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The Choice is Ours - Parts I & II

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(Jacque Fresco) Years ago, I used to ask people "Do you think we'll ever get to the Moon?" They said "Not in a thousand years." I said "Did you study rockets or space travel?" - "No." "Then how do you arrive at that?" - "Just common sense." If we had common sense, there wouldn't be war, poverty, hunger or the destruction of the environment. If we can put a man on the Moon surely we can solve these problems. [Jeff Hoffman, retired NASA astronaut] Like many kids, when I was 6 years old I dreamed of flying in space. I'm old enough that, back then, the only astronauts were Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. I went on and became a professional astronomer. I was lucky enough to get selected in the first group of shuttle astronauts. We trained for a long time. Of course, you go through many different types of simulators. But when you're actually sitting up there on the rocket, you realize that "Hey, this is not the simulator!" The whole vehicle is shaking a little bit on the pad. Then, you hear this roar down beneath you. The whole shuttle tilts forward a little bit. Then, as it comes back to the vertical position, all of a sudden, "Wham!" the solid boosters ignite. There's an incredible vibration and noise. For the next two minutes, there is just so much power that you're sitting on top of. I was just holding on, thinking to myself Woh! I hope this whole thing holds together. Sure enough, it did. By that time, we're looking out the window. The blue sky has already turned to the blackness of space. And I can see in the distance the coast of Africa coming up into view. I always remember that feeling on my first flight when I realized: Wow, you're in space! You see from orbit the sunrises and sunsets 16 times every 24 hours. Flying over the Earth at night, in particular gives you a real sense of human civilization. During the day, you look down and you see the colors of the Earth. You see the forms of the landmass, of the continents. There's a lot of beautiful things to see during the day. There's also the view of the impact that humans have had on our planet, and that can be pretty scary. Over the course of 11 years of flying I watched as the Amazon jungle was continually being deforested. [Rondônia, Brazil 2010] [24 years of deforestation] At night, you'd constantly see agricultural burning all over the world. You could see harbors being silted up. You could see, in Africa, how the tree line would go up every year. We know about global warming and what we're doing to the atmosphere. That's the other thing you really get a sense of from space is how thin our atmosphere is. Basically, the idea that we're seeing this environmental damage on the Earth, created by humans, but we see it from a cosmic perspective, means that it's just not something that we can ignore. The planet is responding to the presence of humanity. [Carl Sagan, "Pale Blue Dot", 1994] The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they can become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. [Earth from 3.7 billion miles] Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Venus Project presents The Choice is Ours Documentary film by Roxanne Meadows, Joel Holt Original score by Kat Epple PART I (Narrator) For the first time we have the capability, the technology and the knowledge to achieve a global society of abundance for all. We cannot continue as we are or the consequences will surely be dire. A 2012 UN report states that a global population growth from 7 billion to almost 9 billion is expected by 2040. Demands for resources will rise exponentially. By 2030, requirements for food are projected to rise by 50%, energy by 45%, and water by 30%. We are presently depleting natural resources 50% faster than the planet can renew. At this rate, it is estimated that we'll need 3 more planet Earths to keep up with resource needs as they are today. What is the sixth extinction? Is it happening right now? What's the cause of it? What we, as human beings, are doing to the planet [is] changing the basic conditions of life very dramatically and very rapidly. (Narrator) And yet, from environmental disaster to war, our obsolete value systems perpetuate insanity, threatening us on many fronts. Is it the best we can do to just clean up after the fact? Are politicians capable or even competent to manage the world around us? (Gordon Brown) Let me explain. Order! The prime minister. (Narrator) Are we simply incapable of anticipating and planning for our future? Are we innately flawed in ways we can't change? (Journalist) Why not just use firing squads? - Aim! (Narrator) We often hear that human nature is fixed... It's only human nature! ...and our worst qualities are inborn. - How are they gonna stop being criminals? - Oh, nonsense! They were born that way and there is no use trying to change them. The Determinants of Behavior [Henry Schlinger Jr., PhD] I think it's difficult to talk about a specific human nature like we talk about fixed or modal action patterns in nonhuman species. But clearly in humans, learning plays the major role. In fact, I refer to humans as 'the learning animal', because humans learn more than any other animal. (Narrator) And yet, considering our history of aggression, warlike tendencies, jealousies and hatred... (US soldier) Keep shootin' (Narrator) ...we still have much to learn. One would think it impossible to simply overlook the conditions we're immersed in. The culture doesn't know any better. They don't know what forces are involved in shaping human behavior. Therefore, they invent their own concept and project their own values into human behavior and say that's human nature. That's where they're wrong. Right now we have an explosion of technologies in our culture. I think many people think that technology is going to save us. Certainly technology has made our lives easier in many respects. - Find parking space. - Parking space found. Sometimes it's good; sometimes it's not so good. (Journalist) Drones armed with Hellfire missiles... How would you like to get paid to spy on your neighbors? There's one technology that we don't have that we sorely need if we're going to really change and that's the technology of behavior. The science of behavior needs to be applied like the sciences of physics, chemistry, and biology have been. That's that one missing ingredient in our culture. And that's the toughest one because it opposes the way that most people think about themselves. (Narrator) Examining human behavior in the same manner as any other physical phenomenon will enable us to understand the factors responsible for shaping our attitudes and our conduct. All natural scientists assume that their subject matters are lawful and orderly. If they're not, then you can't do science. Behavioral scientists assume that human behavior and the behavior of other organisms is also lawful and orderly. To not assume that means that you accept that human behavior is somehow separate from the rest of nature. We don't make that assumption; we make the assumption that human behavior is part of nature. (Narrator) Human behavior is just as lawful as everything else. The sunflower does not turn to the sun. The sun makes it turn by pulling in membranes. A sailboat cannot sail; the wind moves it. Plants can't grow. They are shoved by sunshine, soil, temperature, all kinds of things. All things are shoved by something else. All people are acted upon by other things. Remember, your mother said "cup, table, light papa, mama" over and over again until you did the same thing. Even race hatred is learned. (Announcer) ... as the ideals of intolerance and racial superiority are taught to succeeding generations. You could be brought up to hate Afro-Americans. You could be brought up to hate Jews, Swedes, all kinds of people. I hate Philippinos. I hate Mexicans. I hate them all! We could raise a Jewish boy in a Nazi culture. He becomes a good Nazi. A Prime Effector? (Narrator) Mechanical processes are based upon many interacting systems. - What you got there, son? - A plane. What makes it fly? Is it the propeller? - The propeller is not going to turn unless you have the motor, right? - So, it's the motor? - But the motor needs fuel. - So I'm guessing it's the fuel that makes it fly. - Almost, but if you don't have the spark plugs, and the oxygen, the fuel's not going to burn. - So it's spark plugs and oxygen? - You would think so, but actually even with all that working, if you don't have the wings and control surfaces to give it lift it will never get off the ground. - So it's the wings and control surfaces that make it fly? - Actually, it's all the above, son. It's a complicated machine. It needs all these things working together to make the plane fly. That's a lot like other technologies and even human behavior. - So it's all those things that make it fly. - Exactly, kiddo! (Narrator) Just like mechanical systems, our behavior has no single cause. God gives people good blood and bad blood, and there's an end to it. (Narrator) Our behavior is generated by the many interacting variables that we encounter. The environment can never be the same for any two individuals. That really counters claims that people make when they say "I have three children. They were all raised in the same environment, but they all turned out so different." Well, by that definition, the same environment refers to the house they lived in or the parents they had. There's no such thing as 'the same environment.' If you have two kids, one is 4 years old and you play with him, and the 7 year old is standing there with that lower lip sticking out. You say "What's the matter?" and the kid goes like that. You're making jealousy and envy. That's where it comes from. (Dr. Schlinger) But from a scientific perspective, the environment really consists of the moment to moment interactions between your behavior and those events both inside and outside you. So, the environment is in constant flux. You put the young kid on your lap and the older kid. You say "I love you both." You never play with any one kid or have a favorite. If you say "You can go to the movie but you can't because you didn't do your homework", when she falls down the stairs, you have a grin on your face. [It's] not that you're bad, but you feel you've been mistreated. (Narrator) Even our concepts of aesthetics and beauty are often attributed to an intrinsic quality, but closer investigation reveals that these perceptions vary greatly from place to place and throughout history. I think notions of aesthetics and beauty are for the most part learned. All you have to do are cross-cultural examinations of what people consider to be attractive and beautiful. You'll find that they differ widely from culture to culture. Sometimes they differ widely within the same culture. There are people who wear brass rings around their neck. They stretch their neck. If you take those rings away, the head would fall over and they call that beauty. On some of the islands I went to visit, if the girl had her buttocks that stuck way out, that was beautiful. The other girls were nothing. (Announcer) Even a girl might find herself shut up in a cage until she's put on almost 265 pounds that make her almost, but not quite eligible for marriage in her country. I know there are suggestions that there are genetic contributions to what we think is beautiful, but I think the most parsimonious explanation we can have for what constitutes beauty to a given individual has to come from that individual's environment, the culture they're raised in. If everybody had a nose a foot long, you'd have surgery done. There is no such thing as beauty. It's all projection. If you marry the most beautiful girl in the world and she turns out to be a pain in the butt, that face becomes ugly to you. (Narrator) Some researchers are posing that genes rather than upbringing, determine if someone might become a criminal and even a murderer. If you ask people to tell you what determines whether they become a doctor, or a lawyer, or whatever profession, most people will agree that it has to do with your upbringing: the influences from your parents, from teachers, from others. Not genes. Genes don't determine that you become a lawyer or a doctor. (Narrator) Genes don't give us a value system or a process level by which we operate. Genes don't shape our behavior. The genes themselves were shaped by our evolutionary history. But our behavior alone is squarely shaped by the environment that we're exposed to. (Narrator) Behavior does not occur in a vacuum. It is always dependent on considerable environmental input. I wanted to know whether men have a natural attitude toward women, or do they learn it? So I went to some island years ago. The interesting thing about the islanders is that they wore no clothing. I never saw a male stare at the female body. Children swim nude when they're babies. Boys and girls together. There were no 'peeping toms' on the island. There were no pictures of nude women up on the wall in their huts because it was a normal thing to be nude. They said to the girl "Me like you." They stroked them from the top of the head all the way down. They didn't go for the breasts. Men go for women's breasts in this country because they're taught "Hey, get a load of that chick!" The Blame Game - And whose fault is it? - It's not the Democrats' fault. - It's not your fault. - It's the media's fault, and the Republicans' fault. And it's also the fault of the insurance company. - And it's all Obama's fault! The traditional notion, which is one that gives the individual personal responsibility and autonomy is one that gives the individual credit for his or her behavior and also on the other hand blames the individual for his or her behavior. Blaming people for their behavior is one of the most detrimental things of our so-called advanced culture. Their behavior is shaped by the culture they are brought up in. That's built upon, or based upon, an assumption that we are free; we freely choose our behavior. But a scientific perspective actually takes the opposite viewpoint. The scientific perspective is a determinist one, which suggests that our behavior is lawful and orderly, our behavior is caused. There's no serial killer that doesn't have a background that made him that way. Every New York gangster is made that way, by associating with people like that. (Narrator) Our social and legal systems blame and punish the individual. Yet these attempts to modify conduct by punitive means ignores the person's background and surroundings which shape that behavior to begin with. (TV announcer) From old-school prison gangs to disruptive street gangs: it's a dangerous mix for staff and inmates alike. (Narrator) Research shows that learning also changes the physical and chemical structure of the brain. Obviously, there are many contributing factors, but genes play a small role in comparison to the effects of the overall environment on how we learn. No Chinese baby was ever born speaking Chinese. Did you know that? They had to go to school to learn the language. No French baby was ever born speaking French. No matter how many years the parents spoke French they have to learn it. Our cerebral cortex is really built on plasticity. Our behavior is very malleable and very adaptive. We're the most adaptive creature on the planet. If you look at the history of humankind on the planet you can see that we've learned to adapt to every single environment on the planet. The only difference between a preacher and a thief is the environment they're reared in. (Narrator) We don't come to our own conclusions without any outside influences. We don't change our minds. Our minds are changed by events. - Heard about them Wright brothers? - No. - They say they wanna build themselves a flying machine. - They ain't never gonna be no flying machine. If God wanted them to fly, he would give them wings. (Roaring laughter) (Narrator) Our minds are changed by events. - I changed my mind! - Yeah, me too. If you're born with a brain that's more effective, faster than the average brain, you become a fascist faster if you're brought up in a fascist environment. A good brain cannot describe that which is significant. The brain has no mechanism of discrimination; only experimental evidence determines that. If the surroundings that establish our values remain unaltered, in spite of the urgings of poets, priests, and politicians the same behavior and values will persist. If you tell people that you're not to fish in a certain area, if you don't provide food for those people and the means of living, they will violate those laws. All laws have to coincide with the nature of the physical world. But it isn't the law that prevents crime, it's if you meet the conditions. (Journalist) These days, rhino poachers come by helicopter armed with powerful tranquilizers, and a chainsaw. Rhino horn is now worth more than gold. If people are unemployed, they will do whatever they have to do to feed their family. If you make a law and say that you're not to steal food, they will steal food if that serves their family needs. Any law that's made by man that doesn't fit the circumstances of reality will be violated. (Narrator) Higher ideals and aspirations that people hope for can't be realized when there is deprivation and war. [Andrew Bacevich - Boston University] If you want to go bomb somebody there's remarkably little discussion about how much it might cost. But when you have a discussion about whether or not we can assist people who are suffering, then suddenly we become very cost-conscious. (Narrator) No culture evaluates human behavior in this way. If they did, they would question what is it that generates greed, bigotry, inequities, and war. They bring you up with the values that put them in power. (Narrator) Unfortunately, all societies to date have indoctrinated people toward values that perpetuate those in power. PART II If you made a movie of the present day culture and showed it in the future, it would be a horror film. (Narrator) So, let's investigate the key factors governing the lives of people and nations: Money, and the values, behaviors, and consequences it produces. - What's the headline here? - The stock market is rigged! - You don't know your credit score? - I don't know my credit score. - That's really important... Don't you want to buy a house? (Motivational speaker) Who are you? Are you the motivated professional that will stop at nothing to get what you want? (TV announcer) ...and all are found guilty of more than ten counts of fraud. Profit motive. Competition. There's the basis of the capitalistic system. What's in your wallet? What do you drive? What do you want to buy? (Reporter) Military contractors are celebrating record profits, near all time highs. ...by the military industrial complex. A disastrous rise of misplaced power. If you're part of the military industrial complex maybe the point of that is more war. ...talk about drones and whether or not they help or hinder... ...no civilians will be killed or injured. [Explosion] (TV voice) The vast majority of those killed have not been high-value targets... (Voice) ...And the power of money is ever-present... An Obsolete System and is gravely to be regarded. "It was difficult for early forms of life to crawl out of the primordial slime without dragging some of it with them." ~ Jacque Fresco (Narrator) As a remnant of Antiquity money now largely serves as a mechanism of corruption, deprivation, and control in the hands of a few. [Abby Martin, Journalist & Host] It has corrupted everything. Every institution that we live in is corrupted by money. What's fascinating to me is that we can become enslaved by something that we've created, not physically, but just mentally enslaved by a notion that was invented by humanity. It is archaic, because I think we've grown past what money can do. "It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and money system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." ~Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company (Narrator) In a desperate attempt to survive, many work multiple jobs. They may steal, lie, or embezzle. ...so stress producing to the average person. ...worries about rent, losing their job, can't pay off a house. On a bigger scale, the profit motive creates a ruthless cycle of devastation. Illness, pollution, and war are accepted as normal. You have sort of a wartime economy that begins to be self-perpetuating. You have powerful people inside of a power vacuum, really who see it as in their interest to perpetuate the conflict. (Narrator) But it does benefit the few at the top who live parasitically by the manipulation and control of money. [Dylan Ratigan, Author & Host] The banking system right now is effectively enslaving individuals enslaving students, enslaving institutions and sucking resources from them. [Karen Hudes, Economist & Lawyer] They set it up so that there would be private central banks that could charge everybody interest on the currency and allow themselves to get rich without having to do anything. Who's been doing all of this? It's a group of bankers, the Federal Reserve System; that's a private system. The Fed is a private bank owned by private stockholders. Do not let the name 'federal' fool you. [Erin Ade, Reporter & Host] They just serve the banking needs of government [that] is essentially what they do. In 1913, which is when Woodrow Wilson allowed the Federal Reserve System legislation to be passed most of the Congress people had gone home. (Narrator) This legislation turned the central bank system of the United States over to the Federal Reserve Board making them the only group that could issue Federal Reserve notes or US dollars. President Wilson regretted that. He said that he had just sold this country downstream. "A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world; a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men." ~ President Woodrow Wilson, 1916 It's a fiat system that we operate under. It's actually someone punching numbers on a computer somewhere; that is how we manufacture money today. There's nothing backing it; there's nothing behind it. The money is backed up by the full faith one has in the US government. It's an IOU. (Narrator) When government spends more than it collects in taxes and needs money, it does not print its own money, but borrows from the Federal Reserve in exchange for US bonds which the Fed provides at interest. When people and corporations want money, they go to banks as well. The system is rigged. If a bank buys a $100 bond, the bank gets to lend out 10 times that amount, or $1000. They created the extra funds from nothing: no money, gold, or anything to back it up. The bank also gets back the loans with interest for all the money lent. Money is created in this way from the simple signature of a borrower with a promise to pay it back. To make matters worse, very often, people are paying the amount back many times over due to the interest. This is the process by which individuals, companies and governments acquire money. It is respectably referred to as 'fractional reserve lending' and is used globally by most other banking systems keeping people and entire nations in perpetual debt. If you just keep printing dollars with no backing, at a certain point people lose confidence in the currency, and that's what has happened. The banking system right now is in the business of manufacturing risk by creating debt for individuals and people. There is the risk that those people will not pay that debt back, but the liabilities for the risk have continually been assigned to the US taxpayer and the US currency. We're now sitting in a situation where the world's currencies are about to crash. Nobody knows how long it's going to take, but the Federal Reserve System has been printing dollars like there's no tomorrow. You have what is effectively a criminal enterprise based on the manipulation of people's attention, resources and time in order to extract value from them. They're stealing money from us that way. They're stealing the results of our efforts and our labor. That is something that has grown as a cancer on our society. These bankers are all part of a system called the Bank for International Settlements. Most people even in business and banking don't understand this bank and its role, the BIS. They own 40% of the assets of the 43,000 companies that are traded on the capital markets. The bank runs itself. It has a board of directors which is composed of 15 governors of central banks from around the world. ...and they pull down 60% of the annual earnings. They bought off all our media, and that media is hoodwinking citizens. The media's morphed into just peddling the corporate interests of the money masters that control the political establishment. There's about 118 boards of directors that sit on these five giant media corporations. They all serve different boards, from Monsanto to weapons, to food. When you have all these interests bleeding together, it's that much harder to differentiate what interests you're seeing laid out in the mainstream media. (TV Announcer) Fair, balanced. (Dylan Ratigan) If you want to understand power, you have to understand who nominates candidates, not understand who votes for candidates. Our system is not a democracy. The percentage of our population that participates in the nomination process is literally less than 5% of the population and really less than 1% of the population. If I was in control of the nominating process of everything that everybody ate and I always nominated cheeseburgers or fried chicken, and I told you that it was a democracy and you could eat anything you want as long as it was a cheeseburger or fried chicken. Would that be a democracy? I could sell it to you as a democracy because I don't decide whether you eat cheeseburgers or fried chicken. You get to vote in a very large and well-publicized election as to whether we're going with fried chicken or cheeseburgers. And people organize into very tribal groups being very anti-fried chicken and very pro-cheeseburger or, they'll explain to you exactly why cheeseburgers are going to be the end of the world and why fried chicken is going to save you. (Narrator) Those who can afford it hire lobbyists who essentially buy politicians. Most of the time, either party will suit their needs. [Professor James Thurber] The definition of a lobbyist in the United States is someone who advocates for someone else and is getting paid for it. (Narrator) The laws then enacted are quite often written by the corporations to benefit themselves. (Narrator) Professor Thurber sees an underground explosion in lobbying and estimates the industry actually brings in more than $9 billion a year exceeded only by tourism and government. The reason that we aren't changing things right now is the banks have lobbyists in Washington in numbers I've never seen. (Narrator) Lobbyists are strictly there to buy access. They are not there to enhance the democratic process. Families and working people just don't have that kind of representation power or influence to look after their needs. There's actually a lobbyist for Citibank, when we're talking about Volcker Rule and Dodd-Frank, who literally rewrote an amendment to Dodd-Frank. It was not written by any politician [or] written by a politician's underling in his office. It was written by a Citibank lobbyist! They have designed the system to reinforce and, in a sense, finance themselves based off of special interests. Everything that was around in 2007-2008 that we got so scared about, the mortgage-backed securities, the credit default swaps, the other derivatives: they still exist. They absolutely do. Yes, there are higher capital requirements for the banks so they can't be as leveraged, but those are not that high. If we don't have a media that's providing who's really writing these bills and passing this legislation and what it's all for and who it serves, then we're living in an illusion. [Paul Wright, Author] Generally the laws in this country are written by the wealthy and the powerful because I think, by definition, that's who controls the legislatures and the commanding heights of the power system in this country. That's a scary reality because you can pay your way into having laws implemented that serve you and your corporation as you'd like them to serve. The complete impunity that corporations have to operate unabated and pollute the entire planet... A major spill of toxic coal ash is raising questions again about the safety of water and the government regulators overseeing industry. There's zero accountability, other than the slap on the wrist of a couple fines here and then; I mean [from] slave labor to the exploitation of resources on the planet. (Reporter) The massive infernos sent flames into the night sky fueled by crude oil from ruptured tank cars. (Narrator) The transportation secretary Anthony Foxx can merely advise the industry that these railcars are not fit for service. But this advice is only voluntary. And so the slap on the wrist of industries that pollute, cut corners and violate policies will continue as long as it's profitable to do so. JP Morgan paid $13 billion in fines last year! If you have that much money in order to just pay fines... and they put away $19 billion, for paying fines! (Reporter) JP Morgan is paying $410 million to settle charges with the government but JP Morgan is not admitting any wrongdoing. Goldman Sachs settled early on in this case for $550 million without admitting wrongdoing. UBS has agreed to pay about $50 million. Under the terms of the settlement, UBS did not admit any wrongdoing. I think that people commit the crimes that they're in a social position to commit. I think it's Bertolt Brecht that asked "Which is a greater crime: to rob a bank or to own one?" I think as we've seen from everything from the savings and loan scandals to the Wall Street meltdown, that all too often the owners of the banks are frequently looting the institutions that employ them. They commit all manner of illegal acts and yet they're very rarely prosecuted for them. (Narrator) To establish their footing, industries often hire politicians when they leave office, having direct ties and furthering the bonds between politics and business. (Announcer) On Wall Street, Cantor will be the vice chairman and managing director of an investment bank, earning more than $3 million over two years. I like to call it the "Washington-to-Wall Street revolving door" and the shenanigans that go on there. (Prof. Lessig) 50% of the Senate between 1998 and 2004 left to become lobbyists, 42% of the House. Those numbers have only gone up. The average increase in salary for those who they tracked was 1452%! Throughout history, there's been very little pretense that the government has also acted as an agent for the wealthy class. Yes, there might be idealistic politicians that got into the game to change the world, but if they're good - any good at their job - they're no longer changing the world, they're serving the interests of their donors if they want to rise in the world of politics. They say, "Write to your Congressman." Who the hell is this jackass that you have to write? He should be at the forefront of technology and knowledge. You don't have to write to him. I'm sure most of you have flown in airliners. You don't have to write to the pilot saying "You're flying at an angle! Straighten out, god dammit!" He knows his business; that's how he got the job! The people in Washington now are lawyers and businessmen and can solve no problems. There are 317 million Americans, give or take. In 2012, 80% of the super PAC money was provided by 196 individuals. If the bottom line is a profit-driven world, then those interests are going to be served first, and everything [else] is going to be secondary. That's the sad reality of it. (Narrator) Within the monetary system, consumers are viewed merely as part of a market, existing as potential sales for profit and proudly present their designer labels, cars and other branding to enhance their self-esteem. They become but another billboard. The values are just profit maximization, year after year. We use artificial pumping in animals to make them grow faster. If you can multiply the cells in a chicken faster, you can sell it sooner. Does that have an effect on the human body? They don't worry about that. They worry about the sale of chickens. There is no value system that is put out there that is actually beneficial to humanity because it's based on consumerism and profit making. (Narrator) Wealth is going to the rich faster than at any other time in history. (Narrator) People are talking about the fact that the richest 1% have so much more than everybody else. Let's take the whole world's population, and reduce to just a representative 100 individuals. Poorest people on the left, richest people on the right. Now let's show how the world's total wealth is distributed. The vast majority have practically nothing, while the richest 1% have accumulated 43% of our world's wealth. The bottom 80%, meanwhile, that's 8 out of every 10 people have just 6% between them. The richest 300 people on Earth have the same wealth as the poorest 3 billion. The number of people it takes to fill a mid-sized commercial aircraft have more wealth than the populations of India, China, the US and Brazil combined. The success of the industrialized world has been dependent on the failure and the lack of development of the developing world. The reason that they are stifled is because they are indebted to the first world; we wouldn't be prospering if it weren't for the labor that's going on and the indentured servitude that's going on in the entire developing country. So the power dynamic can never change in that respect because it's literally dependent on it being that way. (Reporter) The dirty and dangerous work done by children. The jobs down in the pits are typically reserved for teenagers with only tree limbs to brace the mine walls. The risk to them is real. Rich governments like to say that they're helping poor countries develop, but who is developing who here? Each year poor countries are paying about $600 billion in debt service to rich countries on loans that have already been paid off many times over. Then there's the money that poor countries lose from trade rules imposed by rich countries. Altogether, that's more than $2 trillion every year. (Narrator) Money systems have existed for centuries, and whether we realize it or not, have always been used to control behavior by limiting the purchasing power of the majority of people. One example of this is the criminal justice system. I think a lot of people that view our criminal justice system as a racist conspiracy is because of the fact that you have such massively disproportionate numbers of especially black men that are incarcerated in our prison and jail system. 40 to 50% of the people in our criminal justice system are black men. Black men make up roughly 5% of the nation's population. I think people can discuss and debate the causes for that; this goes for everything from institutional racism, policing practices. But I think at the end of the day it boils down to class as I think that the reason racial minorities are disproportionately incarcerated is because they're also disproportionately poor. The case seems to speak to a two-tiered justice system. This is a rich guy who got a very skilled attorney to work the system for him in a way that most wouldn't get that type of justice. No one is claiming that rich black men are being incarcerated in massive numbers or even significant numbers. Rich, black men get pretty much the same treatment that rich, white men get, which is they don't go to prison. Environment shapes values. You don't work on the individual. You don't work on a person that has emotional problems. They may have emotional problems because they earn minimum wage. Psychologists try to adjust you to this system, so they have to be stupid. (Narrator) The recidivism rate from prisons is high and many proclaim prisons don't work because of this. But ultimately, prisons are a resounding success as a tool for social control to safeguard the political and economic established system. If you hire people whose only expertise is caging people to try to fix social problems, you’re not going to get a very good solution. But I think they’re very good at caging people and I think that’s why mass incarceration has been a huge success for the ruling class in this country. (Narrator) According to the World Health Organization, the greater the economic inequity of a society the higher its rates of violence, from homicides to war. And the US has the highest murder rate of any developed country. The United States is really number one in a lot of things and I think the biggest thing where we can say we’re number one in is how many people we lock up. The United States has roughly 5% of the world’s population but we’ve got 25% of the world’s prisoners. China has 4 times as many people as the United States does and half as many prisoners. The United States has more prisoners than the Soviet Union did at the height of the purges and the collectivization in the 1930s in the infamous Soviet Gulag. Consequences of Poverty (Narrator) Poverty is a vicious cycle rarely escaped by the poor. Studies found that scarcity can reduce mental capacity and cognitive performance. In children it affects their brain development and memory. Poverty is a bigger risk factor for mental illness than being exposed to war. (Narrator) Socioeconomic exclusion also prevents people from buying healthy foods since processed package foods with high sugar and sodium levels is much cheaper than nutrient-dense fresh foods. No Grocery Stores In recent years, a disturbing trend has emerged. There’s a tremendous history of disinvestment from grocery stores that have moved out of lower-income communities deliberately as a business decision. Health Problems (Narrator) The stress of poverty is also linked to health problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, elevated rates of obesity and diabetes. Statistically, they are far more likely to smoke. Additionally, the poor are often forced to live in areas of low air quality. Far from being a problem for only the poor, all areas of the socioeconomic spectrum suffer when our air, food and water are polluted by fossil fuel emissions and radiation from nuclear accidents. (Reporter) Because of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant the whole area is now a radioactive wasteland and the people who lived there don't know if they'll ever be able to go home. Deaths from Pollution [Prof. Mark Jacobson, Civil & Env. Engineer] The current energy infrastructure results in about 2.5 to 4 million deaths per year worldwide from respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and complications from asthma. We’re in downtown Beijing and the pollution readings have once again gone off the charts. Readings are around 25 times World Health Organization’s standards. ...including 50 to 100 thousand deaths per year in the United States and 16,000 alone in California. "We have allowed ourselves to believe, and live, a mated pair of economic lies: that nothing has a value that is not assigned to it by the market, and that the economic life of our communities can safely be handed over to the great corporations." ~ Wendell Berry The economic system that we’re living in today is destroying the planet because it is based on an unsustainable model. We’re seeing proof of that right now. The current energy infrastructure, which has been going on for a long time, has resulted in the accumulation of green house gasses and particles that cause warming of the Earth’s climate. The Earth’s climate is warming at a rate faster than any time since deglaciation from the last ice age. What are the Real Costs? If you were to integrate the cost of war the cost of pollution and the cost of environmental disruption a gallon of gasoline would cost between 15 and 20 dollars a gallon. Now, the US taxpayer subsidizes gasoline by absorbing the cost of pollution, by absorbing the clean up cost of spills by absorbing the cost of a global predatory military to secure those resources on behalf of private energy companies that then sell the oil at 3 to 4 to 5 dollars a gallon which perpetuates the system. Planetary Impact In addition, the higher CO2 levels: CO2 is an acid... [well] it dissolves in water and becomes carbonic acid and has resulted in the acidification of the oceans. This is destroying coral reefs. We have to realize our planet does have a certain amount of regenerative power and there is no question that we’ve been through numerous worldwide extinctions. We have fossil records of that and the Earth has recovered. There is a limiting carrying capacity though. In addition, you increase the incidence of wild fires and forest fires and that increases air pollution as well, with higher temperatures. I’d like to think that some day we will become a multi-planet species but we still have to take care of our home planet. Rising Sea Levels There are many additional impacts of global warming. Sea level rise is a very big concern, for example: right now there are about 65 to 70 meters of sea level stored in ice mostly in the Antarctic, but also in glaciers in Greenland and also sea ice in the Arctic and other places. If the temperature is warm enough that we melt all this ice that means the sea levels will rise 65 to 70 meters and that will cover 7% of all the world’s land and ...all this is along the coast where most people in the world live, this will cause a significant disaster. It’s almost certain that the regenerative power of the Earth does have certain limitations. If we push things too far, what’s to say that we couldn’t have a runaway greenhouse effect on the Earth like we did on Venus? Raging Storms We’re also seeing enhanced storminess, increased intensity of hurricanes, and greater extremes of weather associated with global warming. There are significant problems associated with this and these are all tied back to the emissions from coal, oil and gas combustion that have been occurring since the industrial revolution that started in the mid to late 1700s. We have a finite system, just like we do inside our spacecraft. There, of course, we know the environmental limits a lot better than we do for the planet Earth, because the planet Earth is much more complex than the environmental control system we have in a spaceship. But it is finite, the Earth is finite and it’s been carrying life for billions of years. Hopefully, it will continue to do so but let’s not stress the Earth past the point at which it can recover. Is Earth the insane asylum of the universe? (Narrator) It is probable that war itself could be our undoing let alone the environment. (Megaphone voice) We want to send a message to America! The more drone attacks you conduct, the more people will resent you! The drones create suicide bomber factories. (Narrator) Our brutal competitive behaviors are not human nature but simply a result of scarcity, making us all competitors in the fight to attain what we need to survive. While scarcity is naturally occurring, it's also intentional in industries and governments for profit and national interest. As long as nations are immersed in scarcity we will continue to have conflicts between people. Crimes, murder and other violence to all-out war the ultimate expression of human stupidity. - Bomb the heck out of them! These behaviors must be surpassed if we wish to survive. - Drop the bombs on them! - It's the best recruiting tool for al-Qaeda. This guarantees the cycle of violence will go on. (Narrator) With our technological ability to provide for all we must take steps toward a different approach. Or the endless cycle of booms, busts and war will continue. - (sarcastic) Oh, no! Peace in our time. Aye yai yai. "If we don't end war, war will end us." ~H. G. Wells, 1936 Nobody, including -most of all- the United States goes to war to liberate or spread democracy. The only incentive on a practical level to go to war is to acquire resources. In the United States' case, it frequently is either energy resources [or] shall I say supporting political alliances to preserve access to energy resources. (Narrator) Smedley Butler, a US Marine Corps General Major, who was the most decorated marine at the time of his death stated it well when he wrote: "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies. In China, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best that he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents. War is a racket. It always has been. A few profit and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war." Our universities today are better equipped than ever: the best microscopes, the best scientific equipment... The bombs are getting worse. The wars are getting worse. The killing is getting worse. You don't need to kill people, [or] bomb cities. There's something wrong with our culture; very wrong! (Abby) So, we cannot survive in this system. I think it's time to reinvent the wheel and figure out how can we really survive, not only as a species but as a planet because time is running out. (Narrator) To blame any individual or corporation does not get at the root causes of the problems. The structure of our socioeconomic system itself has everyone out to meet their own needs, creating a predatory, competitive environment. Attempting to find solutions to the monumental problems within our present society will only serve as temporary patchwork prolonging what is quickly becoming an obsolete system. (Narrator) In our next episode, we will explore more perspectives in the fields of automation, science and sustainable energy. And The Venus Project will present an innovative social design. Its primary concern is the well-being of people enabling everyone to have a high standard of living while protecting the planet's ecosystem. We will explain and illustrate many proposals: total city systems, canals that bring rising sea waters into below sea level deserts, cities in the sea for reclamation of our ocean environment, and other exciting scenarios for global redesign. To Be Continued Translations by Linguistic Team International http://forum.linguisticteam.org

Video Details

Duration: 59 minutes and 1 second
Year: 2015
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: The Venus Project
Director: The Venus Project
Views: 422
Posted by: ltiofficial on Feb 6, 2015

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