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Ben McLeish - The Future of Economics - A Perspective from The Zeitgeist Movement

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This lecture is going to actually form part of six lectures focusing on the root causes of our society's problems. [Are you going to do all six now?] - No, no, sadly not, no. There will be 6 one-hour lectures. They'll be available online. They're really to give people a sense of idea of how our movement came about because the fundamental root causes that have informed our world views are not to be summed up in a nice kind of ten-minute elevator speech. This is the first one, and as this is already telling you this one focuses on the monetary system specifically. It should be noted that a complete understanding of the tenets social goals and understandings of the movement I represent can't be achieved through this lecture alone, but I think it will be a very useful starting point and I hope that by the end of today if anything, you will have a look at some of the societal constructs that affect us every day with fresh eyes. Before I begin, a word on the two organizations that I speak on behalf of. I'm primarily a member of The Zeitgeist Movement a global, decentralised grassroots organisation founded at the very end of 2008. The term "zeitgeist" means the dominant intellectual moral and cultural climate of an era. The closest transliteration is the German "spirit of the age". The term "movement" simply denotes motion or change. As such, The Zeitgeist Movement calls for a change in the dominant intellectual, cultural and moral climate of the time. The Zeitgeist Movement is an activist and communications arm of another much older organisation called The Venus Project which under the direction of Jacque Fresco and his associate Roxanne Meadows has focused on the technological redesign of an entirely new social system known as a Resource-Based Economy. At its core, the application of the current state of science and technology for social concern sits using the scientific method and practicality to maximise the quality of life for all people. This is to be achieved through tangible solutions to our problems we face instead of hollow rhetoric and opinion. Our reasoning behind our conclusions are not based on political opinion nor are they idle speculation nor are they stop-gap measures to treat the symptoms of a society as a psychiatrist will treat a psychological aftermath of a patient's experiences. We would rather minimize, and if possible wholly preclude the situations that got the patient in front of the psychiatrist in the first place. Our main focus therefore is to pinpoint the root causes of these ill-effects and to propose straightforward concrete solutions based on the inferential logic and the scientific method and applied for global concern holistically. I wanted to address in the introduction some common barriers we have when it comes to the analysis of economics in our current society. In today's world, many of us question the institutions we're brought up in and by which we're influenced. In fact, it has become a slightly more promoted disposition that questioning authority is healthy than in prior human history. After all, questioning religion no longer is tantamount to being burnt at the stake. And the development and adoption of the scientific method has allowed humanity to update and revise its knowledge of the physical world by systematically adopting a viewpoint of skepticism while hypotheses are tested and until they are proven true or false and adopted or not. Indeed, any and all social protest is essentially a questioning and a conscious rejection of some pre-existing or presented framework. Yet, of all the institutions common across the globe be they political, social, religious or national in origin none has remained so thoroughly unquestioned and even beyond the most basic analysis or understanding by most people than the monetary system itself. Even as the system of monetary finance is displacing more than six million American homeowners and half the world's six billion people are now classed as suffering through poverty, one billion starving a figure is up, by the way, by 80 million since the early 1990s the system remains unscrutinized despite its global presence. Here are some reasons why: Economics is often viewed as a rather dull and abstract subject. In fact, I'm amazed you're even all here today. Financial news tends to be presented and dominated by complex-looking graphs which don't allow for any real understanding of the subject being discussed silently promoting the idea that this is an area best left to the experts to well-paid economists and bankers. Abstract terms like derivatives, mortgage-backed securities and strangely named institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not only hard concepts for me I don't encounter these abstractions in real life. No one has ever sold me a mortgage-backed security. I've never been contacted by Fannie or Freddie and I'm sure it's taken quite a few days for some people other than myself to even catch onto the fact that these aren't even real people. They're institutions. Economics isn't like football. It's not like the physical process of shopping. And even worse, it sounds like it might be about maths. We shy away from this mess of abstract terms and we fear that we might not understand them and suspect that we would dislike them if we did. Others simply don't see a need to question the monetary system. After all, isn't simply the method by which goods are transferred and so, anything that simply represents that method is natural, necessary and will function as dictated by the needs of a populace to earn, buy and survive in a social construct. We do all rely on resources in some form or other and since we don't have absolutely everything a unified, preferably, global exchange mechanism seems the necessary steps in easing any process of acquisition and hence, survival. How can it be questioned any more than we question the need for air? For others still, the monetary system which applies to their community and day to day routine seems to be embedded so heavily in the framework of their lives that it appears not to even be a system at all. It is part of the landscape, invisible to their day-to-day lives exactly because it is a function of their day-to-day lives. Like the ancient music of the spheres which was theorized by ancient philosophers when describing the nature of planets in orbit it is this ever-present thing from birth and therefore invisible and undetectable. It's not so much that it's hard to single out for people. It's the very idea of singling it out [that] seems impossible for it doesn't even occur as a possibility. It doesn't even appear as a separate entity. Maybe it's also because economics relies on a numerical bias on mathematics, equations and graphs. It seems therefore likely to be based on logic, measurability and as true and immutable as those of physics biochemistry or other sciences. And while elements of physics are questioned, revised and updated upon their receipt of proof, physics itself remains entirely intact. In fact, once revisions and corrections are made physics has itself become a more established entity than it was before. Yet, as we'll find later on, not only are the supposed laws of economics not only based on no real-life referents whatsoever when the analysis of the processes of money creation its tangible negative effects upon society and the behaviours it instills upon and encourages in members of society one sees that there is almost nothing in the system of modern economics as it now stands that is of any real value to our process and well-being. And yet the most powerful force that has rendered the system of economics as it stands now beyond analysis, is this closed-door brotherhood of the initiated "Guardians of the Status Quo" who form the population of modern economics authorities, credentialed economists trained by the already established institutional logic CEO's and other lofty and well-paid positions. These are the men and women who should be dealing with economics not average Joes like myself, right? Let me remind you that throughout the glorious period of history known as the Dark Ages precisely this mechanism of initiation and separation was employed by the Church to avoid its institutional power being questioned and to keep education, anything it deemed a threat to its establishment or even reading out of the reach of the remaining inhabitants of that socio-cultural landscape. This sentiment is particularly well-expressed by John McMurtry author of the "Cancer Stage of Capitalism" who writes "We might say that economics is to the corporate market what theology was to the medieval church. Just as ancient Latin operated in the medieval church to deify dogmas into ritualized sequences untouchable by the vulgar passage of time, so econometrics functions in today's economics. It conceals the value judgments it assumes in an atemporal algebraic apparatus that is severed from natural language, living referents, and the accountability to its effects." It's a remarkable book. This, however, is changing. And it's changing quite rapidly, much quicker than I actually thought it would given all of the above reasons why we don't tend to lock in and engage in questioning of the system. In researching this monetary system I have many a time carried with me large and boring-looking books detailing the history of finance and the way it operates today which does mean wading through thousands of pages of literature. One evening in a bar, no less than 3 unrelated strangers asked me what my book was about. I've been approached on The Underground, that standard haven of uncomfortable silence by strangers asking me not only what is the book about, but even asking me upon hearing my relatively brief 3-minute elevator talk summary of it what the answer might be to our problems raised. And more and more people are beginning to agree not only on the problem that they see when they are presented with the simple facts but also upon the solutions as well. People aren't stupid. They know something's up. And they think it might just be something other than having voted for the wrong politician in the last election. All I wish to do today is to have that same London Underground conversation with you. It's time to question the system that in recent years has become notable by its failure and its damage. First off, the assumption that monetary economics is too complex for normal people like us to understand is completely erroneous nor is it a natural part of society anymore, although as we'll see, it once was, and served fairly interesting functions. And once you understand the methods by which modern finance is operated worldwide, you will understand the dire need to question every aspect of this vast all encompassing system and its validity. So, in order to provide an understanding of economics as it presently affects us, it is necessary to give a brief history of the history of money. Contrary to popular belief, it is very new in the human race's history. Ostensibly, the rationale for money at all existed in ancient times to manage scarcity. In order to ensure that enough labour was contributed to a social system and that it was proportional to the natural resources that people then extracted out of that system that they were in. Coined money appeared around 1500 BC, possibly earlier and many credit the Lydians with introducing gold and silver coined money. This coined money system is termed commodity money being formed or created out of a good or material that is perceived as valuable or has some tangible use. And while there are two materials we would commonly associate with this, being gold and silver, in fact many materials or objects have been used as a base commodity value such as copper, another familiar one, still used today: salt, pepper corns, which pretty much takes care of restaurants, doesn't it? [Others are]: large stones, decorated belts, shells (The Far East used shells quite a lot.) alcohol, cigarettes, which makes me a millionaire chocolate, and candy generally, and barley and my favorite one, weed. This one is particularly interesting. One can only surmise as to how much more peaceful and yet massively unproductive and pizza-consuming the world would be if there were a commodity currency of the globe made weed. Yet one might also suspect that a downside to the cannabis-based monetary system would be hyper-deflation. The next step of monetary evolution was to representative or receipt money, a sort of meta-money if you will. This representative money derived from promissory notes or receipts issued by goldsmiths, individuals who deposited their gold which had become the dominant commodity money for safekeeping in the goldsmith's safe when it became too much to carry or to ensure security of their stash. As trade between the populace picked up or whenever someone came into a lot of wealth, carrying around large sacks of gold or any other precious metal became cumbersome and heavy. Depositing it in the goldsmith's safe is much safer. I wonder which one of those words came first. Not only that, the goldsmith issued promissory notes to enable someone to easily pick up their gold when needed. These promissory notes from the goldsmith's were essentially receipts for the amount that had been deposited and thus, were essentially still backed 100% by the known value an equal value to the face value of that receipt. This receipt here is actually English, comes from 1774 although I must point out, it does also specify interest so that doesn't quite fit into the order I'm doing things but it is a fairly good example. People began directly trading these receipts in the market place instead of going to their goldsmith, removing the gold from the vault and then using that to buy goods. Essentially, it's a swap of IOU's all backed by the goldsmith's stash for any good or service that's required. Around this time, the promissory notes were adorned with the phrase you'll be aware of if you've ever looked at the money that we actually use today that "promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of." Essentially the bearer of the note was able to lay claim to the gold in vault due to the ownership of the promissory note in his or her possession so they were naturally transferable very much like the original: shells and belts and snickers bars and the other stuff that we used. The immediate effect of this was that very few people actually removed their gold from the vaults. This is absolutely key in the history of finance. Trade was abstracted to the level of paper representations. The goldsmith, already earning a proportion of the gold stored via vault rental costs to store the gold in the first place realized he now possessed a large amount of gold on a near permanent basis which was just sitting there. On average, just 10% of the gold was ever removed or redeemed by the people bearing any notes at any time meaning that the goldsmith could safely lend up to 90% of the excessive gold without running short should any of the rightful owners return and demand their actual gold. The goldsmith began lending out at interest doubling up his earnings essentially profiting off the wealth of others who were already paying rental fees for the alleged safekeeping of this gold despite the fact that the gold in the safe already represented by and tied to receipt money was not available for circulation. G. Edward Griffin, who wrote the seminal "Creature from Jekyll Island" explains this paradoxical scenario through a game of poker: "Let's pretend that we all converge on Charlie's house for a poker game and at upon arrival, each of us hands Charlie a $20 bill. Charlie, acting as a banker, issues each of us 20 poker chips and stuffs the money in an envelope. The agreement is that I may leave the game at any time and exchange each of the chips I possess for $1. Now comes Larry, Charlie's brother, but Larry isn't here to play poker. Larry is in a tight spot and needs to borrow some money. Since 8 of us are playing poker there's a total of $160 in Charlie's envelope and that turns out to be just exactly what Larry needs. You can well imagine what would happen if Charlie decided to lend out his idle money. It is not available for lending. Neither Charlie nor any of us other players has a right to loan that money out because it is still being held in escrow so to speak pending completion of the contract between Charlie and his guests. Those dollars really shouldn't have even been considered money at this point because the value that they represent has been assigned to the poker chips. If any of us has enough compassion for Larry's plight to want to loan him the money it must come from other money in our possession or we turn in our chips and repossess the money in the envelope in order to give Larry that. We could not spend or loan that money in the envelope and still consider the chips to be worth anything." That is the absolute key point to this story. Griffin succinctly sums up the issue: "Chips or any other representation are valuable only as abstractions of another value held in escrow until exchanged. The use or re-use of that valued object undermines the value relationship as one does for example, a one sided see-saw. The tendency towards undermining this value representation by lending out more than was in reserve led to an unpleasant occurrence for the goldsmith. For when the goldsmith became fabulously and ostentatiously wealthy because he was now beginning to earn off the interest on someone else's money, those who had placed their gold in reserve were lead to believe that perhaps he'd been lending out and spending their gold instead of storing it. Panicking, large numbers of account holders got together and demanded their gold all at once. Obviously, there was not enough to go around. One of two things could happen. The goldsmith could go out of business and I would imagine have his cranium forcibly removed. Or, he could cut them into the deal to prevent going broke and retain their business and, of course, their gold. This was a major shift in the practices of what came to be modern banking. Essentially, it was the shift from vault rental to what we understand to be interest today as this monthly incremental earning mechanism became applied to both the vault owner as well as the depositor or the account holder. Where did the extra gold come from to pay that? Of course, it came from the people borrowing from the goldsmith. This then, would become the basis for modern banking. Lending out more than was on hand and this has lead to a third type of money. So, we've gone from commodity money through to receipt money and now we're at fractional money. Essentially, a note backed by only a fraction of its value in reserves. And the process by which it has lent to the general public is called 'fractional reserve banking'. Here's how it works from the creation of bank reserves within the commercial bank through to the creation of loans to the general public. Here's what we're going to walk through and before I actually start I should probably quote Alan Greenspan the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, who once said "I guess I should warn you if I turn out to be particularly clear you've probably misunderstood what I have said." And he's right. Money, contrary to what I thought is not produced by the government. Here's how it works in the UK. The Central Bank of the United Kingdom is the Bank of England, a privately owned company with exclusive rights to the money supply for the entire UK. Of course, you can write to the Bank of England and ask them if they are privately owned. Of course, they'll tell they are not. But even cursory knowledge of history would completely inform you otherwise. It was chartered in 1694 owned by a group of individuals who were never revealed. It was then nationalized in 1946 in that the government bought all the stocks in it. Yet, the government didn't have the money to buy it so brilliantly, the Bank of England was bought through the use of stocks that bore the burden of interest. In other words, the government borrowed the money to buy the bank from the bank. And it only gets weirder. Here's how money is actually created. Here we have... we'll map the creation of £10 billion. So, the Bank of England creates 10...sorry, 10 million. The Bank of England creates 10 million out of thin air and credits its own account. Using this money it then buys government bonds or corporate bonds from commercial banks or any lending institution. The sale results in the money being deposited in the reserve accounts of financial institutions across the UK and "Hey, Presto!" Money has been created and distributed to lending institutions. Let's say that one of these commercial banks has received 10 million in deposits from the Bank of England. On the basis of this, they lend a couple 10 grand to buy a house [which is] wishful thinking perhaps, but nonetheless. Now it would make sense to assume that the 10 grand lent to the couple came out of the bank's reserves which already invented money leaving 9 million, 9 hundred and 90 thousand pounds. Yet, this is not the case. For as Modern Money Mechanics puts it "Of course, the banks do not lend their depositors' money. If they did, no new money would be created." What is Modern Money Mechanics? Is it some communist propaganda? Is it some fringe publication based on Internet research? No, it was published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Instead, the loan is invented on the spot from nowhere based on the wonders of the fractional reserve laws which demand that, just like the goldsmith somewhere in the region of 10% of that amount needs to be backed by the bank's reserves which in this case, of course it is, because 10 grand is easily covered by that 10 million in reserves. So the couple who have borrowed the 10 grand now deposit it in a rival bank. That bank, however, can't behave exactly as the first bank which simply lent out 100 grand based on 10 grand as the 10% deposit rate. What Bank 2 has to do is divide the 10 grand by the reserve requirement itself. So 1,000 becomes the bank's reserve and 9,000 is then lent out as new loans. Does this money come out of the existing 10 grand? No, once again it's actually created out of thin air. That 9,000 can then be borrowed and deposited at yet another bank which can now lend out 8,100 and so on. Every bank in the world does this. Every transaction produces more money to the tune of 90% of its own numerical value meaning that from 10-grand loans you could actually produce 100 grand in completely new money. And if you're already way ahead of me you might be wondering where the money comes from to pay for the interest for all loans come at interest. Every loan in the process of money creation is at interest and the commercial banks will eventually have to pay the Central Bank back at interest as well. Given that you have to pay back more than you borrowed someone will end up with the short straw and will default on payments, mortgages and so on. This is where the tent cities are coming from in the US and even in the UK now. So who creates the money to repay the interest? Yes, it's the banks in the form of new loans. Shout, when you see the one that you have. Even if you are repaying a loan to the bank with the money you are earning from a job, where did that money come from? It was also lent, at interest, to your employer so your employer could pay you, or let's say you are selling something you own that someone you have sold to has borrowed at interest to pay you for the good or services you provide as well. Every pound, dollar, euro, is owed by somebody to somebody else and the whole lot is owed ultimately to the banks and they are always owed more than [what] was previously created. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a pyramid scheme. Quite simply, it is a massive global ponzi scheme. It is a game of musical chairs where many people have to lose in order for the flawed logic of the system to be maintained. Wealth is transferred upwards from those with less to those with more by magnifying the level of debt at every new level of the pyramid. And it's actually reinforced on another level by the application of interest between accounts. Here's how, and you'll be familiar with this one. It's not new. An account with a million pounds in it will accrue interest. At 5% interest, it will produce 50 grand in one year not from contributions to society that you earn or that earn you credits but from simply having money to begin with. Similarly, a poor person's debt to a bank via an overdraft facility or the need to survive on loans, accrues interest. This interest theoretically is what is used to pay the interest to the account of the person possessing a million. In other words, the transference of wealth from the poor to the rich is driven by the inherent inequality of the system which is produced, in the first place with only the very rich, the owners of the system, the commercial and ultimately central banks like the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve of the United States which is another private institution. These are the only true winners. "The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding slight of hand that has ever been invented." Those aren't my words. They're the words of Lord Stamp, Bank of England Director in 1937. This is thoroughly recognized by the people who run this system. It is not some secret. It is admitted openly. Ask a banking friend. They'll tell you. So what is wrong with this system other than that it is legalized fraud by a private closed-loop banking cartel based on "cloud-cuckoo-land" logic, apart from that? Far more serious than a monetary system which generates encourages and necessitates debt servitude, poverty and ultimately war to say nothing of the fact that wars are funded on both sides by exactly the same people which are essentially the banking cartel far worse than this are the side-effects of a monetary system when it comes to the fundamentally most important aspect of global societies and that is the access to and management of the world's natural resources without which no society would ever flourish or even begin to develop. Part 3 This section looks at how the use of a profit based system of exchange actually affects society in other ways than just purely debt. We've already denoted how money of any kind has historically been employed by a society to manage scarcity of resources. This is, in fact, the only functionally relevant attribute of a monetary system at all, for it was originally conceived to ensure fair and sustainable balance between what was put in and what comes out of a society and what one can get out of it to benefit oneself amid the sparse conditions that we first had when we were hunter-gatherers in the early part of our Neolithic revolution. For having a lot of money itself, doesn't actually enhance your life. It doesn't feed you, food does. Money does not make your car run. You may garner a little heat from it if you set it alight but the only thing benefiting you there is the energy from a fire you would get the same from kindling your newspaper. Personally, I'd recommend an unread copy of The Daily Mail as an excellent fuel-base for a nice big bonfire. But that is just me. Money does nothing. It is the access to resources be they food, water, housing, technological conveniences transport or any other life-enhancing object or service that makes for a better life. Millionaires aren't healthier, safer or more well-fed because of their money. It is their access to abundance that makes their life so plush to begin with. Despite this truth, profit remains the primary focus and goal of a monetary system ahead of social concern and human well-being. And you can never have enough profit. Ask any CEO for to gain a greater advantage over another in this system is to achieve a measure of security to be rewarded by more money and in turn better access to what resources are available. And since none of us can live without resources our very survival amid competition-riddled marketplaces now global in scale, is down to our ability to compete as unfairly as possible. "If you're not growing, you're dying." So goes the old adage without a hint of irony that precisely the opposite is true if you're speaking about the survival of anything within a finite environment. The way the we have now structured our planet is on the basis of finite energy resources and inefficient use of space. I come back to John McMurtry whose analysis of our present global paradigm compares the situation very much to cancer. It grows for the sake of growth ignoring limitations and thus its own future sustainability. Not only is it mathematically impossible it is ecologically destructive to chase profit and growth. Follow this chain of events. We harvest food from an impoverished country because it is cheaper to do so often to the detriment of that society in the form of poorly paid jobs and significant loss of the resources to foreign economies. It is then transported to a facility which employs slave labor because it is cheaper. Then derivative products are then very often transported yet again produced and processed in yet another factory then transported across the country to a distribution center and then ultimately to the world. The reason for this? People in countries where those fruits or items aren't naturally occurring are more likely to pay for them in greater numbers. And also because this inefficient process is cheaper than fluid, efficient, streamlined production a profit-motive orientated system demands inefficiencies for those very inefficiencies are the cost savings to be made at the expense of the environment and the well-being of humanity. You can rail against polluting companies and carbon footprints all you want for destroying the planet. The bottom line is the system any institution operates in requires this behavior. It is utterly expected when you really look at the logic of the market system. As of 1999, 99% of materials used in the production cycle in the USA end up as waste within 6 weeks. Every ton of garbage requires 5 tons of materials to produce it and those 5 tons took 25 tons of materials harvested and mined from nature to produce it. It is a hugely wasteful system. Almost nothing that we produce or process actually ends up being used at all. I'm trying to convey to you just how inefficient this is. Inefficiency is a good thing, a necessary thing if you are operating in a monetary system. On a related note, where do you think this comes from? Other than inefficient systems applications in industrial processes the vast consumer waste produced on a global scale is a huge danger to our survival. Not only does it pollute our world with plastic chemicals and unsightliness, it is a visual demonstration that the resources we are burning through for the sake of profit are as vast as they are. The necessity of infinite growth-based consumption and profit-driven production of goods means three inescapable ramifications to the societies which operate under a monetary system: We must keep spending more on products usually on a yearly basis to satisfy cyclical profit cycles for companies that in turn, pay wages for labor. Those products must be made in the cheapest way possible from the cheapest possible materials in relation to their marketed cost to the consumer. And of course, products produced within a monetary system must wear out, break down, require servicing or become technologically or operationally obsolete within the time frame the company can economically endure before repeat business is required from the consumers. In 2004, it was estimated that 15 million mobiles are replaced annually with owners updating them on average every 18 months. "Updating" is a nice word there. That means throwing one in the garbage and buying another one. In the time immediately following Christmas it was estimated that 750,000 phones were dumped by consumers. Can you imagine what that figure might be today, 6 years later? This type of market behaviour is called "planned obsolescence" and it's been the primary mover of this infinite-growth paradigm since the end of the Second World War. Companies like Apple need you to spend more, over and over again on similar or derivative products every year. Hence we have multiple iPhones, iPods, iPads, iBoards, and iMats. This, in turn, means that all goods produced in a monetary system can only last as long as that company can endure it before a further or repeat sale needs to be made. The effect of this is waste, inefficiency, incompatibility and a general disrespect and lackadaisical attitude to what we've come to perceive as "throwaway consumerism." This value program orientates members of society to disregard the importance of resources. We train ourselves not to see the vast implications while somehow entertaining the notion that we are more "free" by consuming more and more. It translates into a form of aspirational buying or "keeping up with the Joneses" as fashion and style creep into the perceived values of the products in question. Adverts like the one with a tagline that said "Are you ashamed of your old mobile phone?" You remember that one? As though shame has any relevance to the benefits of mobile communications technology. It struck me as vastly incredible when people think about it that way. In fact on a related note, I had the misfortune of being in the Apple Store on Regent Street at the 27th, I think it was when they were giving out the new iPads. I was just there to buy yet another lead that I need because things aren't compatible. And they were clapping, clapping and cheering each new iPad customers as they walked in the door. It was just screaming like they were at a football match. It's absolutely remarkable that we put so much value into it. I often think to myself "Wouldn't it be wonderful if we felt that thrilled about advances in technology?" People in the streets would be clapping and yelling "Yeah, did you hear? We've got 20% better water efficiency!" And while we are at this point it is literally impossible to offer "the best product at the lowest possible price". It's another advertising slogan that ignores the actual mechanisms that govern production and sale of any product in a competitive marketplace. Were SonyEricsson to offer a truly robust, solid upgrade-flexible phone that was long-lasting, feature-accommodating, environmentally safe and recyclable as possible and with a lifespan of as many years as technology allows at that point, it would be a necessary consequence of competition and market-share hunting that another company will come along and make a slightly inferior phone at a slightly lower price in hopes to catch that market share. This spiral then continues and branches out into multiple similarly produced items with decreasing lifespans and sub-optimal technologies for the sake of market-share to begin with. This competition that we are trained to prize so highly also produces another kind of waste. Thousands of different versions of the same thing will spring up duplicating the amount of resources we burn and use up on every imaginable product that can be sold. It is by definition the most unsustainable method of production that there is. Even worse we produce tons of products that aren't even necessary simply so earnings can be made because we now rely on money to begin with. Go into a Pound Shop, or even Tesco's and count the amount of items that are absolutely necessary to the operational function of your life. It's less than 10% of the items if you ignore food. We're given food anyway [and] vast, vast aisles of bleach. It's like, "Well, if you need bleach, just have bleach". You don't need to have all this duplication. And while we're on buying and selling, the next ramification of a monetary system, of course, includes the future of employment. Technological Unemployment, which is unemployment caused by the use of machines as vehicles of labor has continually and systemically forced relevant numbers of people out of every new emerging sector for the past 100 years. In the words of Nobel Laureate Economist Wassily Leontief "The role of humans as the most important factor of production is bound to diminish in the same way that the role of horses in agricultural production was first diminished and then eliminated by the introduction of tractors." Our current economic employment market is basically broken down into three sectors: agricultural, mining and fishing, things like that; manufacturing which is tangible goods; and service which is intangible goods. As a near universal social progression all societies tend to follow the developmental path which takes them from a reliance on agriculture and extraction towards the development of manufacturing such as automobiles, textiles, ship-building, steel and finally towards the more service-based structure. Naturally, the only reason some countries are farther behind the process than others has to do with the affordability of the technology required to move to the next level irrespective of its social system or political disposition. It's simply a scientific progression. Let's now consider this phenomenon using the United States as a proxy. In 1860, 60% of Americans worked in the agricultural sector. However today due to the advancement of machinery and automation less than 1% do. Fortunately, those technological developments also gave rise to an emerging industrial revolution and by 1950, 33% of Americans were employed in the factory-based manufacturing sector. As of now, due to continual advancements in machine automation it is less than 8%. Considering that only about 9% of Americans work in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors now where did everyone else go? If you went to Z-Day or if you've had a look at a fascinating book by Jeremy Rifkin called "The End of Work" which is where a lot of these numbers come from they went to the service sector. The only thing that has served the US labor market and in fact all labor markets is exactly the same over here. After the technological renovation of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors is the flight to the service industry. From 1950-2002 in the service sector the employment went from 59% to 82%. The service sector is the dominant employer of much of the world today with all other industrial countries. Of course, this begs the question "Is this sector susceptible to the wrath of technological unemployment as well?" Well, of course, it's not insusceptible. With the advent of increasing versatile computer technologies, which I'm sure you're all better versed in than I am, we are seeing job displacement once again this time in all service industries. The replacement of tellers and cashiers with kiosks, the use of automated voice systems for phone calls, even the Internet has redefined retail not to mention full kiosk systems in physical market places advance food prep by machines, even research by automation is being done from statistical modeling to lab experiments. As economist Steven Roach has warned "The service sector has lost its role as America's unbridled engine of job creation." As a unique example in Germany the first fully automated restaurant is in operation. In fact it's old news now. I think this came about... I think it was the end of 2008? Certainly by 2009 it had been going very well. It uses kiosks for order and payment and the food is then served by fully mechanized systems. There are zero wait staff. There is no reason this, and more could not be done with every single eating establishment in the world. In fact, if one were to think creatively about the application of technology as it currently exists to the entire service sector you could probably wipe out most of the jobs overnight. The only reason it hasn't been done is because the focus of society is backwards when it comes to social progress. To illustrate this more, lets stop thinking about technology in terms of unemployment for a moment and consider it from the angle of productivity. The most incredible relationship of all is that the more technological unemployment increases the more productive things become. In the G-7 industrialized countries employment in manufacturing has been dropping but manufacturing output has been rising. Here's the chart. You can see. It's practically an inverse correlation. Here's a wonderful quote from Bruce Bartlett. He said "The truth is that US manufacturing is doing quite well in every aspect except in the number of people it employs. Furthermore, [few] economists would judge the health or sickness of any industry based solely on employment. . By that standard agriculture has been the sickest industry of all for decades because employment has declined although farm productivity rose dramatically in the past century. Industrial health is better measured by output productivity, profitability and wages." Unfortunately, this person is forgetting one universal thing: If human laborers are displaced, they cannot obtain purchasing power. If they cannot obtain purchasing power, they cannot fuel the economy by consumption, so on that level it doesn't matter how productive we are. No one will be able to buy anything. This phenomenon is not new. It's called "The Contradiction of Capitalism". I hesitate to use this phrase because I'm talking about the monetary system generally, not just "capitalism". Of course, that can mean anything you want it to, and it often does. For not only is the obsolescence of human labor the obsolescence of the human consumer, the high level of output generated by technological efficiency makes the corporate motivation to pursue such advances very strong even though it is economically self-defeating over time. In other words, regardless of the level of productivity if people don't have jobs they can't buy anything. This very fact alone that productivity is inverse to employment in all sectors should be enough to warrant a deliberate shift from the focus of human labor to a system where technology is given the highest priority. The system is literally denying peak production in a world where those 1 billion we mentioned are starving. I think that's probably the most despotic thing I can think of. Another damaging culmination of a society operating under a monetary system is the propensity for generating "established institutions". By this I mean the self-reinforcing need for any company or institution with power or vested interest to preserve that same power and investment to the exclusion of any and all new or differing information. It is, on a smaller scale, the same self-defending mind-lock most of the world's population has towards alternatives to a monetary system. Consider this: If you founded a drug company to produce cancer treatments, employed staff, attracted shareholders who invest in your company and expect a return on that investment you must do everything to maintain the viability of your enterprise. You are, in fact, a vested interest in cancer. Were a cheap, easily administered non-toxic cure for a wide variety of cancers to come along you are forced into the position of "fighting tooth and claw" to suppress, outsell and block this alternative medicine. The need for cyclical returns, growing profit and the need to maintain a competitive edge means increased prices and the maintaining of the status quo. It doesn't matter if it's bad for people or not. The radical change in the status quo means ditching practices developed drugs and research has been heavily funded on and which employs large numbers of people. And even if the jump was made to a singular cheap and easily applied treatment prices would remain artificially high to maintain the profits and the bottom line you'd already inherited from the old system. Immediately this puts the treatment out of the reach of the poorer sections of society, exactly those in the more unequal countries who absolutely require it. Those in more unequal countries have higher rates of illness as well. In a sustainable society formulated around the logic of a monetary system there would be nothing to hold back developmental implementation of anything once it's been tested thoroughly. There could be no "Established Institutions". New methods would immediately be implemented into society and no monetary institution would thwart the change due to their self-preserving nature. Prior evidence of this kind of sick self-preservation to the detriment of the population easily fades from collective public memory. However, here are some examples of the outright lies that various institutions have perpetrated to preserve their own operational safety regardless of social concern. Has anyone seen these? Lucky Strike [is] almost the best example of this, actually. If you look, there's a guy on YouTube who keeps posting 1950's adverts. It's surprising how many of them are Lucky Strike. Filled with facts evidence and dead-faced grinning physicians with rosy cheeks Lucky Strike clearly saw the benefits of employing pseudoscience to convince countless people of the alleged safety and superiority of their cigarettes. Rather than withdraw this poison from the marketplace the act of reinforcement of sales through advertising is obvious. And rather than any government banning outright the sale of deadly toxins being sold to their own voters the tax garnered from their sales, which grows year upon year proves to be the dominant social mechanism in the process that selects this cultural attribute for self-preservation. Or how about this? - Mike, welcome to the show. We appreciate you being on tonight. - Thanks for the invitation, Joe. - Ok, let's talk about the rat of the week. Why is Bayer Corporation the rat of the week? - Internal documents show that after this company positively, absolutely knew that they had a medication that was infected with the AIDS virus they took the product off the market in the US and then they dumped it in France, Europe, Asia and Latin America. The medicine's called Factor VIII. It's an injection medicine. It was used for hemophiliacs, mostly children. Children who had been born with an incurable disease. - Hold on Mike. So you're telling me, that Bayer knew that this drug was infected with the AIDS virus. They yanked it from the market in America and then they dumped it in markets overseas? - They had to figure out a way, Joe, to make a profit on a product that they could not sell in America. So they made a huge profit. They dropped the product in Japan, Spain and France. By the way, Joe, government officials in France that allowed that to happen actually had to go to prison for it. In America, not one corporate executive for this company has been indicted or even criminally investigated by our Justice Department. - Why not? You're telling me that these people that dumped this AIDS tainted blood in foreign countries who killed children have not been taken to task in the United States? - It's worse than that. The US Government allowed it to happen. The FDA allowed this to happen. And now the government is completely looking the other way. Thousands of innocent hemophiliacs have died from the AIDS virus and not only they're dying, their family members are dying because they're becoming infected with the disease. This company knew absolutely that they had a problem with a product that they knew was infected with AIDS. They dumped it because they wanted to turn this disaster into a profit. - Mike, I want to read to you what Bayer told The New York Times about this scandal. They said "Bayer behaved responsively, ethically and humanely. Decisions made nearly two decades ago were based on the best scientific information of the time and were consistent with the regulations in place." That sounds like a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo. Yet, you say you have internal documents that show that they knew that this drug they were dumping was tainted with the AIDS drug? Or the AIDS virus? - The documents show that there was no question that this company absolutely understood the risk. They knew that it was contaminated. It wasn't a possibility. They knew it was contaminated. Americans were dying from the product before it was pulled off the market. The only reason it was pulled off the market is because lawyers found the documents and showed it to the government. And finally the government said "You can't sell it here." But then the government allowed them to dump it in Spain, France and Japan. - That's amazing. That's just amazing. I want to read to you what The New York Times said. This is an investigation that they also did and they said the Federal Government was part of the problem. While the Food and Drug Administration told the company not to ship the drugs overseas, the man responsible for the drug supply, quote: "Asked that the issue be quietly solved without alerting the Congress the medical community and the public." This is a cover-up! And our Congress is not doing anything! What should Americans do? Have you ever wondered what today's "Lucky Strike" products are? What is your asbestos? What is your HIV-infected commercial medicine? What is our generation's DDT? What is the thalidomide of now pushed as safe and sound, rushed through production without proper testing or understanding the effects due to the profit system? Commercial drugs have patent lifespans of 7 years, including trials and it takes only a cursory glance at modern medicine to see stories like Vioxx and realize which is more important out of human concern and the profit motive. What is being sold to you now that is self-evidently harmful ineffective and deliberately expensive? What today, tonight, will you consume that is developed to solve a non-existent problem such as "restless leg syndrome" or produced and tested in the cheapest way that can be like Dell computers. I'm sorry, I've got a Dell, as well. Or marketed to you as absolutely necessary like SSRI anti-depressants or carcinogenic food colorings which are only there to make the food more attractive so you will buy it. But why do we forget these histories of socially offensive behavior and outright danger, these negative retro-actions in our societal construct? Are we stupid? No, it's not that. Many people regard the corporations as responsible in abstraction almost as separate individualized entities. Corporate fines or the public offering up of CEO's for punishment in a semi-ritualistic manner makes people feel a misguided sense that "justice has been done," and that we can all now move on now that the offending "bad apples" have been removed that an aberrant problem has been rooted out of the system. Yet the root of the issue is not an isolated behavior by some rogue corporations or individual for the damaging behaviors are themselves a generation of the monetary system to begin with. A much stronger reason for the attrition of our memories and awareness of these kinds of failures is down to the media companies which automatically filter out negative stories because of corporate ownership the need to attract advertising from the very companies they might be exposing, or editorial censorship driven and informed by worldviews already indoctrinated into the logic of the market system as it currently is structured. You will not read about the vast corporate crimes in history class just as you will not be taught the fractional reserve banking system in economics. Ultimately it is of little value to the self-sustaining nature of the system or is a direct threat to its dogma, as John McMurtry might have put it, and is just ignored. And it's usually at this point that many believe that greater government intervention or regulation or even lack of government regulation or intervention or some mysterious and detail-lacking "reform" would solve this issue. That a true "free market" would somehow work out for the better. The one we're seeing now is not the true "free market". Quite apart from the fact that the ecological and socially offensive detriments we have already outlined would continue untouched or completely unchecked one must realize that there is no such thing as "the free market". Governments are simply extensions of the corporations and the competition/advantage-driven marketplace. This is why we see so many politicians going on to be heads of vast private businesses or Directors of the World Bank or the IMF or worse, lobbying and non-governmental agencies whose singular qualification is access and power and connections. Monopoly and cartel are the logical ends and goals of any corporate entity in a competition-based monetary system. For example, let's say I open an electronics store. (I could probably do it outside given the problems we had here today.) And at that time, there are 3 other stores in my area and I have to compete with them. As time moves forward I would streamline my competitive strategies and reduce overhead in such a way that my store becomes the dominant most affordable contributor of a certain set of items and everyone in town flocks to my store over the others for such items. Due to this, 2 of the other 3 stores go out of business and leave town. At this point it is just my store and the little other competitor in my region. Since my profits have been so good I decide to attempt to acquire or buy the competing store in town. They agree, so I purchase that store, put my logo on it and BOOM! We have a regional monopoly. Likewise, let's assume I didn't purchase the other store but rather became "friends" and then partners with them and thus figured out ways to allow for both of us to flourish in a non-competitive way. Then you have a cartel. In other words, business is based, in part, on a gaming strategy to win market share and hence profit. Therefore, it is a natural gravitation to seek dominance in your sector or industry and the highest level is monopoly and cartel. It is a natural progression of the free-market system to become as dominant and powerful as possible. There is no corporation in the world who would not want to have a complete monopoly. A lot of people believe motivation is spurred on by the promise of monetary reward and that without money nothing would ever be done. It is a remarkable truth that modern life is based in large part on the sum of achievements of very few people many of whom had heavily altruistic ideas and who died poor. Those who license, buy or steal their ideas to make products and services for profit, however are feeding off those other people's ideas for quite different reasons. Nikola Tesla who was the inventor of wireless technology and one of the inventors of radio. I say "one of" because there is actually a large debate as to who exactly produced it first. Broadly speaking, Marconi, Tesla and a few other people developed the technology at the time. We have Tesla to thank for the alternating current which powers the world. It's incredible he's forgotten. He is the reason this room is even usable today. And Tesla was not doing it for the money. In fact, later in his life Tesla built the Wardenclyffe Tower which was going to become one large hub of electricity that would be transferred wirelessly around the globe. It was actually part of a system. J.P. Morgan, our good friend, the richest and most powerful man at that time, was a financier of the 'Tesla Broadcasting System'. The tower was designed as a world communications center and Tesla added to the project in that the tower would also be used for transmitting electrical energy without wires to the entire globe. Tesla wanted to saturate the globe with electricity as a dynamo so that everyone on the surface of the globe could obtain electrical light just by sticking wires into the ground and an electrical bulb would light up. Has anyone seen "The Prestige"? That's not science-fiction. Tesla managed to do that. The reason we don't see it now J.P. Morgan heard about the Tesla project and he asked "How can we get money"? (These were his exact words.) "How can we get money from the electricity which Tesla is supplying to every part of the world?" After that, Morgan cut the funds and the Tower was never finished. Tesla died of heart failure in 1943 alone in his room in the New Yorker Hotel. [He was] broke. Not only was Tesla not motivated by money he was actually hamstrung by it, and so are we years later, still seeing sights like this. So the next time you're wrestling with your cables behind your computer or hear stories of power lines destroying houses or large rolling blackouts because the power lines broke down remember by which mechanism we were denied globally available, wireless energy. All created by a man who simply wanted to make a better world and who paid the price for it. Is Tesla one in a billion? Evidently not. British inventor Emily Cummins invented a solar-powered fridge for use in hot and arid countries in a potting shed. It doesn't require electricity. It's self-powering. These students invented self-powering biosensors that detect dangerous toxins. Bear that one in mind for later on. That's quite important. Some students in North Carolina invented a textile that blocks radiation, making it possible for astronauts to survive the dangerous levels of radiation in space. It wasn't NASA that fixed that, some students in North Carolina. And an ignorant machine (this is my favourite one) given raw data deduced Newtonian laws all by itself. We aren't all that far away from Deep Thought, the giant supercomputer in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" who is so powerful that when first switched on and started with "I think, therefore I am" he'd deduced the existence of income tax and rice pudding before they could turn it off again. All we need is unhampered scalability for the same thing. We've already created exactly what Adams was talking about. Or have a look at the correlation of successful patents filed as opposed to income inequality in our own lifetime. In countries where there is a smaller gap between the richest and poorest the number of patents is much higher than those in which massive stratification like the UK or the US exists. Were we truly equal, truly able to access resources on a level playing field, our innovation would skyrocket tomorrow based on the trends we are seeing even now. That line hasn't been drawn by me, by the way. That's a mathematical inference. It's not designed by Wilkinson or Pickett either. That's a by-product of the statistics themselves. Imagine how many more Teslas there would be were we not hampered by merely the best education that we can just about afford and an education system that isn't purely geared to conditioning us for the 9-to-5 wage slavery of a job that, on average, produces nothing of societal significance and the exposure to low-grade media designed to make us buy rather than think. I have absolutely no reservations in this: The human race is brilliant. We are massively inventive, naturally curious, and have in spite of the hamstringing effects of the profit system designed and invented incredible systems of abundance. It's time to put these systems into effect replacing the poisonous irrelevant and detrimental systems of profit, self-interest and duplicative competition, ecological mismanagement and the lack of general awareness of our needs and goals for survival on this planet. This is what The Venus Project proposes. We have, and have had for a long time the necessary technological wherewithal to build systems of abundance, generation right now not in some misty future. We could do it today. Why is there a water-shortage anywhere on this planet when it is covered mostly in water? We can produce desalination plants that work off the sun's energy. Don't think it can be done? Where do you think clouds come from? We haven't done it systematically because there's no money in solving a problem and producing abundance so massive that it doesn't require money. Think of Tesla. Like Tesla's vision of free energy for all, the only reason it doesn't exist today is because scarcity equals profit by our present logic. So what do we do to get from here to there? What is proposed, and how do we do it? Here are the fundamental concepts and strategies towards solving these issues direly pressing in our world. It is called a Resource-Based Economy. First off we move from a growth economy to a steady-state economy. We do not have the resources or the environmental freedom to keep using consuming, wasting and poisoning our resource pool. Not only do we have to move away from this paradigm we must outright flee it. We call for an absolute end to the monetary system. This scarcity and waste we see around us is being generated created by us, not some intrinsic process of nature or some human nature, the assertions of which are religious in nature and are absurd when you think about our evident adaptability. The use of money is no longer relevant to us as we have thoroughly discussed and it's extremely detrimental. Second, we must move from a primitive competition-based invention system to a collaborative system. Not only are all goods produced in our current system inherently inferior due to the need to maintain a competitive cost basis in the marketplace but the competitive system also generates large amounts of corruption and yes, the incentive to compete does produce improved goods and services to a certain degree, but that positive is completely overshadowed by the planned obsolescence, pointless duplication and general environmental detachment created by the necessity to stay ahead of someone else. Imagine for a moment if the top engineers of the major car companies rather than competing, got together and decided to collaborate on making the best car possible to a given point in time. Imagine if we established an incentive system that pulls people together to create the best rather than compete and produce inherent inferior... (Sorry, I'm miles behind now, there we go.) ...inferiority, think about that. An open source world, with all lines coming together to produce and improve goods so everyone can benefit. The progress would be unbelievable. Not to mention it would save tremendous amounts of resources for there is no longer a need for the duplication inherent in the corporate, competing mechanism. Third, we move from our piecemeal dispersed industrial methods to a centrally planned system of streamlined functionality. Is it me or is it absolutely insane that we import strawberries from Brazil, bananas from Ecuador water from Fiji, when all of these things can be produced locally. As Jacque Fresco...does describe in regard to his city systems, everything is as self-contained as possible in a Resource-Based Economy. As another example consider the general route of production from mining materials, creating preliminary components to assembling components, to distribution. You'll find that these factories are all over the place: different states, countries, parts of the world. These components get transported around. We can do that all from one place. The Earth is a system and must be treated as such. There are resources all over the planet Earth and we must therefore create a system that can monitor these global resources in a holistic way. The first step would be a full survey of the Earth's natural resources. If you don't know what you have, you can't make an intelligent decision about management. We must first understand the full range and capacity of the earthly components in order to derive inference as to our capabilities. There are many natural resources to be considered on planet Earth but for the sake of quickly showing the train of thought let's just consider energy. Since energy is the fuel of society, it makes perfect sense to begin with [energy]. So we scan and analyze the Earth listing all of the relevant energy locations and potentials. The potential, of course, to clarify is always based, in part on the current state of technology for harnessing. I say "current technology for harnessing" because in some areas the potentials is based extensively on our ability to actually utilize it. For example solar energy has a dramatic potential but it is still greatly underutilized as the technology has been very inefficient so far. But with the advent of nanotechnology, we can see a possible exponential increase in this potential. So it is contingent upon the quality of our methods. I don't have time to spend too much on this interesting topic but if you research the trends of nanotech applied to solar radiation harnessing it becomes clear that solar energy alone could power the entire world, thousands of times over. Moving on, we then have this raw data. We need to rate each resource based on its renewability, pollution output and everything that factors into it, weighing to the degree of sustainability. Those sources which have the most negative retroactions are given the least priority in utilization. For example, since fossils fuels are non-renewable and can pollute the environment and given the tremendous power of geothermal, wave, wind and solar combined I might find that there is no reason to burn fossil fuels at all. Once realized, we move to the third step: Distribution and Monitoring. Energy distribution and infrastructure projects would logically be formulated based on technological possibility and proximity to sources. In other words, if we have wind energy being utilized in Asia we are likely not going to delivery that energy to Latin America. So distribution parameters would be self-evident based on the current state of technology and proximity practicality. Likewise, active resource monitoring done through earth sensors (and that brings us back to that self-powered sensor system) would run itself. It wouldn't need energy in the first place. And earth sensors and computers would allow a constant awareness of the rate of use, the rate of depletion, the rate of renewal and any other parameter relevant to know in order to maintain a balanced load. If the scarcity of any raw resource is going to occur we could forecast that well in advance which is what we're not doing, for example, with oil now. In fact, Hewlett Packard is developing a wireless sensing system to acquire extremely high-resolution seismic data on land. This is exactly the direction that we need to move in and the next level is simply maximizing the scalability of this technology in regard to creating a monitoring system for the entire planet including parameters from extraction to production to distribution. We must monitor and understand the rates of depletion and generation of all Earth's resources and, in turn, our actions will always be cognizant of their environmental impact. So what do we have so far? We have the locations of the energy resources. We have the output potentials and the distribution qualifiers based on statistical usage, technological harnessing and proximity. And finally, we have a system of active resource monitoring which reports the state of the energy supply rates of usage and any other relevant trends. In other words, we have created a system. A systems approach to the energy management on this planet. The system is comprised of real-time data and statistics. The process of unfolding is biased, not on a person or group's opinion not on the whims of a corporation or government but on the natural law and research. In other words once we establish the interest that survival and hence sustainability is our goal, which I hope everyone here would think is quite important, each parameter to consider in regard of resource management becomes self-evident. It's called "arriving at decisions" as opposed to making them which is a subjective act based on incomplete information and often cultural bias. (I can't imagine what our Prime Minister is going to decide. I don't know what he would use as his reference point.) Using this energy model as a procedural example this systems approach can be applied to every other earthly resource and quantifier. We survey, find potential qualify for negative retroactions and apply modern technology to harness, distribute and monitor in the most logically advanced, holistic way possible. A computer database and management program would be the logical means to navigate these issues where all the attributes we have discussed are fed in with strategic computation applied. And since the goal is maximum efficiency the automation of adjustments becomes very simple. For example, let's say we have two geothermal power plants in the same region, each outputting in tandem the required amount of energy. One day there is a problem and the output of one plant drops by 30%. This would be seen by the monitoring system and the other plant's output would be automatically increased by 30%. It is reactive, just like the nervous system in your body. No reasons to vote on it or debate it in Congress or in the Parliament. It's automatic because it's self-evident. We want to eliminate subjectivity currently dominant in today's society and replace politics with a system of physical reference. The possibilities of our technologies are absolutely profound. Even as unintuitive as it may seem, complex surgery is on pace with full automation and based on the pattern will likely become much more reliable than the human hand. In fact, people in the future will be appalled at the way we allowed someone as irrational, technically inexact and with as varied a result as a human being to operate directly on the most valuable, subtle and advanced machine we have, the human being. The bottom line is that it is socially irresponsible not to recognize this pattern and maximize the potential. We do not have the luxury of Luddite romanticism when it comes to the goals of material abundance and sustainability. We must follow the trends as they come about. The final issue to talk about before we leave is ownership. Ownership actually hampers access. We have less because we own more. The best example is cars, all right? If you require a car for whatever reason, the car is made available for you. When you get to your destination, the satellite system in the car should (we already have development) should be able to send that car off to the next person who needs it as opposed to sitting in some parking lot wasting time and space for likely 80% of its time. This is what we do now. It's because we have built our systems around this kind of ownership that we actually have. Individual access is a lot less. We must realize how many resources will be saved enabling access, abundance for all when we stop this destructive idea of everyone owning one of everything. Remember, property is this out-growth of scarcity. The only reason we own things is because there might not be enough to go around. In fact, if you think about it, property is a huge burden. No longer will a person need to live in one place. One could travel the world constantly getting what one needs as one moves along. Anything needed is obtained without restriction. We hoard things in our current system because (we have houses full of junk) we're afraid to get rid of it because we know that they have some kind of monetary value. And again, there is no reason for this kind of abuse, for there is nothing to gain. You can't steal things in a society where there is open access to everything. Perhaps you think that surpassing the monetary system is too radical. That it's pie in the sky. It's too futuristic. You know what I think is radical? Designing and presiding over a system based on infinite growth and which relies upon inefficiency and duplicated effort and inferior throw-away products in a finite world. We have to sell more, buy more, accrue more debt and produce more and more tons of waste in order for this system to function. Not only that, the successful function of the current system inherently means the few getting richer while the many get poor. Who will buy your products when there is so little work that the majority of humanity is unemployed? Who will use your services when most of us are starving? Yet we cannot keep producing more and more in a world with ever-shrinking resources and limited societal development development hamstrung by the need for every institution to preserve its status quo to begin with. That's the most radical thing I have ever heard of. It is demonstrably unsustainable. It is inhuman. In fact, it is anti-human. And while we hear this word "unsustainable" a lot it's over-used again and again by the media. Let me remind you again what it means exactly. It means in our global society based on deliberate inefficiency, waste, pollution and massive social stratification, the things we do right now will reach a point where it will not support human life the way we need it to. We must re-orientate our structures to support the population we have already, and which we are about to have. We are only successful in society if we take a hard look at the only thing which has ever been important and that is the survival of the entire species as a whole and to align our operations within the necessary laws and balances that our nature requires. That's the true meaning of evolution. I refuse to live in a society like this. I refuse to sit on top of the 10% of this world standing by while billions of mirror images of myself suffer and die for no good reason other than profit and artificial boundaries. No longer will I like to quietly tolerate the suffering of almost all of the only race I am a member of on the only planet in the known universe that I can presently inhabit. I do not accept that this is as good as it gets. This is as bad as it gets. We need to roundly reject this paralyzing, limiting, divisional fraudulent mess we laughingly refer to as economics. It is irrelevant and in direct opposition to our survival, and it is stunting to our staggering and subtle, fantastic unlimited potential. I'm sorry. It'll have to go. You know, if you consider yourself forward-thinking you'll have learned to be able to look back at the present from the future. The future population of this earth can look back one day at our present tense and see one of two things. They could see that we recklessly destroyed ourselves and each other, or they can see that we made it. In the future they are already looking at our living group. And I want them to see that we did make it. We have to make it. Thank you. The Zeitgeist Movement The Future of Economics Ben McLeish London, June 5th, 2010

Video Details

Duration: 1 hour, 12 minutes and 38 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: Ben McLeish
Views: 996
Posted by: ltiofficial on Jul 5, 2010

Ben McLeish covers automation, resource based economy, employment, technological unemployment, fractional reserve banking, and the media in the monetary system.

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