maritime organisms and mineral fuels, to abiotic such as arable lands, water and raw materials such as gold, iron and ore. And we also need to track the consumption and regeneration of these resources so that we can manage all of these life-supporting goods to ensure maximum sustainability. If for any reason we find that there is a scarcity of any particular resource, research is accordingly conducted to find substitutes and technological solutions that compensate for any possible shortage. Now, because the Earth is one synergistically connected system, we need to treat it as such, as our lives of course depend upon the integrity or health of the planet. Resources are not uniformly distributed across the globe. Therefore, as the planet demands, we must implement a Global Resource Management System in order to optimize the strategic use and preservation of these resources. This Global Resource Management System could be compared to a central nervous system, but for the entire Earth. And before you think this is some fanciful idea, the IT Services company HP Labs, is currently developing a program to build exactly this, a planet-wide sensing network using billions of tiny, exquisitely sensitive detectors, with the purpose of monitoring and tracking the location, consumption rates, and availability of all earthly resources. Production. Once we have our Global Resource Management System implemented, we need to take care of the issue of production. Applying the scientific method to this stage of resource management, we would arrive at the obvious necessity of preserving Earth's resources as much as technically possible. We need to strategically preserve the planet's finite resources to the optimum sustainability point possible at a given time, given the current state of technology. Next, as I will cover more specifically in the subsequent section, we must recognize that certain resources are much more viable than others, such as the innumerable supply of clean renewable energies we have at our luxury, compared to the ecologically detrimental effects that fossil fuels have. In other words, we need to exercise strategic safety in order to balance the negative retroactions or environmentally damaging effects that certain resources invariably have. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, for the sake of resource preservation and peak sustainability, we must design all products to be as strategically efficient as possible. Now to do this, we need to do three things. The first is to design goods to last as long as possible. This would be in contrast to the planned obsolescence that runs rampant in the monetary system, which exhausts our resources needlessly and disallows any real form of technical efficiency. For example, light bulbs used to be designed to last over 100 years. But with the rise of consumerism, companies deliberately elected to withhold technical efficiency in light bulbs and drastically reduce the amount of life in each one. There is simply no reason for this in a Resource-Based Economy. The second thing we must consider for strategic efficiency, is that all products must be made to be as recyclable as possible. Therefore, design and production of all products must take this into account from the initial stages of production. And the third thing, critical to consider, is that products must be designed to be updateable. Due to the exponentially accelerating advancement of technology, products that are especially subject to technological obsolescence must be designed to foreshadow such advancements. It is senseless to throw away an entire computer system just because one small component is outdated. So we design the product to be updateable, to be globally standardized and interchangeable. So, for the production process, we have strategic preservation, strategic safety, and strategic efficiency. We must recognize that these processes are entirely technical, devoid of human opinion and personal biases. Due to this, we simply input the variables into a production management system, allowing us always to arrive at the optimal decision with the current state of scientific knowledge. No reason to vote for it; it is a scientifically derived process that unfolds objectively. And while this might seem complex, this is done in detached ways all over the world. The relevant issue here is unifying this process on a global scale for the purpose of peak efficiency and hence peak sustainability. Let's look at distribution, let's tackle this issue. If we apply the scientific method to this stage of resource management, how would it unfold? For the sake of resource preservation, especially when it comes to minimizing the exhaustion of energy, we realize that distribution must be made as localized as possible. It makes little sense to produce goods on one continent and ship it to another, unless the practicality for such production is exclusively possible in that region. Otherwise it is just simply wasteful. So distribution must be made as localized as possible to minimize energy expenditure and hence optimize sustainability measures. We can call this 'Strategic Proximity'. Then we must figure out specifically, what goods to transport, and how much of it. Therefore this must be evaluated through some sort of demand requirements, though this will not be the same as the market's theory of supply and demand. Demand in a Resource-Based Economy would simply be evaluated through consumption statistics in a particular region, ranging from life-supporting necessities such as food, water, shelter, social and recreational goods, and to do this on a global scale, we must implement a 'Distribution Tracking System' that accounts for the different resource demands across the globe. This is already done in all major store chains today to maintain inventory levels. What we're talking about here is simply treating the planet as one inventory system. So, what is demand exactly- aside from being divided up into necessities and more recreational items? What is to keep demand from rising above sustainable consumption levels? This is where the idea of 'Strategic Access' comes into play. The monetary system's requirement of cyclical consumption means that human beings own one of everything, made regardless of usage amounts, creating outrageous waste and inefficiency. Most people's cars go unused for upwards of 90% of their lifetime, just sitting in a parking lot or garage. This is unnecessary and completely out of the question in a Resource-Based Economy, in relation to our base goal of peak sustainability, and hence human survival. Many people forget that it is not the good they need, but the purpose of it. The idea of property is a monetary one, which is a form of controlled restriction. It would be much more efficient if goods were simply made available to people, when needed. For example, extrapolating the idea of how a library works today to all products is akin to what I'm describing. Someone could, say, request a particular video camera by inputting their desires into a computer. The product would be automatically processed by the central computer database, and be made available for pickup shortly thereafter at the nearest distribution center. No reason to charge for it, it is simply made available. This would be the basis for our demand model within a Resource-Based Economy, differing completely from the monetary-market paradigm, where resource management and sustainability are not even variables in the equation. Of course, the abolition of property is sure to spark knee-jerk reactions to thoughtless labels relating to other tried and tested social systems. The major difference here, is that this assumption is derived from the objective goal of resource management, not some ideological subjectivity or emotional biases. I will cover this issue of prima facie- or face-value associations- more, in the final section of this talk. So, this distribution tracking system would be fed into the global Resource Management System, along with the Production Management System, which would combine to provide a global access abundance for everyone on planet Earth. No more artificial scarcity, as created by the monetary system, gone with the aberrant behaviour and environmentally genocidal effects it has. What I've described here is a systems approach to resource management on the planet, on a global scale, based not on any group's opinion, or what a corporation or government thinks must be done, but on statistical analysis as deduced through the scientific method. This entire methodology is what describes the economic model known as a Resource-Based Economy, first coined by industrial designer and social engineer Jacque Fresco, the founder of The Venus Project. A Resource-Based Economy is a social system unlike anything ever tried in history before. It is a global system that provides access to goods and services without the use of money, debt, barter, or any other medium of exchange or form of servitude. Money was created in times of great scarcity as a way to distribute goods through the division of labor. And as I have just shown, we now easily have the ability to create a global abundance for all necessities of life and more, if we apply technology and the scientific method to social operations. Again, a Resource-Based Economy can be summarized as the application of the scientific method for social concern. And Nature is the physical referent for which we use to scientifically evaluate the viability of all our decisions and values. Nature has a strict set of laws and does not have the capacity to care about what we believe to be true. So it is up to us whether we wish to adhere to these guiding principles or ignore them, and suffer the consequences. This isn't a matter of personal opinion, cultural relativism, or a debate of ideologies, it is simply an empirical foundational model that supports life in the most optimized, sustainable manner possible based on proven scientific protocols. Now that I've explained the general methodology that comprises a Resource-Based Economic Model, I'm going to walk through how this methodology would play out specifically with regard to several issues. The first I'm going to cover is the area of energy. It is safe to say that energy is the lowest common denominator for society, as it is a prerequisite for all other social operations that can be carried out. So first step: we scan the Earth, listing all energy locations and potentials. These potentials would always be changing as our technological methods improve over time. Now, this is just a hypothetical graph to illustrate the process by which we would deduce the most efficient energy mediums to utilize, based on each energy medium's output potential, their pollution factors, rate of renewability and of course, coupled with the rate of technological advancement within that area of energy research. Each of these variables, from output potential to rate of technological advancement, can be isolated and strategically evaluated to determine the resource's overall viability for usage. When it comes to what we already know today, the following is a brief rundown of some viable energy potentials. Solar: The solar radiation striking the Earth's surface each year is more than 10,000 times the world's energy use. So the problem is not availability, but the technology to harness it most efficiently. From simple photovoltaic panels that can capture energy into storage batteries for private use, to full scale solar power plants, new technology is constantly emerging, which is improving this potential. Wind power holds a lot more potential than is generally thought. The US Department of Energy studies have concluded that wind harvested in just four US states could provide enough energy to power the entire nation, while a 2005 Stanford University study found that if only 20% of the wind potential on the planet was harnessed, it would cover the entire world's energy needs. Then we have tidal. Tidal power is derived from tidal shifts in the ocean and is generated by installing turbines to capture this movement. In the United Kingdom, 34% of all the UK's energy can come from this medium alone, with 42 sites currently cited as available. Wave power, which extracts energy from the surface motions of the ocean, is estimated to have a global potential of up to 80,000 terawatt-hours per year. This means 50% of the entire planet's energy usage could be produced from this single medium. And then there is geothermal, which trumps all of these mediums. An MIT Report in 2006 found that we currently have the technological capability to have access to roughly 4000 years of geothermal energy alone, with many technological improvements foreseen ... for the near future. It also has a fraction of the environmental footprint that fossil fuels have, due to the energy capture and extraction being contained entirely underground. Geothermal is currently used to power a quarter of the nation of Iceland, while meeting heating requirements for nearly 90% of all Icelandic buildings. All of these findings would have to be strategically evaluated, based on optimized energy management in this new global system, though it is obvious from what we already know today that we have nothing but total energy abundance on this planet. The only reason these mediums are not used is very simply due to the paralyzing profit structure that leads the establishment to preserve market share by continued reliance on fossil fuels. This is unsustainable and the problems of peak oil, as I will discuss in the final section of this presentation, will be causing some immensely severe consequences for our society in the near future, if we do not make an immediate move to converting the global energy infrastructure into renewable mediums, such as the ones I've covered. And how about our food production capabilities? A study from the 1980's by the World Health Organization (of all organizations) found that our technology back then could have enabled us to provide food for the world's population 12 times over. With the currently absurdly wasteful practices utilized by the monetary system, the amount of food wasted by the USA and Europe alone is estimated to be able to feed the world 3 times over. The reason that over a billion people are now starving on this planet has absolutely nothing to do with the availability of food or lack of food production technologies, and everything to do with an inefficient, wasteful industrial complex and a parasitic economic system where such issues are not relevant to social operations. As the statistics cited indicate, we easily have the ability to provide enough food for the world's population many times over, if only that became central to our socioeconomic practices. Obviously, in a Resource-Based Economy, it would be. While our current food production methods have destroyed much of the environment, such as depleting our top soil at completely unsustainable rates, there are still an abundance of food production techniques that are under-utilized or not fully realized, such as the mediums of hydroponics and aquaponics. Hydroponics is a form of soil-less agriculture that uses mineral nutrient solutions in water, which poses benefits such as the conservation of water of 70 to 90% less than conventional gardening, eliminating the need for soil, eliminating nutrition pollution, and producing higher and more stable yields. The technological potential for automation and total environmental control is virtually limitless. Within a Resource-Based Economy, methods like hydroponics would be weighed and evaluated, within a database of all food production capabilities, to determine what would be the optimal balance of these different food production strategies, meaning in order to minimize the environmental footprint and meet food demand output, what technologies make most sense to harness and where? And what about the city, the setting where all of this would take place? Cities today used within the monetary system are a product of commerce, with little to no planning in terms of technical efficiency and resource management. They are extremely wasteful, inefficient and produce insane amounts of pollution. To operate a Resource-Based Economy within our current cities simply makes no sense because of this. It would be more efficient to build new cities from the ground up, than to continually patch up the failings of our current cities. For people who feel a romantic connection to our present-day cities, we must realize that maintaining such cities is depriving people of what our technology can do for us, and is wholly detrimental to our health and social well-being. Some of our existing cities would be bulldozed and mined for the available resources, while others may be preserved as city museums. This depends on what scenario is most beneficial to society in terms of health, education, and resource management. So, how would the scientific method be applied to arrive at the... optimally efficient design of a city, taking into account designs that would minimize energy expenditure, and maximize convenience? The first thing to consider is the shape. Given that we wish to navigate around the city, we should make it as equidistant as possible, so that transport from one segment to another is as quick and as efficient as possible. That would mean a circular shape best fits our requirements. Then how would we divide up the city into components? It makes little sense to develop the city's different components scattered sporadically throughout it. Rather, it makes more sense logically from the efficiency point of view, to divide up the city's components up: ranging from necessity and life-support sectors, comprised of belts for energy harnessing, agricultural practices, production and residential areas, to secondary sectors, comprised of belts for educational and research facilities, such as universities, libraries, art and science centres, to recreational facilities, such as parks, sport centres, and social facilities, for cultural events, socializing and so forth. These belts would be arranged based on the amount of land area required for each sector. After designing the layout of these different sectors, we must consider the distribution mechanisms of the city, such as water, energy, good, and waste or recycling channels, which can easily all be automated with technology that exists today, such as pneumatic tube systems in which cylindrical containers are propelled through a network of tubes by compressed air, or by partial vacuum. On a similar note, we must consider transportation systems to be integrated directly into the city, removing the need for wasteful independent automobiles. It would be much more efficient, in both time and energy expenditure, to construct holistic transportation systems that would allow rapid movement within the city, in all possible directions: radially, vertically, and circumferentially. Monorails, transveyors and maglev trains are all possibilities, while maglevs would be used for transport between cities. The organization ET3, standing for Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies, has developed a prototype for a tube-based maglev. Electrostatically suspended by magnetic propulsion, it can reach speeds of up to 4000 mph or about 6500 km/h. It is environmentally benign, using roughly 2% of the energy expenditure that airplanes require today. This technology is ready to go, right now, but you will not see it any time soon, if ever fully realized, within a monetary system, due to the need to adhere to cost efficiency. In areas where such transport systems are unavailable, which would be rare, if at all needed, cars would be provided, though they would be completely automated by satellite technology that already exists today. All of these technological possibilities are only a scratch on the surface when one considers the advent of mechanization, or the automation of labor. The statistics show that the more we have designated tasks to machines, the higher our productivity, and the higher the potential our standard of living becomes. But as discussed, truly harnessing technology to its full potential is not possible within a monetary system, due to the need for people to remain employed, which leads me to the notion of technological unemployment, or the displacing of human labor as a result of machine automation. Everything I've outlined from a structural and technological standpoint is possible to implement today. We easily have the technology to create this kind of society, that does nothing less than feeds and houses the entire world's population, provides access abundance to everyone, emancipates humans from arduous, mundane jobs, most of which hold zero relevance to society and contribute nothing, and we have the technology to raise the standards of living for everyone to levels that would make society today look like a horror setting. So, what's stopping us? The value system that the majority of the world's people still currently uphold, which supports an obsolete established system that is no longer relevant, and extremely detrimental to our survival. And, as will be the main topic of my next lecture, the most relevant issue then to consider is the value system disorder that prevents society at large from moving into... a new paradigm of global sustainability. This leads me into the final section I'm going to cover, regarding common misconceptions about a Resource-Based Economy, which are almost always rooted in a projection of modern day values based on a monetary system, into the future. First: Arriving at decisions rather than making them. One of the most fundamental differences between our present system and a Resource-Based Economy is the method by which decisions are formulated. Today we use a political system, which was designed hundreds of years ago. Really the political system exists only because of the monetary system, with most of what politicians [are] dealing with being related to monetary matters in some way: making budgets, drafting legislation, or military matters. This system is not in any way related to the management of Earth's resources. In a Resource-Based Economy, we arrive at decisions, rather than making them. In other words, we would not use the arbitrary, opinion-based method that politicians use today to make social decisions, which is subject to emotional whims and subjective biases. Instead, since the scientific method is applied to all social operations, the decisions are objectively formulated based on the best available information of the time. For example, a problem would be identified, such as the propensity for a certain geographical region to generate tidal power, and the extent to which our technology should be applied to harness it. The parameters would be isolated and evaluated, and based on all the statistical data gathered- which is itself based on the most optimized methods of scientific inquiry, and most advanced forms of technology available at that particular time- the action pattern, or decision, is formulated. No reason to vote for it, it is automatically done due to the parameters being objectively evaluated. Now, it is important to point out that the erroneous concept of democracy would become surpassed, since utilizing human opinion to make broad social decisions is simply impractical, and without logic. In our system today, the word 'democracy' is used erroneously by political leaders to distract the public from who and what actually govern societal operations. For traditionally-minded people who cling to such notions, a Resource-Based Economy would allow actual participation in society. Democracy is based on the failure to recognize problems by means of technical resolution. Most problems in society are technical in nature. There is no left-wing or right-wing way to manufacture an airplane, nor one to construct a geothermal power plant, or to implement a food distribution system in the most energy efficient manner. Since the problems in a Resource-Based Economy are recognized as technical, participation in society would entail understanding how society technically operates. Another related misunderstanding is in the personnel required to maintain this global resource management system, for a variety of reasons. I'll try to cover the main ones here. First it is often assumed, erroneously, that we are proposing that a technical elite controls this resource management system. This is not true. As mentioned, what governs social operations is the scientific method directed towards resource management and peak sustainability, not on the detached self-interest of a controlling group. And this leads into the second point, relating to the issue of values. People often project the values of a monetary system into the future, assuming that they can be applied in a completely new social arrangement. The value distortions of blind self-interest, greed, competition, and jealousy, again as I will cover much more in a subsequent lecture, are byproducts of our system today and cannot be projected into the future where the set of environmental variables that conditions these values would be drastically different. In a Resource-Based Economy, there is no reason to steal, since access abundance is given to everyone. There is no reason to compete, as there are no more jobs, no more market system, and no more separate economies vying for resource control or dominance. There is no reason for a person supervising the resource management system to become somehow corrupt and program it in any subversive way, since this system actually exists to take care of everyone without taking away from or abusing everyone else ... anyone else. Thirdly, it is sometimes assumed that such a large number of people would be required to operate social affairs within a Resource-Based Economy, due to its technically complex foundation. It is estimated by The Venus Project's analysis that about 7000 technicians worldwide would be required to oversee all social operations. With our current abilities in mechanization, as previously discussed, a great majority of the jobs that exist today would be phased out due to irrelevancy outside a monetary system, or they'd be automated, from production plants, to the construction of homes, to transportation systems, and so forth. However, interdisciplinary teams would be required to serve the role of supervisors and fill the holes where machines can not yet be applied. These groups would simply be comprised of who is most technically proficient in a given area, combined with interest and desire to contribute in this way. But this says nothing about the extent to which people could and would likely contribute to society. So... Lastly, and related to the previous point, it is similarly assumed that without monetary compensating people, people will be unmotivated to contribute to society. This is unfounded. Exhaustive research conducted to understand the science of motivation yields consistent results, showing that the more people are rewarded by extrinsic motivators such as money, bonuses, letter grades and even praise, this cripples creativity and detracts from the interest in a particular task, because the goal shifts to simply being focused on the reward itself. In a Resource-Based Economy, social interest and self-interest combine to become one. Contributing to society leads to a direct improvement in everyone's lives, rather than at a monetary opportunity cost. Human motivation would flourish in an environment where people were not bogged down by arbitrary, socially meaningless occupations, that in a great majority of cases, do not reflect the genuine interests of people, nor intellectually stimulate them in any meaningful way. Another common misconception of the Resource-Based Economic model, is that we haven't cited any sort of specific algorithmic function, or set of equations that would be utilized within the resource management system. This makes no sense. The central point of the Resource-Based Economic model is the methodology underlying social operations, meaning the scientific method, using the best available technology of the time. A Resource-Based Economy does not rely on any specific technologies to prove its validity, since the scientific method holds that every claim or test be falsifiable. So the so-called 'calculation problem', as monetary economists often discuss, is a non-sequitur, which misses the point of a Resource-Based Economy, which again, is reliant on no specific technology or algorithm, but reliance upon the methodology utilized to ensure optimized decisions for the sake of peak sustainability and peak efficiency. Another issue worth covering is more to do with people's projections, by way of prima facie, or at-face-value associations. For example, those who have done nothing but a superficial analysis of a Resource-Based Economy may erroneously equate it to communism. Surface level similarities, or illusion of similarities, are judged based on the ground that anything supposedly in common with another ideology is that ideology itself. The flaw in logic should be obvious. Some examples: Since a Resource-Based Economy calls for centralized planning, it must be the same as the central planning called for by the communist doctrine. First, any form of Communism that can be said to have existed through history still used the monetary system, a political system, and did not eradicate scarcity, and did not base its operations on strategic resource management. Nor were they global systems, which is what a Resource-Based Economy is. Second, the reasoning behind why central planning is inherent to a Resource-Based Economy is simply because taking into account the Earth as one interconnected system allows for the most number of variables to be evaluated, thus allowing the highest form of sustainability to materialize. Managing resources in detached manners leaves each region vulnerable to possible shortages, and simply makes no sense from a technical efficiency standpoint. Next and similarly, the need to do away with property is another the prima facie association to Communism. Again, this is one surface level similarity extended to assume that because of this one supposed similarity, the entire framework is the same, including the reasoning for why that stance is taken. In a Resource-Based Economy, the removal of property or ownership is not just an ideological stance, it is an efficiency issue. And as discussed, the real issue is access, not ownership. Ownership is a primitive mental construct based on generations of scarcity. In the end, we need to ignore the labels that people have a tendency to slap upon ideas, and instead, strictly focus on the reasoning itself. This is key. ... Assigning a label to an idea or set of ideas does nothing to better explain the underlying framework; instead, it often detracts from it, blurring attention away from the real issues and diverting it to a propaganda technique designed to inflict an emotional response. And this brings me to another blanket projection that is often encountered by any organization or individual seeking to bring about broad social change: saying that it will never work. This is usually projected by apathetic, dormant, mind-locked, self-appointed guardians of the status quo who feel an emotional connection, and an identification with the current system's way of life. It is a lazy excuse to avoid examining the information and ignores the history of social change. History is replete with examples of so-called 'experts' in their fields claiming that certain technological innovations and social evolution would never occur. Here are a few humorous examples. "Television won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home." "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." "We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy." When we reflect on the necessity of the proposed changes by The Venus Project, and hence The Zeitgeist Movement, that is, the necessity for a new socioeconomic model, based foundationally on peak sustainability, it becomes moot to debate whether or not the changes will occur. They must occur, if the human race is to survive. So let's give it our all to advocate this new social system. The last issue I want to cover is likely the most asked about: the transition, how to get from here to there. People often ask this as though a definitive step-by-step plan were even possible to formulate. There are far too many variables to be able to do this. The best we can do is evaluate some major trends, pertaining to the breakdown of our present economic system, many of which are all relevant to the current economic situation we find ourselves in today... starting with peak oil. Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production is in decline. According to the best estimates available, the world reached this point around 2004. Geologist M. King Hubbert first created models back in 1956 to correctly predict that United States oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970. Our entire economic system is based upon the use of hydrocarbons. Oil is used to such an all-encompassing degree, from automobile fuel, to heating our houses, to use in agriculture, and so forth. And while there are attempts in what really just amount to isolated pockets to switch to renewable energies, there is nothing that appears to be the revolution necessary in switching the entire energy global infrastructure. Why not? The monetary-market system of course. The International Energy Agency has estimated that it would take $20 trillion and 30 years to convert the global energy infrastructure into something sustainable. Do you really think this is going to happen within the monetary system? Again we have the resources, but the motivations simply are not there from within our paralyzed system. And next, as mentioned previously, our potential to harness machine automation to overtake human labor, is truly profound. And it's making the labor system completely obsolete. It is only a matter of time before the displacement of human labor by machine automation reaches a point where consumer purchasing power cannot support the economic system. This theoretically means the end of the monetary system as a whole. At what point will people rise up and demand change? 30% unemployment? 40%? 60%? This is simply another mathematical ticking time bomb, that threatens the integrity of our wholly unsustainable social system. As of now, the national debts of all countries in the world is about $60 trillion. The world is in debt to itself in other words, due to the nonsensical rules of the game we still play by. And even more absurdly, there are roughly $700 trillion of outstanding claims in the derivatives market, a figure more than ten times the GDP of the entire planet. Meanwhile, inflation being created by the central banks of the world is unprecedented, causing the prices of gold and silver to skyrocket to record levels. Artificially low interest rates, likewise pursued by central banks across the world seem relentless and only act to further this inflationary pressure. And with a national debt of now over $15 trillion, it is estimated that the United States will have to raise income tax to 65% in the near future, just to pay the interest on this national debt. Of course, this economic nonsense is all just a game and can stop at any time. The real crisis is the environmental implications: the decline of fresh water access, the shortage in food production, especially once oil prices soar even higher, the destruction of arable crop land, and so forth. With all of this in mind, do you really think this system can maintain itself for that much longer? And if so, should we let the wars, poverty, environmental destruction, political corruption, and general social injustice continue? And this brings me back to the central point: Values. Updating human values is the relevant issue, bringing ourselves in line with nature, with the understanding that we must adhere to its laws, or die. And that brings this presentation to a close. My next lecture called 'Updating Human Values' will complement the material I've discussed today, focusing on the value system shift that is required of humanity in order to realize this Resource-Based Economy. Check out our local website,, or for more details go to the main movement website for the main, international movement website. Thank you very much. Zeitgeist Vancouver The Zeitgeist Movement Rhyolite Entertainment

Video Details

Duration: 46 minutes and 42 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Zeitgeist Vancouver
Director: Zeitgeist Vancouver
Views: 205
Posted by: ltiofficial on Feb 13, 2012

Part of the Zeitgeist Vancouver Lecture Series. The speaker is Matt Berkowitz.

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