I first want to remind the readers of the question: What is relevant?
What is relevant is what we really need. And what we really need is food, water, sunlight, joy, happiness, and meaningful lives. Nature itself can provide all that.
Now, to overcome both the problems of the transition to RBE and problems within RBE, I suggest the following:
There’s a growing eco movement on the planet. Many people are establishing their ‘family domains’ on a hectare of land (especially in Russia) where they can grow their own crops and provide for themselves and their community. There seem to be a low knowledge about what Nature actually can do for you if you let it, and nurture it the right way. With the right attitude and methods, even wasteland can be turned into oases. All that is needed are some small seeds, that grow, and multiply, and multiply, and multiply, abundantly.
We must understand that an increased closeness to Nature is VITAL for peoples happiness. Nature provides in ABUNDANCE for people who cultivate it, nurture it and gives it their love. Plants, fruit and vegetables grown naturally is not just much more tasteful, but healing also. And living and breathing in ones own ‘garden of Eden’ brimming with fruit and vegetables gives an abundance of joy. One hectare of land can feed a whole community and more, and also cure ills and make the people who live there very happy and give them meaningful lives. Digging in the dirt and make plants grow doesn’t have to be something for farmers (or machines) only. It takes much less work than what you should think, and it gives both food, fulfillment and happiness back! After the seeds are planted, one only have to give them the right amount of water, and the rest takes care of itself, and gives back in abundance. So much in fact, that if one family have a few hundred square meters of land with vegetables, for instance, they will not be able to eat it all by themselves. Actually, in Russia, 80% of all farming products (potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) come from so called ‘dachas’, little 600m2 plots of land that people own and cultivate by hand. Of course, hydroponics can also be used, one thing doesn’t rule out the other. But hydroponics doesn’t give the family a garden paradise to live in.
The solution for transition:
So, my suggestion is that we can start to create our family garden paradises where we grow our own food, produce our own electricity and become as independent of the ‘outside world’ as possible. Within the communities there will be a gift economy. In other words, no money is used inside the community and everything is given to each other for free. Excess produce can be sold on the outside market, and the money can be invested inside the city to upgrade the city with better energy technology, infrastructure, transportation, etc.
You see where this leads?
Money is ‘taken out of circulation’ in the world and put into the city/community where MONEY IS NOT USED. Because inside the city everything is GIVEN. Any service needed is given of the people themselves. The only things money are used for in the city is to provide building materials and tools, and these are one time investments. Everything else, like food, water and energy is provided within the city. The city dwellers don’t use any money inside the city, and not much money in the outside world as everything they need is provided within the city. The optimal arrangement would be to get land provided for free somewhere, and without taxation to what is produced there or the land itself.
When more and more people start to establish these communities, since they realize the value in this kind of living, more and more money will be taken out of circulation and less and less money is used in the outside society. As we all know, the monetary system depends on constant consumption and constant use of money to survive. When enough families have transferred their lives to eco communities with gift economies the total use of money in the world will have decreased so much that the monetary system will collapse. Hopefully enough eco cities will have been created, so that people will not suffer from hunger or anything else.
I know this doesn’t sound like the high tech future RBE cities that are talked about in The Venus Project, but these elements can be included in the eco city eventually. The point is that with eco cities we can start the transition TODAY, and we can include as much technological aids as we want to when the time comes. Jacque Fresco describes his cities as ‘garden cities’ anyway, so to start with a garden shouldn’t be to far off.
The eco cities/communities will be designed without any ‘property or ownership’, but with ‘designated plots’ to each family. Wasteland, or land that is not considered ‘arable’ can be used, as long as it has access to enough water. With the love from humans and the right cultivation methods it can be made into paradise. Each designated plot should be quite large, about 1 hectare, and it should be in the use of the family and it’s heirs for as long as they want to use it. If it is unused for a period of say, 3 years, someone else can take it.
Of course, there are many different ways to arrange the living in these eco communities. Some might argue that it’s better to designate someone (or -thing, if it’s a machine) to take care of growing crops, and someone else to do other things. The point here, is that being close to nature and growing ones own food is extremely rewarding, both materially and spiritually. We can use high tech technology also, to help us with stuff, but we can’t let technology take away what gives us the most basic feelings of happiness, which closeness to nature does. For people to keep their sanity in this world and in a resource-based economy we have to interact with nature. Nature is there for us, and has always been. The notion that ‘we shall conquer nature’ is something born out of the minds of economists. Of course, if everyone know that nature can provide everything you’ll ever need, there wouldn’t be any monetary system at all. With what’s going on with the weather today, we should realize that we have to live in harmony with nature, or not live at all.
Ecological cities with gift economy is something we can start NOW, we don’t have to wait until the whole world collapses. This way the resource-based economy is just around the corner, not generations away.