Zeitgeist: Addendum – Sound Economics?

October 9, 2008

A recent movie called Zeitgeist: Addendum introduces a concept called Resource-Based Economy from The Venus Project as a replacement to our current fiat based fractional reserve monetary system. The movie raises a lot of questions and observations and I will address here only a few of them based on the article only.

Medium of Exchange, Barter, and Money

“A Resource-Based Economy is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival.”

Money is only a medium of exchange. It is not the wealth. It only presents the future wealth we believe it can provide us in form of goods and services from other people whom we hope to accept our money in an exchange for our desired goods and services.

Wealth is created by people who produce goods and services. We use money as a middleman to satisfy our current and future needs. What we do not consume immediately we can store for later day, save (i.e. invest).

Basically anything can be used as a medium of exchange. History knows many commodities used as money. Currently we have accepted printed-paper notes as money which have no other productive use.

Demand for Money and Supply of Money from Human Action by Ludwig von Mises:

“A medium of exchange is a good which people acquire neither for their own consumption nor for employment in their own production activities, but with the intention of exchanging it at a later date against those goods which they want to use either for consumption or for production.

Money is a medium of exchange. It is the most marketable good which people acquire because they want to offer it in later acts of interpersonal exchange. Money is the thing which serves as the generally accepted and commonly used medium of exchange. This is its only function. All the other functions which people ascribe to money are merely particular aspects of its primary and sole function, that of a medium of exchange.[3]

Media of exchange are economic goods. They are scarce; there is [p. 402] a demand for them. There are on the market people who desire to acquire them and are ready to exchange goods and services against them. Media of exchange have value in exchange. People make sacrifices for their acquisition; they pay “prices” for them. The peculiarity of these prices lies merely in the fact that they cannot be expressed in terms of money. In reference to the vendible goods and services we speak of prices or of money prices. In reference to money we speak of its purchasing power with regard to various vendible goods.

There exists a demand for media of exchange because people want to keep a store of them. Every member of a market society wants to have a definite amount of money in his pocket or box, a cash holding or cash balance of a definite height. Sometimes he wants to keep a larger cash holding, sometimes a smaller; in exceptional cases he may even renounce any cash holding. At any rate, the immense majority of people aim not only to own various vendible goods; they want no less to hold money. Their cash holding is not merely a residuum, an unspent margin of their wealth. It is not an unintentional remainder left over after all intentional acts of buying and selling have been consummated. Its amount is determined by a deliberate demand for cash. And as with all other goods, it is the changes in the relation between demand for and supply of money that bring about changes in the exchange ratio between money and the vendible goods.”

The purchasing power is based on the exchange of goods and services between individuals in any society. In order to get something you have to give something. One can do this directly by bartering fish to bread or use a medium of exchange in between. For example buy ‘money’ by selling the fish and then sell the money and buy the bread. (see The Pattern of Indirect Exchange from Man, Economy and State by Murray N Rothbard)

Provided that the society is based on trust where no one is cheating (i.e. getting something for nothing-stealing) in principal it does not matter what is used as money. Mises has theoretically proven (regressium theorum) that for example gold and silver evolved as the commonly accepted medium of exchange by having an alternative productive (i.e. economic = scarce) use first.  Later they became the de facto standard ‘money’. For example gold can be used for jewelry and semiconductors as well as a medium of exchange.

Our current fiat money is not backed by anything. This means that one can fabricate more money and thus steal/cheat from the society. By printing more paper notes one can exchange those notes to real goods and services (provided that people still believe in the money and are ignorant of the scam) without giving anything back. Thus getting something for nothing. The overall wealth in the society has not increased as a result of printing more paper notes, ‘money’. There are no more goods or services for the members of the society to enjoy and consume. (see What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Mystery of Banking)

Alan Greenspan wrote in his article Gold and Economic Freedom in 1967:

“Money is the common denominator of all economic transactions. It is that commodity which serves as a medium of exchange, is universally acceptable to all participants in an exchange economy as payment for their goods or services, and can, therefore, be used as a standard of market value and as a store of value, i.e., as a means of saving.

The existence of such a commodity is a precondition of a division of labor economy. If men did not have some commodity of objective value which was generally acceptable as money, they would have to resort to primitive barter or be forced to live on self-sufficient farms and forgo the inestimable advantages of specialization. If men had no means to store value, i.e., to save, neither long-range planning nor exchange would be possible.

What medium of exchange will be acceptable to all participants in an economy is not determined arbitrarily. First, the medium of exchange should be durable. In a primitive society of meager wealth, wheat might be sufficiently durable to serve as a medium, since all exchanges would occur only during and immediately after the harvest, leaving no value-surplus to store. But where store-of-value considerations are important, as they are in richer, more civilized societies, the medium of exchange must be a durable commodity, usually a metal. A metal is generally chosen because it is homogeneous and divisible: every unit is the same as every other and it can be blended or formed in any quantity. Precious jewels, for example, are neither homogeneous nor divisible. More important, the commodity chosen as a medium must be a luxury. Human desires for luxuries are unlimited and, therefore, luxury goods are always in demand and will always be acceptable. Wheat is a luxury in underfed civilizations, but not in a prosperous society. Cigarettes ordinarily would not serve as money, but they did in post-World War II Europe where they were considered a luxury. The term “luxury good” implies scarcity and high unit value. Having a high unit value, such a good is easily portable; for instance, an ounce of gold is worth a half-ton of pig iron.

In the early stages of a developing money economy, several media of exchange might be used, since a wide variety of commodities would fulfill the foregoing conditions. However, one of the commodities will gradually displace all others, by being more widely acceptable. Preferences on what to hold as a store of value, will shift to the most widely acceptable commodity, which, in turn, will make it still more acceptable. The shift is progressive until that commodity becomes the sole medium of exchange. The use of a single medium is highly advantageous for the same reasons that a money economy is superior to a barter economy: it makes exchanges possible on an incalculably wider scale.”

No system is ever moral (or immoral) – only people are. Our current fiat monetary system is based on a governmental controlled banking cartel but it is not certainly the only option available (see e.g. free banking and Free Choice of Currencies). It is far stretched leap to state that no system will work because our current one is at fault. Money is only a tool, an objective means to ends, in itself it is a neutral carrier like energy that can be utilised to constructive or destructive purposes. (see Francisco’s Money Speech)

Abundant Resources and Planned Economy

“The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival… It is only when resources are scarce that money can be used to control their distribution.”

I find this a bit confusing about the abundant resources if abundance is defined as something that is available in large quantities and available to all. It can be understood such a way by this quote: “Although air and water are valuable, in abundance they cannot be sold.” Our natural resources are limited on Earth. Certainly each individual’s time is limited – we cannot do everything, we have to make choices and decide upon different alternatives. The limitations we have mean that they are scarce. If we decide to build a house there is something else that we cannot do at the same time. The Resource-Based Economy does not remove scarcity. (see The Fundamentals of Human Action and Acting Man)

“In an economy based on resources rather than money, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all… With automated inventory on a global scale, we can maintain a balance between production and distribution”

The key problem with the Resource-Based Economy is the fact that there is no economy at all. There is no money, which means that it is impossible to define prices for any resource, work, material, or production. And without any valuation method it is impossible to have a rational basis for selection and decision-making. This is the core problem in any planned economy. Somehow it has to be decided what is to be produced, at what quantity, when, by who, and for what purpose on behalf of the community. But there is no objective yardstick available that enables to satisfy individuals different and variant needs and desires.

The following are some quotes from Ludwig von Mises works where he has shown that planned economy results chaos and problems that cannot be solved by more planning: 

“The market is not a place, a thing, or a collective entity. The market is a process, actuated by the interplay of the actions of the various individuals cooperating under the division of labor. The forces determining the –continually changing–state of the market are the [p. 258] value judgments of these individuals and their actions as directed by these value judgments. The state of the market at any instant is the price structure, i.e., the totality of the exchange ratios as established by the interaction of those eager to buy and those eager to sell. There is nothing inhuman or mystical with regard to the market. The market process is entirely a resultant of human actions. Every market phenomenon can be traced back to definite choices of the members of the market society.

The market process is the adjustment of the individual actions of the various members of the market society to the requirements of mutual cooperation. The market prices tell the producers what to produce, how to produce, and in what quantity. The market is the focal point to which the activities of the individuals converge. It is the center from which the activities of the individuals radiate…

For monetary economic calculation is the intellectual basis of the market economy. The tasks set to acting within any system of the division of labor cannot be achieved without economic calculation. The market economy calculates in terms of money prices. That it is capable of such calculation was instrumental in its evolution and conditions its present-day operation. The market economy is real because it can calculate.” (http://mises.org/humanaction/chap15sec1.asp)

“The paradox of “planning” is that it cannot plan, because of the absence of economic calculation. What is called a planned economy is no economy at all. It is just a system of groping about in the dark. There is no question of a rational choice of means for the best possible [p. 701] attainment of the ultimate ends sought. What is called conscious planning is precisely the elimination of conscious purposive action.” (http://mises.org/humanaction/chap26sec1.asp)

“Picture the building of a new railroad. Should it be built at all, and if so, which out of a number of conceivable roads should be built? In a competitive and monetary economy, this question would be answered by monetary calculation. The new road will render less expensive the transport of some goods, and it may be possible to calculate whether this reduction of expense transcends that involved in the building and upkeep of the next line. That can only be calculated in money. It is not possible to attain the desired end merely by counterbalancing the various physical expenses and physical savings. Where one cannot express hours of labor, iron, coal, all kinds of building material, machines and other things necessary for the construction and upkeep of the railroad in a common unit it is not possible to make calculations at all. The drawing up of bills on an economic basis is only possible where all the goods concerned can be referred back to money. Admittedly, monetary calculation has its inconveniences and serious defects, but we have certainly nothing better to put in its place, and for the practical purposes of life monetary calculation as it exists under a sound monetary system always suffices. Were we to dispense with it, any economic system of calculation would become absolutely impossible.” (http://mises.org/econcalc/ch2.asp)

(see Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis and Economic Calculation In The Socialist Commonwealth)

Even without the rational decision making problem the Resources-Based Economy raises several questions:

  • who controls the resources and makes the decisions (and based on which criteria)?
  • who allocates the work needed?
  • who is behind the law and order, and their enforcement?
  • By who’s standards, beliefs and values the society operates?

If the system is not based on voluntarily and mutual interaction between members of the society without any coercion and force against those who do not want to participate to the community it is no different from our current centrally controlled and manipulated (often tyrannical) structures.

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40 Comments

  • Reply Petri October 11, 2008 at 10:45

    G. Edward Griffin wrote his analysis of Zeitgeist Addendum:

    “In summary, this program does NOT offer a cure. It offers a mega dose of the disease itself.”

  • Reply Daniel October 14, 2008 at 11:47

    I praise Zeitgeist Addendum for revealing the problem to me.
    I praise you for reinforcing my belief that a resource-based economy is not the solution, at least not in the way described in Zeitgeist Addendum.

    I do believe that technology has a role to play in the solution, and would like to contribute in what I can. Unfortunately I am ignorant of any other organised movements to this effect.

  • Reply Petri October 14, 2008 at 12:48

    Thanks Daniel 🙂

    Technology is a tool we can use but it needs to be guided by ethics and sustainable solutions.

    There are new approaches but they are often local. Here’s one good example: Solari.

  • Reply Fred Mann October 17, 2008 at 5:12

    Great analysis and great links. I’m glad someone was able to plod through this claptrap.
    The zeitgeisters say “that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resources”. Sure, but they’re not in a form ready for use. There is much real work to be done every day. The state of affairs they describe only exists in the Garden of Eden (ironically). There’s just so many major mistakes being made by these people it’s hard to know where to begin….

  • Reply Nathan October 17, 2008 at 5:15

    Well done! I caught this link from the infowars website. Thankfully, too. I was dying to read an objective analysis from a von Mises point of view. The Z’topia sounds like a dystopia to me. Diversity and individualism are freedom, conformity is tyranny.
    “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Albert Einstein

  • Reply Petri October 17, 2008 at 5:47

    Thanks for your comments Fred and Nathan!

    Glad to be at service 🙂

  • Reply Doc October 17, 2008 at 7:54

    Nice insights. Agree definitely on fiat allowing governments to “rob” by printing more money freely without the creation of counterpart goods and services. There’s obviously a lead time for the new money to debase the existing stock. This lead time is what gives governments the ability to effect results before inflation adjusts the whole money stock and consequently the value of all goods and services in the system.

    On the morality of money, I do agree that money is a means, not the ends–but there is also the self-perpetuating nature of the system based on money. There may be options/alternatives to the fiat system, but by its design the fiat monetary system rewards itself and agents who propagate it–to the extent that there are really no options at all as those who may propose alternatives can be penalized by those who hold sway over majority of the capital in the current system.

    Say, the producer of Zeitgeist, in his proposal for the Venus idea, will never go far, if he himself isn’t funded well enough to continue the lobby against the fiat system. It’s an oxymoron to suggest alternatives when these alternatives have to be borne out of the existing system.

    Which is also why understanding the nature of alternative economies can be difficult–since we are by default examining these options from the POV of the current monetary system. We are forced to use existing terminologies and propose analogies based on the current structure, which could stymie genuine appreciation of what could be a viable (albeit radical from our present scenario) option.

    One thing is for sure, the fiat system isn’t disappearing tomorrow, and despite its limitations we ultimately have to contend with it, while we prospect for better alternatives elsewhere.

  • Reply Petri October 17, 2008 at 8:17

    The good news is that all fiat currencies have collapsed finally and will in the future too – it’s just a matter of time.

    It requires quite a lot of diligence from an individual to act in a manner that is not supporting/encouraging the current fiat system. For example:
    – do not use bank debt (or credit cards)
    – use your local bank (not a large corporation)
    – savings in gold and other non-fiat assets etc.
    – invest in sustainable and ethical ventures
    – utilise complementary / alt. currencies when available
    etc.

    Fortunately there are initiatives like an interest-free bank that are the loudest and clearest examples of change and alternatives.

  • Reply Morality Of Money and The Money Question « The Critical Thinker(tm) October 17, 2008 at 8:22

    […] that article here. An interesting portion on morality of money: No system is ever moral (or immoral) – only people […]

  • Reply Christine Baker October 17, 2008 at 9:25

    Of course the solutions proposed in Zeitgeist won’t work, but it’s not an issue for another few hundred years. Being controlled by MACHINES is my worst nightmare.

    However, the movie gets the word out about the problems with out CURRENT system and hopefully more awareness will have a positive impact and cause people to come up with more realistic solutions.

    Thanks for the link to the Swedish JAK link.

    In my opinion, the Common Good Bank concept http://www.commongoodbank.com/ is just about ideal.

    It seems ironic that they’re ready to open a bank with all the profits to go to the account holders and community, but they can’t raise the $1.5 mill required startup capital — while literally TRILLIONS are handed to commercial banks, insurers and investors.

    Of course Americans with money don’t want to fund a bank that’s essentially pure communism and that’s probably why the common good bank is shunned by even the most radical economists.

  • Reply Petri October 17, 2008 at 9:51

    This is the first time I hear about the Common Good Bank. Thanks for sharing Christine!

    Hmm…maybe we already are – depending on the definition of machines 😉

  • Reply Steve Mussared October 19, 2008 at 12:17

    machines would not control man. Its not like the matrix or terminator…Machines would simply be an extension of mankinds will. Like a pair of tweezers , or a bicycle…

  • Reply Christine Baker October 19, 2008 at 9:38

    I don’t have a problem with technology such as a traffic signal controlling me because I stop when the light is red.

    Either in an interview or at the Zeitgeist website was a statement about the machine deciding what people will do, based on the PLANET’S needs and environmental concerns.

    Zeitgeist does NOT promote democracy, but control by machines.

    Who controls the machines?

    Do we have global warming or global cooling?

    THAT is the problem.

    Have you looked into Damanhur? http://damanhur.org/

    If you like utopia, check out http://www.damanhur.it/atlan/html/page_1.htm — the paintings of Atlantis (time travel)

    While this sounds really bizarre and “cultist” with their temples and I’m really not into the new age stuff, I got Jeff Merrifield’s book about Damanhur at http://www.deepdiscount.com/viewproduct.htm?productId=9593644

    My ideal society would be very much like Damanhur and that they’ve been around for 30 years is amazing. Most work regular jobs, but they have so many projects.

    The trees participating in an orchestra with synthesizers, a potted tree going on road trips to teach other trees how to make music …

    They don’t allow factories, but one guy had a high end food business and their products were sold all over the world. He had about 100 employees (not the hire/fire type) and did great until another major food company ripped off their designs and produced everything in a factory to price them out of business.

    That’s one of the problems you run into if the rest of the world isn’t on your level.

    They also produce their organic food (animals and veggies), they test food for GM, pesticides, etc. and they developed some “machine” to make food/vitamins last longer as it’s scanned at the checkout.

    They have their own currency (the Credito) and constitution.

    Each household (nucleo) determines how they live, structure their finances, etc.

    They don’t get married for life, but initially for 1 year. If things don’t go that well, they simply don’t renew their marriage. I bet that eliminates many personal problems.

    If you want to see what CAN be done TODAY, that’s a must read book.

    It also describes the problems they’ve encountered, “rebellion” by the young people, Oberto getting fed up with the complacency and disappearing, …

    It’s NOT utopia, it’s about the last 30 years.

    Some people dismiss Damanhur because the UN gave them an award, so they must be part of the evil system. I don’t think so. If I didn’t have to fly to get there, I would have been there to see for myself.

    My ideal society would be very similar. High tech, yet self sufficient. Locally grown food, energy independent.

    I’m also very impressed with their school. The kids not only learn other languages, but TRAVEL and really get an education.

    They take care of their old people, don’t just ship them off to a nursing home.

    I’ve been looking at intentional communities in the US and most are the “cavemen” types, survivalist, preparing for the collapse, militia, home schooling (mental incest), yearning for the simple life.

    Been wondering whether the Damanhur spiritual aspects are a requirement to get people to want to research and develop, to try new concepts, to have an interest in science, to make the planet a better place for all.

    Obviously I’d like to hear about any similar communities anywhere on the continent. I don’t fly.

  • Reply Art Prosser October 23, 2008 at 3:20

    I bet all the starving people in the world would gladly accept a resource based economy. The world does not belong to the rich!

  • Reply Chris Boucher October 23, 2008 at 9:59

    All of your ideas and suggestions are great, however there is still no “outside of the box thinking” Everyone is thinking from our past and not the future.

    We are taught that the past is what we learn from, but if most of history has been mistranslated, misinformed, and CHANGED, then how do we know whats right or wrong? Most of these responses from an unanylized thought because they think how it would work in OUR society and how the PAST was…

    You should all read, SWAY by Ori & Rom Brafman…

  • Reply Petri October 23, 2008 at 10:41

    Chris,

    You ask very good questions. Each and every one of us have to find the answers to those questions ourselves and hopefully start to walk the talk, too.

    In order to build something new and even outside of the box it is very useful, and even necessary, to evaluate what has been done in the past in order not to repeat the same mistakes again. How to learn from history? We have historical records and evidence, facts if you will, and by studying those and applying our reasoning, knowledge, and experience we can come a long way. The point is not to believe what others tell you but to verify the evidence and theories yourself and build your own picture of the world.

    It saves a lot of trouble to know what does not work. The Venus project cannot work, unfortunately.

    What works?

    Having dedicated, honest, responsible, transparent, caring, humble, knowledgeable, and ethical people from all walks of life working together and sharing the same vision. Nothing prevents doing new things right now and there are small teams of people doing exactly this. Just do it – deeds talk the loudest.

  • Reply Alex W. October 29, 2008 at 12:54

    With very basic things coverd the resources of the world become exponetially more abundant! Oil for instance. No more burning it in cars or to heat home and we are talking about billions of barrels not being used anymore. What will are cars run on? How can we heat our homes? you may ask. Electricity! Geothermal power production alone can creat enough electricity for 4,000 years! Thats more than enough to charge our cars and power our homes! Instead of 700 billion to bail out “The banks” Use that money to build VALUE into our country. take that 700 billion and give people jobs building geothermal power plants and give the electricity away. Prices on everything would go down because power is no longer a factor in production, and when electricity is used in transportation and is free transportation costs would also drop. widdle down the costs by elimanating the expenses, on a braod scale for the betterment of society and the human race. We could give the power as well as the technology away to the rest of the world…Would be kind of hard for the rest of the world to hate us if we are giving them power freely and with no strings… Now we can start taking money away from the military and build more VALUE into the world. We could give everyone a college education! or like the movie stated Maglev trains. Put billions of dollars into a worldwide maglev system. Our grandkids can go anywhere in the world for the weekend! Its a belief in a good future for all of humanity and best of all… it is entirely possible!

  • Reply Petri October 29, 2008 at 10:06

    Indeed Alex. The main shift has to happen in our points of views and values. After that pretty much anything is possible. However, this does not happen without letting go of the current attachments and clinging to the status quo. In another words some special interests are then in the “loosing” end, such as the oil industry. So far they have managed to avoid this to happen.

  • Reply Alex W. October 30, 2008 at 5:43

    That is the truth. We need the U.S. to be about the PEOPLE again instead of the profit… I here polititions saying they are going to put a couple of dollars into renewable energy and clean coal and more nuclear power. Car manufacturers are saying our car gets thirty miles to the gallon ( like they havent been for the past 20 years ) when there has been cars running on tap water since the sixties! The time for the PEOPLE of this country to take back what is theres…

  • Reply Eden November 1, 2008 at 1:32

    “The Resource-Based Economy does not remove scarcity.”

    gets countered with…

    “With automated inventory on a global scale, we can maintain a balance between production and distribution”

    Inventroy means commodities machines can pick the food up transport it, store it to be later taken when needed to eat. The technology thats currently available is way beyond using manual labour. Money is the blockade.

    * who controls the resources and makes the decisions (and based on which criteria)?

    The resources are freely avalible no control is needed. They are of course stored using the most efficient cooling/heating systems available today.

    * who allocates the work needed?

    The begining cty would have to be constructed during the monetary system because there is no otherway to mass influence/give confidence in an audience in this system without proof(not nessicary for later citys). For Future Citys if construction work could not be automated we would have groups of volunteer contructionworkers helping for the mere satafiaction of their hearts.

    Even if only 0.01% volunteer thats 66,000 happy workers the others can watch but im sure in knowing what we could achieve more would want to help.(democratic voting leadership or by making use previous construction leaders).

    * who is behind the law and order, and their enforcement?

    I am inclined to say that until proper matury has formed withen society (ie. because of so much malice brought about by the monterey system) current relevant laws would be inforced in a global jury scale, broadcasted on screens everywhere avalible with finger printed button system with would name the voter and the vote (to avoid possible fraud).

    The evidence would be in the form of videos from globalised monitering systems (removible once society matures, realises helping each other to make themselves feel better and self motivation without unneccissary “rewards”).

    Locations of known murderers/rapists would be forewarned on the many screens. It is important to note their is no benefit in being disorderly in this society if you are a know rapist/murder everyone will know you and not want to have anything to do with you. This alone is enough to provent 99.9% of crimes.

    It is also important to note The all weapons used for violence will be permanently destroyed. In the case of hunting and the like 3d software would be so advanced that it would be almost like the real thing in virtual reality equipment.

    The monitoring system is very neccissary at the start of the resource based economy mainly due to the corruption oriented monetary elites who would do anything to reclaim their control grip.

    * By who’s standards, beliefs and values the society operates?

    Irrelevant question no beliefs and values would be inforced. But there is no reason to do what people consider bad in a society which just helps each other.

    Instead of working on getting the best deal possible at any human life cost people will inherently be more social and the gains of being socially popular will be emense for a happy life.

  • Reply Christine Baker November 1, 2008 at 2:13

    Eden, your idea of a happy life horrifies me. Why not just give everybody a lobotomy?

    “It is also important to note The all weapons used for violence will be permanently destroyed.”

    I almost feel the need to buy a gun. I live in Arizona where just about everybody has several guns, but I still feel that I have enough liberty to NOT need one. It’s not the rapists and murderers that scare me, it’s being controlled by machines (programmed by the elite).

    I would arm myself and fight the elitists with everything I’ve got.

    You can get a bleeding heart pacifist socialist like me to talk about wanting a gun, that’s quite an accomplishment.

    Why don’t you walk your talk? Take your money, start building. I’d like to see how your city works.

  • Reply Eden November 2, 2008 at 11:14

    Again with the “us against them” you really think a 60 year old banker behind this would fight you head on? no? then you can never kill what you want. They are never at risk it is only you who is taking the risk.

    If by chance they do have robots and “terminator” like warmachines it really wouldn’t help at all to have shot-guns and other common machinary because they would definity be bullet proof…

    In essence if you had no weapons and no way of attacking them would they attack you? no. From their point of view they need some people to do their labour if they want to continue their monetary control with a hidden fascist agenda.

    In a world without law enforcers having guns is next to the worst possible idea. Mainly due to the casualties made entirely of accidents and other victims of murder (murder would only really occur while people are set in their current primative ways). I’ll leave you with this:
    Would you rather be attacked by a deranged pychopath with a gun or their fists?

  • Reply Eden November 2, 2008 at 11:25

    I just want to remind everyone that im in no way affiliated with the venus project currenty and the views expressed entirely my own

  • Reply Christine Baker November 2, 2008 at 9:06

    “I’ll leave you with this:
    Would you rather be attacked by a deranged pychopath with a gun or their fists?”

    Eden, I much prefer a quick death by bullet to being beaten in a bloody pulp. You might want to do a little research on the quality of life for women, children and the poor before guns.

    Guns aren’t the problem.

    I much preferred life in Germany in the 60s when I went to schools without metal detectors, gangs didn’t exist and I didn’t know anyone with a gun. I also didn’t know that Germany did so well at the expense of the developing nations, funded wars and produced the weapons.

    Money isn’t the problem. It’s only a means to get power.

    In your vision, the people in charge of the resources and machines have the power. They’ll be the same people who are in power today.

    Or do you expect them to cheerfully give up their wealth and power to move into a little plastic cubicle in your city and put YOU in charge?

    In case you haven’t noticed, the people in power already control the resources, the markets, the media and the American voting machines. The internet is next. Australia just made filters mandatory.

    Eden, why don’t you set up a website about what you’re DOING?

    Petri’s site is great example. Explain who you are, what you believe in, what you’ve done with your life and what you want to accomplish next.

  • Reply Eden November 3, 2008 at 9:36

    Umm if guns and money aren’t the problem what is? the situation currently is bound to happen with a monetary system where sustainability, efficiency and abundance are counter productive (ie its better for them to not tell you about the free cancer cure given by apricot trees then to make you think chemotheorpy cures it which costs alot and bascialy makes you worse than before).

    You think its good that we live to screw each other over? How would any other world be different if the system benefits you from screwing people over?

    People in power won’t maniupulate and decieve in a reasource based economy there is no profit to be made from it. Heck did you even watch zeitgeist?

    And no I’m not a blog troll as you say, I’m defending a great film from someone who obviously has no sympathy for the sweatshop workers. They are forced to slave away for less than what you’d not bother to pick up off the ground. They live like this becasue its “profitable” for companies just like its profitible to go to war.

    As for my question….
    So you would rather die than have a punch up 50/50 chance got it + add to fact chances are someone would be withen the area able to help you. Whereas a man with a gun has complete power over any crowd.

  • Reply Adrian November 5, 2008 at 9:06

    regarding alternative economic systems you should have a look here:

  • Reply Adrian November 5, 2008 at 9:09

    I don’t know how to include links so again (just copy and paste):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_economics

  • Reply russo1324 November 7, 2008 at 1:02

    about the abolishing of weapons….

    and the robots…

    just make emp weapons
    they arnt hard to make

    will wipe out all electronics in a given area
    lol

  • Reply Josh November 14, 2008 at 9:00

    Here is the main thing I keep seeing in comments above:

    There is a simple fact…

    Most people are unable to break free from the societ from which they are born. People are not able to understand a world without money. It is a completely alien idea to them. Thus they see underlying problems with the notion itself.

    They see chaos. Or, funny enough, they see control via another means. MACHINES. Does your arm dictate the rest of your body? Or does your brain do that?

    TECHNOLOGY IS AN EXTENSION OF MANKIND. LIKE THE ATOM BOMB. IT IS AN EXTENSION OF OUR WILL OVER HUMANITY. NOTHING MORE. MACHINES DON’T HAVE A HUMAN BRAIN. THEY DO NOT FEEL EMOTION. THEY WORK IN 1’S AND 0’S AND THAT IS ALL. THEY WORK BASED OFF OF A LOGICAL EQUATION THAT WE DERIVE.

    TO THINK THAT MACHINES WILL CONTROL US IS A FEAR TACTIC CREATED BY THE PEOPLE THAT WANT YOU TO BELIEVE THAT WE ARE INCAPABLE AS HUMANS TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT WE ARE DOING. OR THAT THE REAL SOLUTION IS SOMETHING THAT WONT BE THOUGHT OF FOR A THOUSAND MORE YEARS.

    IT IS ANOTHER CONTROL BY FEAR.
    IT IS TERRORISM.
    AND IT IS A JOKE.

    WE DO NOT NEED MONEY.
    THERE IS NO NEED FOR PERSONAL POWER.
    WE NEED NOT DWELL IN THE NEGATIVE.

    WE SHOULD HAVE COMPASSION.
    WE SHOULD BE EDUCATED.
    WE SHOULD EVOVLVE, ALWAYS.
    WE SHOULD BREAK DOWN THE BOUNDARIES OF SOCIETY.
    WE SHOULD MOVE AHEAD.
    ONLY AND EVER.

  • Reply Alex W. November 15, 2008 at 1:58

    AMEN!!!

  • Reply Petri November 15, 2008 at 12:22

    Before anyone suggests here a society without money, they should read this and this. Opinions are useless unless they are backed up with practical and workable solutions.

    What comes to this machine debate it’s beyond the point. The ultimate question is who controls the resources, tools, devices and other human beings, and how?

    Once again before the urge to response, read about tyranny, responsibility, liberty, primitive society and ethics.

  • Reply Christine Baker November 15, 2008 at 10:12

    I totally agree with Petri.

    “What comes to this machine debate it’s beyond the point. The ultimate question is who controls the resources, tools, devices and other human beings, and how?”

    I was basing MY comments about the machines controlling EVERYTHING on Zeitgeist (Peter Joseph) published information. He does NOT propose a democracy, but the machines are programmed to make all decision to benefit the planet.

    It is MY opinion that the people programming the machines and controlling everything will be the same people who are in control today.

    Also, with regard to guns, Peter Joseph said in the Alex Jones interview that there would be no need for people to have guns, but that they COULD have guns. (Check the interview on youTube). He may have been pandering to Alex.

    I find it tremendously tiresome that there are all these trolls posting all over the net PREACHING their delusions.

  • Reply Ryan December 15, 2008 at 7:26

    I have a few comments, and for the insight of the group I am not associated with the Venus Project (although I’d love to be).

    Christine:

    I would highly recommend you actually order the movie “Future By Design, by William Gazecki” from The Venus Project as I have. What is covered in the “Zeitgeist-Addendum” documentary is really only scratching the surface. Everything that you suggested above that you would want in a society is included in the Venus Project’s ideas, and much more.

    Your last comment about people “preaching their delusions all over the net” is the exact same thing you are doing. Albeit, you are doing it in a more constructive way than some people I have seen, but you are still giving your opinion as to what you think is best. Why should your opinion be taken seriously, but mine, or others be viewed as delusional? Just because our vision isn’t yours?

    Any change as drastic as the Venus Project will need support from a great deal of society and that is the only reason I think it would fail. The people I talk to about this can’t wrap their minds around it because they are looking at it from a monetary based society where the elite, who ARE products of the system, have created a very chaotic world out of their own need for power and control.

    “What comes to this machine debate it’s beyond the point. The ultimate question is who controls the resources, tools, devices and other human beings, and how?”

    The “who” in this equation is all of us…every single person on the planet. The “how” is through a centralized computer infrastructure.

    Petri:

    “For monetary economic calculation is the intellectual basis of the market economy. The tasks set to acting within any system of the division of labor cannot be achieved without economic calculation. The market economy calculates in terms of money prices. That it is capable of such calculation was instrumental in its evolution and conditions its present-day operation. The market economy is real because it can calculate.”

    The calculations here would be decided by the humans involved with the project, entering information into a computer interface. That computer would then calculate materials and resources needed, machine processes required, land requirements, ecological concerns, environmental impact, required time, etc and so on. The information calculated would be fed back to the humans who could then design the project based around what can physically be achieved. Once the project has been thought out and revised, those calculations would then be input back into the computer and a global poll could be conducted to measure public interest in the project. Once a final decision is made instructions would be sent to the manufacturing facilities. The computer simply decides what is the best course of action based on available resources and public opinion.

    All machines would be built and maintained by other machines. All materials and resources would be collected, mined, assembled, and put into production by machines receiving the instructions from the localized computers.

    There would be no government, there would be no elite, there would simply be a global computer network that every single person on the planet had access to, from their home, school, social establishments, or base of operations for whatever they themselves choose to do. You can input ideas, thoughts, suggestions, or you can draw knowledge from the system.

    All resources on the planet would be monitored from space based satellites and earth based mechanical systems.

    The machines would NOT “control us”. They are simply an extension of our ingenuity and creative minds. Everybody would have a say as to what is needed, what is wanted, and what should be done on a daily basis. This of course would require people to actually think for a change, instead of relying on some politician or maverick to make the “right” decisions FOR them, which is a big part of the problem today.

    In todays world, the vast majority of us only ever make decisions based on what we personally need, or what our family or friends need. Our view is from a city perspective with state/country only entering our minds occasionally. Very few of us actually look at things from a global perspective.

    I do. The Venus Project does. Let’s say you can fix things for your country. Who cares really? In a world where over one hundred million people die every single year from preventable hunger and preventable diseases, does your Fiat system or any of your ideas take them into account?

    In a world where over 60% of the population makes less than $2 a day, I can tell you right now there is not enough money/gold/silver/anything else to go around. Not even close, or you wouldn’t have as many homeless people as you have just in America.

    But who cares about the third world right?

    The Venus Project would eliminate pollution through the use of geothermal power and other technologies, it would eliminate a TON of waste. Today we have 1,000 types of shampoo on the market because everyone is competing with everyone else. Do we need 1,000 types of shampoo? No, of course not. This equation would apply to every product on the planet. High efficiency, durable products that are the very best that technology can build, and we can dream up would be in use. No price tag. Like we have libraries today, tomorrow we could have shopping centers that work the same way. You need it, or want the newest cool gadget, you go get it.

    If you have an idea for a new product or service, you don’t slave away part of your life at some boring job so you can save enough money to maybe get your idea to someone who can create it for you, and takes 60% of your profits, or your livelihood if the product doesn’t sell…..No, you enter your ideas into your computer interface at home, the computer taps the global system and decides if the resources are available and the project is physically achievable, and then conducts a planetary poll where people can vote for the usefulness of such an item. If the answer from the poll is a percentage over 50% for yes, the product goes into mass production, if under 50% the product is re-evaluated with a request from the people who voted, to make suggestions for betterment, and the process begins again.

    Information on anything would be available 24/7 to everybody. I see the transition phase as being very hard. A lot of people need to get involved with this. The question of can we do it is stupid….of course we can. The technology available today just in the public domain could accomplish this, never mind what’s available in the classified world.

    Anyways, my suggestion is to get educated on this before you start slamming it. Visit the Venus Project website and read all the information they have available there, get the movie Future By Design. I’ve been talking to people about removing the monetary system since I was 12 years old. It’s nice to see that other people share the same vision. It is the root of all evil because it allows the few to control the many, and slavery is not something I want my children to be born into…yet again.

    P.S.

    Space here does not permit me to cover even a fraction of a percent of the total knowledge I have to share on this and related issues.

  • Reply Ryan December 15, 2008 at 10:22

    Regarding the “Calculation Debate”, that has got to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read.

    “As an example, in deciding whether or not to insulate your attic, you must compare the price of the insulation with the price of the energy to be saved. In an economy without money and prices to convey relative values–that is, an economy with just the goods, insulation and natural gas, you would not know if it made sense to insulate or not.”

    First off, if you are cold because the winter winds are seeping through your roof, or some other external force is causing your roof to “require” insulation, then you would make the decision to insulate your roof.

    Secondly, under the Venus Project’s projections for living, your house would be manufactured to your specifications, which means it would include any and all upgrades that you personally want, and it would not be a fixed residence. It could be upgraded and constantly evolve according to your changing tastes and lifestyle, without a price tag of course.

    “Should you repair your old lawnmower or buy a new one?”

    Again, there is no choice required here. When a product breaks down, any product, you can either go to the shopping center and get an updated version, or order it directly from your computer at home. As with any product that is removed from inventory in the future, an order for a new one to replace it is automatically placed in the system which regulates production and distribution worldwide. Even the evolution of a product would be a continually evolving cycle based on what is needed and what new technologies become available.

    Once you receive your new product, the old one is sent to a facility, located under the cities, for 100% recycling.

    “Obviously, what makes good economic sense depends on the prices of the repair and the new mower.”

    Not in a resource based economy. Sorry, but what you would do in a monetary based economy doesn’t apply in a resource based economy because the only justifications for production is whether there is a need for it, and whether the resources, technology and creative ingenuity are available for it.

    “An absence of money and prices wreaks havoc with consumer decisions–that alone is bad enough for economic well-being.”

    No it doesn’t. Are you seriously going to tell me that we cannot make decisions about our own “well-being” unless we have a pricing structure in place to regulate what is and isn’t possible? That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard! We have people living on the streets because they don’t have enough MONEY to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and their family. It’s not that these things can’t be provided, because we have the manufacturing capability and resources to house and feed everyone on the entire planet. We just can’t afford to! (not enough money to go around)

    “But even more dramatically disruptive is this same absence at the production level of the economy. Does it make sense to add a bakery to the city”

    If the city and the people have a need for said bakery, then the choice is to build one. Makes sense to me and doesn’t even require much thought.

    “–the socialists would have no way of knowing since, again, all they have before them are the goods: land, concrete, flour, the anticapted future bread, etc.”

    This statement doesn’t make sense to me. Of course the fact that these concepts were developed and presented in the 1920’s, now that shouldn’t matter in the overall discussion, should it?

    “Taken a step further in the production process, should the socialist managers build a bulldozer to move dirt rather than using men with shovels;”

    Of course you have the bulldozer built. This is one of the reasons to have an automated society that uses machines to do the labor instead of human beings. It is up to us to think and to create, not to do brain dead jobs that threaten our quality of life and make us ignorant.

    “should the bulldozer be made of steel, or iron or some parts wood?”

    The answer to any material question is whatever makes the most sense while providing the least disruptive footprint to the society and the environment.

    “Should the steel be made of newly mined ore, or from reprocessed steel;”

    Availability of materials answers this question. If the materials are available from previously recycled products, then this would be the first choice as it has less of an environmental impact. If the materials are not available then new material would be mined.

    “should the mine work be powered by natural gas, steam, or electricity?”

    The mine work would be powered by whatever means we use to power everything else, while maintaining maximum energy efficiency with as small an environmental footprint as possible.

    If a new power source was required, say to mine material 5 miles below the oceans surface, then the requirements for such a system can be inputted into the global computer database and the system will output possible energy systems based on past knowledge, current technological achievements, available resources, technology requirements, safety and environmental impact, etc. Once the system is established, it is reviewed by all the earth’s people for acceptance into our society, and the plans are sent to manufacturing to produce several prototypes. These are tested and verified to work, and if the system can be used elsewhere on the earth, may go to the phase of mass manufacturing and distribution.

    “Should the natural gas be transported by truck, train, or pipeline?”

    The energy (not natural gas) would be transported in whichever way makes the most sense, taking into account safety, energy efficiency, and speed of service.

    Let’s take oil for example, as Alex pointed out earlier. It would no longer be needed for energy use but we do still have a massive plastics and synthetics industry that uses oil, as well as for mechanical lubrication in some industries. Oil would be transported in whatever way is most viable to ensure safety, energy efficiency, speed of service, etc. Who chooses? We all input our ideas and the central computer that compiles all past, present and future knowledge creates that viable option. But we all have final say as to whether we proceed with the project or not.

    “There’s a nearly endless number of economic decisions to be made in an advanced industrial economy.”

    Yes, there are.

    “In the money-less and price-less socialist economy, these decisions could not be made in any rational manner.”

    Really? You mean to tell me that if money was “no object” we couldn’t figure out ways to accomplish anything? Just use your brain. It’s there for things other than just soap operas, movies, video games, politics, and all the other ridiculous things we use our minds for on a daily basis.

    Duh…How do we build that dam without getting our feet wet? We use technology today to solve many problems, and this is no different, it’s just on a more massive scale. With the technical abilities and creativity within our society today the monetary system is a joke. It’s outright slavery and we are worth a hell of a lot more than that.

    Hopefully I’ve made my point. Apply intellectual reasoning to any problem and you will find a solution. It’s not that difficult. Start thinking outside of the monetary/profit based system.

    A final note:

    “The socialist’s ultimate answer to the calculation problem was to have the socialist factory managers “play” market–that is, to pretend that the resources and outputs had prices and then adjust production accordingly!”

    In other words, these people were complete and total morons, and because of this simple fact, you have to quote them instead of suggesting a more intelligent way of dealing with the problem.

    And people wonder why humanity sometimes gets me down!

  • Reply Ninja December 24, 2008 at 5:05

    Ryan, good to see someone who can analyse the issues ‘without referencing back to the current monetary system’! I agree with a lot of what youve said though I also agree that the Venus Project may not be the best option and that it would be very difficult to initiate in the current system, however, I think it is defintely great in terms of principle and objectives and at least has been thought out with genuine effort and hope to help all people on earth.

    The whole problem with this review is it tries to criticise the VP’s ideas trying to use the current economics theory, which imo is quite useless… You cannot analyse a new ‘idea’ like this by using the existing process, especially if this ‘idea’ goes against most of the principles of the current process! I’ve studied economics from high school and early university… and after learning more about the ‘real’ monetary system, I have to say that all the theory we’ve learnt in school is pretty much pointless and only useful for placing yourself in some comfy role in business or govt… it is useless… and doest provide any real tangible value to society and people in general!

    I think at least in the short term/near future, it would be very possible to see our minds apply the technology that we have so far thought of/created to better general living conditions for all people of the earth, though yes it would take a massive change of attitude from a lot of people… one of which is the unfortunate tendency of humans to ‘want to be better’ than the other fellow…

  • Reply Christine Baker February 3, 2009 at 9:45

    Well, it’s been a while. Somebody wrote:

    “Why should your opinion be taken seriously, but mine, or others be viewed as delusional? Just because our vision isn’t yours?”

    Vision? I don’t have a “vision.” I’m 50 years old, I have EXPERIENCE and I developed a skill called “reading.”

    From http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28&Itemid=65#19:

    “Who makes the decisions in a resource based economy?

    No one does. The decisions are arrived at by the introduction of newer technologies and the carrying capacity of the earth. Computers could provide this information with electronic sensors throughout the entire industrial, physical complex.”

    That’s it!!! I did NOT leave out the part about democracy.

    This is every dictator’s dream.

    And it’s pretty obivous that the “NWO” type people with the population reduction goal are behind Zeitgeist.

    I don’t have “visions” about programming computers, I know that you can program (manipulate) computers to provide any result you like. But that’s not even necessary, the sheeple in this society question nothing, you just tell them what to do and they’ll cheerfully do it.

    I’ve literally had to deal with THOUSANDS of morons who told me that some idiotic procedure was what it was because the COMPUTER said so. People are already so conditioned to be controlled by machines.

    Since I last posted here, I started a new currency, the Trado, and a store. I set up the banking site, the site with info about Trados and news and a store with organic products to accept partial Trado payments.

    So when I saw a post about taking action at the Zeitgeist forum, I posted at http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=3&func=view&catid=5&id=50153&limitstart=10#50940

    Looking at the responses so far, I’m afraid it was a giant waste of time. They already drank the Kool-aid.

    I feel sorry for all these people with financial problems and so desperately looking for help. They remind me of the beggar kids in India, heading for the city with so much hope, only to be turned into mutilated slaves.

  • Reply liam carlton April 28, 2009 at 3:48

    You cannot have equality because man is not born equal. Not because of money but because of our genes. We are different than each other. Some are born more aesthetically beautiful. Some have minds for science, for entertainment, for humor. Human is a battle between reason and emotion. We are attracted to some people rather than others, we desire some people who are not attracted to us (lets say my neighbor has a more attractive partner to mine). We have different tastes. Lets say I don’t like music but my neighbor does. He plays his music loud and it’s late at night and I wish to sleep. We want different things. We both seek connection and individualism. We have clubs, groups where we meet people with common interest. The way we connect is to point out those who are not a part of our group. These are all things you cannot destroy, the freedom to choose – without enslaving us in another way. How to you deal with the neighbor who want turn down his music, how do you deal with lust, jealousy, even rape? A lawless utopia is a fantasy. Good science fiction writer has explored such themes. We need balance.

  • Reply Franky June 14, 2009 at 8:12

    Forget the economics of how a Utopian society like the venus project would work, but how would it work with humans being humans. What I am getting at is this, we can not forget that at the most basic level we are animals and in fact we are pack animals. We are that way by nature, so if we look at other pack animals in nature, then we see there is always a pack leader, and from there a descending order of status in the pack. These other members of the pack, continually challenge the pack leader for leader position. Therefore we are by nature predisposed to causing violence against each other. Then because we are humans and able to have, say elevated levels of thought, we come up with very ingenious ways (which usually are not very conductive to a peaceful Utopian society) to cause that violence. Furthermore this higher level of thought allows us to understand the power we have and then crave more power. So to use the quote used in Zeitgeist, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. So wont we end up with the same problems we have now.

    One more thing, I don’t like how the Venus project acts like it is putting forth some new idea, when all it is promoting is anarchy, which, from my limited knowledge of that political ideology dates back to the 1600s. Actually, I think it is funny, because I dont think the founders of the venus project even realize that they are promoting anarchy ( I think this is what Liam was pointing out). Or perhaps they do know, and are just trying to present it in such a way as to avoid the use of the term anarchy, due to the negative image that exist regarding anarchy. So perhaps they are the ones promoting a vast conspiracy against the population, trying to unwittingly convert the population into anarchist. But perhaps I shouldnt say that because it is probably politically incorrect in conspiracy theory circles to think that one of the conspiracy theorist is perpetrating a conspiracy. Wow, then I must be one over the top conspiracy theorist, ok I am making my own head spin now.

    Just wanted to throw some thoughts out there and see what the responses are, personally, I think the venus project and zeitgeist are just more people trying to separate people from their dollar, just the same as the evil bankers are doing. They are just doing it to a niche market, instead of on a global scale and for that I applaud their ingenuity.

  • Reply petri June 7, 2010 at 2:19

    Stefan Molyneux’s review is also worth watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1JcUBx2dxU

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