If you built it, will they come?


small tree growing in crack2

Julie Glasscock and Vladimir Alzamora
Kadagaya (www.kadagaya.org)

There is an increasingly large global community promoting, advocating and discussing a resource-based economy and many working on designing what such a future might look like. We can be sure that if such a wonderful society existed there would be no shortage of volunteers willing to try it out. However, the path from here to there, the so-called “transition” is much less clear. An RBE by definition is not a fixed-point utopia with a clear operation manual, but rather uses the scientific method to evaluate concepts and technologies to continuously upgrade and improve. Therefore, the transition period is not a clearly defined route that we implement when we have the time/money/resources, but rather should be a time of vast experimentation to test out all these ideas and see what works and what doesn´t.

So why does there seem to be much more interest in promoting the concepts than developing and living in RBE communities to test the theory in the real world? We speak from the experience of building such a community and finding it very difficult to attract people to help grow the community with us. In early 2014 we founded Kadagaya (www.kadagaya.org) after becoming disillusioned and unsatisfied with life in the system and inspired by the opportunities provided by an RBE-type society. We began a pilot project in Peru to evaluate the enabling concepts and technologies that have the potential to take us steps closer to an RBE. In the early stages of such a project, while the basic infrastructure is being constructed and daily life is not as comfortable as that in the system, it is easy to understand why joining the community is not so attractive. We have no shortage of volunteers (mainly travelers) excited to spend a few weeks or months in the jungles of Peru helping us build the community, but finding long-term/permanent residents is much more difficult.

In the transition period emerging RBE communities look a lot like self-sufficient communities or eco-villages and have some overlap with hippie communes and alternative/spiritualist groups. Even some of the groups that consider and label themselves as RBE communities incorporate spiritualistic, religious and other beliefs which are not consistent with RBE concepts. This can be problematic in differentiating ourselves and attracting people who are interested in growing as a community and working towards an RBE rather than a personal spiritual journey.

In general small “intentional communities” have a very high rate of failure. Community living can be difficult and these days it is something that is quite foreign to many of us. Although a lot of these communities are trying to be self-sufficient and escape the system, there are inevitably problems created by money, politics of management/ownership and ego. Therefore it is very important to focus on educating the community about human behavior, psychology and social interactions in order to understand ourselves and the original of these potential conflicts. We feel it is important for the community to grow together over time, which is why it is advantageous to have long-term/permanent members from the beginning, rather than joining an established community.

Of course there are numerous reasons why people prefer to join a mature community. Most of us are trapped in the system in one way or another (with mortgages, debt, family commitments etc.) and leaving that life for an alternative has financial, emotional and social risks. As we are highly social animals there a large element of discomfort in breaking social conformity and challenging the homeostasis of “normal life” (even when we recognize the negative effects of such a life). The current system (and in particular the media) very effectively uses fear to maintain the status-quo and hence most of us have a well-established fear of the unknown and tend to worry about what we have to lose. Even though there are big opportunities for improving our lives by living in alternate systems, very few want to be the guinea pigs. Despite the growing awareness and dissatisfaction with the system, perhaps life is still too good and things need to get really bad (e.g. another huge recession) before the risks of trying something new don´t seem so bad.

In the meantime, we and other like-minded communities, are working towards self-sufficiency, increasing our knowledge and consciousness, and testing enabling technologies. By interacting with the wider community of RBE supporters we hope to share our knowledge and experiences, helping others to make the transition and be ready to support those wishing to leave the system when they are ready.

We recognize that such a life of experimentation, exploration and relative isolation from the system is not for everyone. Explorers in the past ventured off into the unknown, some fearing they would fall of the edge of the Earth, motivated either by an adventurous spirit, or a life of necessity. While the process of building an alternate society seems like hard work, those who have realized that there is no other option for their life prefer this “hard work” (outside their comfort zone) to maintaining a life within the monetary system.

 “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”

William G.T. Shedd

Recommended watching/reading


Transitioning to a Green Economy


While we’re facing grave economic and environmental challenges globally, Holigent addresses both issues with the Holigent Village—a blueprint for redesigning and reconstructing the way we live, work, commute, consume and govern ourselves.

Holigent Village Los AngelesThe Holigent Village is a proposed live/work, car-free affordable housing community with a hybrid socioeconomic arrangement. It’s a bottom-up approach that can be implemented one community at a time, branch out into networks of similar communities. then go worldwide, reducing the burdens (and power) of centralized governments in the process.

Physical aspect: The Holigent Urban Village will be a walkable, human-scale pedestrian community that consists of low-, mid- and high-rise mixed-use residential and commercial structures. The majority of its residents will be the employees of businesses that occupy the office, commercial and light industrial spaces. The Village will also feature a shopping promenade, parks with recreational facilities and other public spaces.

Critically, many of the features of this compact community facilitate a transition to a post-carbon world. The village will utilize the most advanced green technologies in local energy generation (wind/solar), recycling and waste management, water reclamation, bike- and electric car-share programs, light rail and local food production in the form of rooftop gardens, vertical farming, etc. Aside from a low carbon footprint, this non-sprawling and efficient layout promotes the myriad of health benefits that accompany increased physical activity.

A Holigent Urban Village will not sprawl beyond its designated capacity, so that walkability is preserved and the need for long commutes is eliminated. To satisfy growing demand, additional villages will be developed and joined by a high-speed train or monorail.

Delta Plan 1The economics: A Holigent Village features a hybrid socioeconomic arrangement known as the Delta Plan. Resident workers earn salaries at the local companies, but also do community service for community credit; they can then apply that credit in varying degrees to their rent. The nonprofit management company invests rental income back into the community. This flexible arrangement ensures somewhat of a “firewall” against recessions and depressions. There is no need for home or car ownership in this setting. Please see the attached document for specifics on the Delta Plan.

It’s possible that by addressing social, business and ecological needs together in a holistic way, a new and more secure quality of life will emerge.

As a nonprofit organization, our mission is to make the Holigent (holistic-emergent) socioeconomic and environmental sustainability concept and community retrofit and reconstruction guidelines widely available to individuals, organizations and institutions. To that end, we created a free online course outlining our principles and how to put them into practice. You can find it at www.udemy.com/the-holigent-solution. As of this writing, we have nearly 200 students—many of whom probably found us by searching “sustainability.” As you know, there’s a real hunger for that—and not just in the sense of renewable resources, but SYSTEMIC sustainability that takes the whole person, community, country and world into account. We think the Holigent Village concept offers social, economic and environmental justice, quality, and sustainability. Looking forward to thoughts from fellow societal innovators; we’ve read your posts with a lot of interest!

Delta Plan 1Delta Plan 1


A social network that can develop into an economic system


Babbling Brook is a new social networking protocol that has been designed to develop into a full new socioeconomic system. It is a tool that can make a resource economy possible.

When I first started developing Babbling Brook, I was inspired by ideas about gift economies. I found lots of people talking about the idea, and I read a lot of the literature on how gift economies work in tribal settings. At the time I couldn’t see how a gift economy could possibly work on a global scale. The problem is that traditional gift economies only work on a small scale. Tribes that have gift economies always exist in bands of less than 150 people. The reason for this is known as the Dunbar limit and it is inherent to the reason that gift economies collapse at larger scales.

Gift economies work because all the participants know each other and are able to keep track of the relationships between each other. Not just the relationships that they have with others, but all the relationships between different members of the group. The reason this is important is not in order to keep track of who is giving; it would not be a gift economy if a score was kept. Instead it is necessary so that free loaders can be kept in check. When everyone knows everyone, we know the difference between someone who is genuinely struggling and someone who is being lazy.

Once a tribal band grows beyond a hundred and fifty people it becomes impossible for individuals to know who is taking advantage. As tribes grow larger than this they tend to develop big man economies, where one particularly productive family headed by a powerful individual (nearly always a man) gains more authority than others. As the tribe grows larger this tendency towards hierarchy increases until chiefdom tribes with 10,000 or so individuals arise, where the leader is often seen as a god and there is gross inequality between the top and bottom of the social structure.

If we are to recreate a gift economy in modern times we have to work out how to make a gift economy work on a scale of billions of people. Babbling Brook makes this possible by abstracting the economic relationships between individuals into a network of relationships that all members can access. Instead of relying on our brains to tell us if someone is taking advantage we instead rely on technology.

I’ve designed Babbling Brook to work as a social network. This has the advantage of appealing to a wider range of people on a platform that they are already familiar with. It can be made to work like any existing social network, with additional features built on top to make it possible for it develop into both a political and economic system. A gift economy is just one kind of economic system that Babbling Brook could be used for. It could also be used as a traditional free market or command economy. It can even be used in multiple different ways simultaneously. The type of market that is expressed depends on how the users use it.

There are three core features that enable Babbling Brook to become a socio-economic system. Firstly the network is distributed and bottom up. Anyone can set up a website to act as a data store and anyone can set up a client website that allows users to interact with each other. The reason this is essential is that it prevents the system from being controlled and corralled by a powerful few. If users are unhappy with the direction a Babbling Brook website takes, then they can join a different one without loosing their data.

Secondly, relationships in Babbling Brook are very important. Whenever you use a Babbling Brook website, your computer is busy generating connections with other users based upon how you are using Babbling Brook. These relationships are also bottom up; they are defined by the user and the websites that they use.  Relationships can be created in many ways with multiple relationships between the same users that differ due to context. This creates a network of connections between people that can be used in the third point.

Thirdly, content on many social networks can be up voted or ‘liked”. This is essentially places a numerical value against a post. This is taken a step further in Babbling Brook, where posts can be ‘liked’ conditionally. This makes it possible for posts to represent real world objects or services and where ‘liking’ them results in them being given the thing represented by the post. There are several different kinds of conditions that can be used. If Babbling Brook is used as a gift economy then you would have a condition that checks that a user requesting something is not ripping off the system. Exactly how that condition is calculated is up to the user who is giving something. Perhaps it checks that the user who wants something has given something themselves, or perhaps it makes sure the user is known to other trusted members.

To sum up, Babbling Brook makes it possible for us to build a socioeconomic system that is based on the relationships we make when we exchange resources. It is a very open ended platform which can be used in many different ways, including the ability to make a gift economy that does not depend on using our brains to keep track of relationships.

Hopefully I’ve whetted your appetite. I’ll be releasing the protocol and an open source software package to implement it after a crowd funding push in the next few months. Meanwhile I will be going into a lot more detail on the blog. Head over to babblingbrook.net for more details.


What can we learn from the Internet?


Internet pioneer Danny Hills has a TED talk about the early days of the Internet. On that talk we see that the Internet, on its early days, was essentially an obscure network based on trust.

Today, the Internet is much bigger, and much more important. Despite its massive importance, governments and corporations are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to mess with it, reducing its usefulness for their own profit and power gain. They get away with this because it is technically feasible to do so, and it is in the reach of their power.

The technical reasons behind this vulnerability are not particularly interesting for this post. The interesting part are the responses the Internet community is deploying to this perceived threat of control. These responses seem to fall into the following three categories:

The first kind of response is to fight in the political space to keep the Internet open. This essentially means that, as members of our societies, we get together and complain to those in power and to each other until they change their minds. This has stopped the progress of bad laws such as “SOPA” and “PIPA” in the U.S. We will call this approach “begging.”

The second kind of response is to start designing an alternative to the Internet that would not be controllable. Designing theoretical alternatives, or prototyping these designs, is not really too difficult. The harder part is seeing how these alternatives would grow beyond isolated localities adopting them and into a global mesh that would, eventually, be easily accessible by anyone, like the current Internet. We will call this approach “forking.” Not really “forking,” as these networks would probably end up talking to each other, but it has to be conceived as to stand on its own, as if it were a fork.

The third kind of response is to build a network that’s better than the Internet in some sense, but on “top” of the Internet, that is, an application using the Internet, as opposed to beside it, as a “physical network” like the Internet. That’s what the “peer-to-peer networks” do. They are not “networks” in the same sense that the Internet is a “network.” In academia, you would say that these peer-to-peer systems, such as BitTorrent, FreeNet, Napster, Bitcoin or GNUNet, are “logical networks” or “overlay networks.” They are networks “overlaid” (built on top of) an existing “physical” network such as the Internet. We will call this approach the “overlay” approach (sounds simpler than “if you can’t beat them, add a layer on top of them that makes it do what you want.”)

So, in the case of transforming the system known as the Internet, what is the correct approach? The answer is, of course, all of them. When a system is as important as the Internet, then it is not a matter of “which is the right way,” but which is the right way for you. All of them are valid, and we’re going with whatever works.

I have a hunch that these paths can be translated to the paths we have available to transforming “The Economy” into a “Resource-Based Economy” or “Love Economy” or “Gift Economy” or whatever it is that we would call it. That problem is, similarly, very important and worthy of all kinds of response we can come up with.

We have many people enacting the first response, of “begging” the current governments and corporations to do things differently.

The second response, of “forking” the current systems, is similarly receiving lots of attention. Simple and small-scale designs, such as designs for specific villages or communities, have been working for decades. Some communities even cut economic ties with the rest of the human world, essentially creating a private “world” where they can claim to exercise a “world-wide” and pure resource-based economy — but you still have to at least negotiate land ownership with some existing country, last time I checked. Larger-scale designs, on the other hand, if not deployed, at least are the focus of much discussion and study.

The third path, I think, is where we would start making some interesting progress.

Consider the following: given any criteria for allocation of the existing money tokens in circulation, which one of the following two entities would be more likely to be capable of capturing more of it?

The first entity is a group of people who each live on their own apartment, and drives each day, on their own car, to the same job site where they work. When these people meet, they pay each other for things, and every transaction is taxed by the local government.

The second entity is the same group of people, but now using a gift economy of some sort between them. They not only share things, being more physically efficient, but they also avoid having their internal economy be implemented using taxed government tokens. Whatever government money they hold in total, it disappears slower from each individual’s bank account simply because they are not taxed for circulating it internally.

Yes, money is a fiction, a convention. But so is any economic game. Even if you have a global network of computer processes monitoring all world’s resources, the representation of these resources is still a model, still a game, still a fiction. An error in modelling of the world’s resources would produce sub-optimal allocation, much like the current government money systems produce sub-optimal allocation. A much better model is still a model.

What this means is, instead of abolishing the fiction of money, why not just satisfy it? Get together with some people, and agree to collectively play the game better than those who won’t build their own gift economies and who will live physically inefficiently. Then just watch the cash pile grow. The government will have no rule it can design to not reward the people who actually want to build something different. And the more “money” you have… well, let’s just say that, in the current system, having money is not exactly a bad thing. Want to build Jacque Fresco’s futuristic town? Amassing a few hundred billion dollars couldn’t hurt. It is all fiction anyway. Gather the fiction, then give it to people who still want it. These people will give you access to the land you need to build a town, as well as deliver all the resources, material and mental, that you need to build it for the first time. Since it is a sustainable town, once it is built, you have one place that doesn’t need money.

The “overlay” path is not without its own difficult challenges, however. When you design an overlay, be it for the Internet or for the human environment sharing problem, you have to keep two worlds in your head instead of one, and constantly remember which kind of thinking goes where. If you are not careful while designing your peer-to-peer system, you may end up recreating its supporting layer without intending to. Having money may cause us to exclusively “buy” our way into simply surviving on the fruits of the global unsustainable production machine, instead of taking whatever first step, even if small and feeble, towards freeing ourselves from depending on these unsustainable (destructive and violent, really) systems. I can “have” a million “dollars,” but that shouldn’t stop me from personally spending part of my day trying to grow some tomatoes.

Final note. Becoming a billionaire solving practical problems and then donating it to charities that also solve practical problems, or funding start-ups that want to “innovate,” is not what I’m talking about here. That’s simply trying to do good within the current economic and financial system, and validating and reinforcing it in the short term. This would be simply using the existing network as it is presented, not using it in a way that makes it emulate what a competing network would be. It is certainly possible that this alone — a “correct” application of business as usual — may bring about sufficient “real” transformation that problems disappear on their own through sheer business, technological and scientific ingenuity. That is, the beautiful communities based on trust and gifting that we envision are actually just around the corner — if only we would let the great Capitalist dance finish its performance on this planet, then we would see how wonderful things could and will be. Then again, it is also possible that trying to grow a new system as a mere “product” of the diligent application of the current system will continue to not work.

Original Post : thinking.nfshost.com/wiki/index.php?n=Main.OnResourceBasedEconomies


Douglas Mallette Lectures on a Resource Based Economy


I filmed this lecture and interview together with The Zeitgeist Movement in Oslo, Norway. Douglas Mallette gives here a somewhat deeper look into what a resource based economy is, how technology will play a role, and how RBE can be implemented in society.

The lecture:

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The interview:

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The Trust Economy


Summary:

Something big is coming. It can be really good or it can be really bad. This is a detailed outline of the good. The Trust Economy offers:

• A simple, elegant, fast, and peaceful solution to the world wide financial crises.

A workable answer to the demands of the 99% that can be implemented by the 99%

• Leverages existing models and available tools to manage and distribute resources in a fair and equitable manner.

• Easy to understand and implement.

• Creates a system that can not be stolen from or manipulated by a few at the expense of everyone else.

• Automatically aligns itself with the whole, without diminishing personal property or responsibility.


Background:

In the nineteen sixties and seventies, when technology was growing up, it was often said that technology would solve the worlds ills by making more abundance, shorter work weeks, and less toil and struggle. Robotics and computers were supposed to make life better for everyone.

Read More


Will You Do The Job You Have Today Without Money?


I am doing a little poll here.

It would be very interesting to see how many of you would do the work/study you do today even if you didn’t earn any money on it . Maybe you would do exactly the same job. Maybe you would do it with some modifications. Or maybe you wouldn’t do it at all.

I would like you to write a comment below and tell us the following:

  1. Write YES or NO or MAYBE to whether you would do your job/work without money.
  2. Describe your job and explain your answer.
  3. More elaboration if you like. Like, what would you do instead if you wouldn’t do the job you have today.

The premise for the above is of course that we have a resource based economy with no money, trading, barter or ownership, but with access to everything you need to live a good life. Society needs to go around, and some jobs would still be needed. Thus, the jobs we do must preferably be liked by the ones who do them.

Many jobs will be phased out by either it’s own nature (like banking) or by automation. In any case it would be enlightening to see if you have a job you hate or you love, or something in between. And whether your job is really contributing to society or if it can be phased out in a resource based economy, and what you would do instead.

Please share this with your friends also, so they can comment too.

PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTIONS AS THEY ARE NUMBERED. THANK YOU. 


How The Monetary System Works


This blog is mainly about focussing positively on a resource based economy, how it works, and how it can be implemented. Still, there seems to be a dire need to address the workings of our present monetary system, since some people doesn’t seem to grasp how detrimental this system is to our society, our health and the wellbeing of the planet in general. I think most people reading this blog ‘gets it’. This article is overemphasized towards those who don’t.

All of the elements below are self evident and clearly present in today’s world.

Our wonderful monetary system

Banks, loans, bills, taxes, bankruptcies, corruption, products that stop working right after the guarantee runs out. Competition, profit, buying, selling, trading, shopping, fashion, TV, advertising, cars brake down. Pollution, tar sands, oil spills, wars, nuclear disasters, asthma, deformed newly borns. Grades, neurosis, pharmaceuticals, doctors paid by them, prozac, more corruption, politicians, drug abuse, drug trade, financial crisis, unemployment, ingenious inventions that never see the light of day because they are bought up and shut down or outcompeted by the big corporations so they never reach The Market. Financial crisis, scarcity, inequality, injustice, greed, prostitution, pollution, clerks, meaningless jobs, police, military, terrorism, sell, sell, sell, sell, the media, homelessness, problems and crisis making the richer richer and the middle class into poor and the poorer even poorer. Overfishing, waste, consumption, bureaucracy, red tape, accounting, fraud, depression, suicide, crime.

Don’t you just love it?

You bet I do.

And the irony of it all; 99% of the ‘99%’ doesn’t even see it.

See what?

The problem. The cause of it all.

For some time I thought that ‘there will always be wars between people’. Sometime, somewhere on the planet, there will always be a war going on. I thought that this was a part of ‘human nature’, and after all, a war served as a contrast to ‘what we didn’t want’.

Now I understand that this is complete and utter bullshit.

Human Nature is not greedy. Humans become what society and their surroundings make them. If their surroundings are 100% greed, they become greedy. When they grow up in a world where the credo is ‘You Have To Make Money!’, ‘You Have To Succeed!!’ and ‘The More Money You Have, The More Successful You Are!!!’ then it is no wonder they become greedy, rip of others in a brown collar, blue collar or white collar way, become bankers, stock brokers and robbers, or simply….take a job.

Humans, when given the chance, are helpful, caring and sharing beings. This is who we really are. And this has been proven again and again.

So, if it is not ‘human nature’ that causes all of the shit we have in the world today, then what is it?

The answer is, it is the system itself. And when I say ‘the system’, I mean both the monetary system and the system of values that comes with it.

So, what came first? The monetary system or the value system? It’s a good question, but not really necessary to answer. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that it is here, and one is reinforcing and strengthening the other.

The profit based monetary system is leading to greedy values, while greedy values again lead to the monetary system. It has been a vicious spiral that has been going on for thousand of years with a culmination in present day.

Profit Motive

The profit motive is the controlling factor in the monetary system.

Today we are all slaves to the profit motive whether we like it or not. All adults has to make a profit, to ‘earn a living’. This goes for companies and corporations too. Without profit, they go bankrupt, people loose their jobs and everything collapses.

The Profit Motive rules the world. It doesn’t matter how good intentions you have. If you can’t reach the market and make a profit, it doesn’t have any value in today’s world.

No matter how much you want to help people in need, you have to buy your own way in this world. If you want to create new sustainable and efficient technologies, you still have to make a profit. No matter how great artist, painter, dancer or singer you are, you have to earn your money. The company have to earn money. The organization have to earn money. The corporation have to earn money. The government have to earn money.

We all have to make a profit.

Trade

Thus, we have to trade with each other. No matter how much you want to simply give your services and products away, you have to get some money back. No matter how much you want to share your skills, you have to ‘make a living’.

You have to trade whatever you have with others and get money back for it to pay your bills, buy your food and all the stuff you need to simply live. So, in this system, we have to trade.

We can of course give something away, but that’s not the point. The point is that we have to trade in this world, or else we die. If we give away all that we have, we won’t have any money to buy what we need ourselves.

We could of course try to live of the land, scavenge dumpsters or rely on kind friends to feed us, maybe in return for our services. And some do this. Still, the majority have to work and use money. If everyone abandoned money, well then we would of course not have the monetary system anymore, but rather a resource based gift economy which is what this whole blog is about.

Property and Ownership

Now, here’s the kicker. In nature there’s no real ‘property’ or ‘ownership’. It doesn’t exist. What exists is usership, possession and access. But in our monetary system, we have ‘property’ and ‘ownership’. What this means is that you can get a paper that say’s that ‘you own something’, making that thing ‘your property’.

These concepts are the basic building blocks of the monetary socio-economic capitalistic system. The concept of ownership and property is what has made it possible for a few in this world to own a lot. It is what makes this whole system go around. Still, ownership is only a concept. Not a real thing.

The more you own, on paper that is (because in reality no one can own anything), the richer and more ‘wealthy’ you are. The funny thing is that if you own 5 villas, 7 cars, 3 boats and 2 farms, you can only use a very small amount of time on each thing. Most of the time, ‘your’ things will be idle. Unused.

Still, you own it. You have bought it with your own money. Or…maybe not. Maybe you bought it with OPM. Other People’s Money. Loaned money.

Money and Banking

Money is the ‘blood’ that nurtures this whole system, and makes the monetary system possible. With money we can charge each other and pay each other. We can fine each other and tax each other. We can invest and become rich, or loose and go bankrupt.

But where does all the money come from? The money comes from the banks, and it is made out of fresh air (as a Bank Of England employee called it). Yes, today money is created by The Federal Reserve and the central banks around the world when needed. And the money is given it’s value in decree, meaning that it is the government that decides the monetary value of each ‘coin’, even though 99% of all the money today is electronic. The ‘gold standard’ that once existed has been abandoned a long time ago. Now, money has no relationship to anything real.

The central banks in turn lends the money out to other banks, who then lends it out to customers. And here’s how this process happens, through fractional reserve banking: 

Bank A gets 100 million dollars from a central bank. It can then lend out up to 90% of this (this percentage varies from country to country, some can lend out up to 100% of these money) to a customer. This loan is then deposited to an account in another bank, or in the same bank (this doesn’t really matter, since most of the banks work together in a cartel anyway).

As soon as this money is deposited, the bank can then lend out 90% of these money to another customer, and on and on. So, from 100 million (which was created from fresh air), the banks can multiply this to around 1 billion dollars through repeated lending. You might ask, ‘but what if the customer want to withdraw his money, and the bank has just lent it out’??? Well, of course, that’s the problem. Here’s where the banks are gambling.

Most of the time the customers does not want or need to withdraw a lot of money. If a customer want to withdraw a reasonable amount, that is no problem. The bank then takes that money from the pool of money it has. The problem comes if many customers want to withdraw a lot of money at the same time. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it might threaten the life of that particular bank.

Interest

Anyway. This is how our money are created from ‘fresh air’. And of course, the loans has to be paid back, with interest. Now, this interest isn’t created in the system, which leads to a larger and larger deficit in the system, which shows up as bankruptcies around the world. And this is what we see today with even whole countries practically bankrupt. There’s simply not enough money to go around. The system is bound to collapse.

What is funny, is that the banks, in addition to interest, demand ‘security’ from the lender, while the bank obviously doesn’t have any security for the money themselves, other than the ‘fresh air’ they were made of in the first place.

If you doubt any of these claims, just Google ‘fractional reserve banking’ do your own research, and you will get it confirmed.

Now, many people are very upset about the banking system and the financial crises. Still, almost as many doesn’t see how the whole monetary system is at fault, not only some bankers or the banking system.

Capitalism

Now, to further elaborate on how our monetary system upholds itself, let’s see how the ingenuity of it makes some people on the planet live lives in leisure, while others have to work by the sweat of their brow, if they are ‘lucky’ enough to have a job, that is.

When the ‘common man’ takes up his much needed loan to buy his much needed home, what happens? Well, the interest he pays on the money he has loaned goes to the bank, who in turn pays another customer his interest on money he has deposited.

So, if you have 10 million dollars, and put them in a bank on 3% interest, you get 300.000 dollars each year from the bank, for doing nothing. But who pays these money? Well, that is of course the man and all the others who took up a loan at 5% interest. And the ones who are taking up loans and paying interest is of course a much larger group than the ones who have money in the bank and gets interest.

This way, the rich can live lives in leisure, while the rest have to work, paying back their loans. Pretty smart system, if you ask me. For the rich, that is.

So, capitalism is really a pyramid scheme. On the very top is a secret group of some very very few people, who effectively controls the money supply in the world, and through a conglomerate of companies, banks and corporations owns and controls most of the planet and it’s governments.

This pyramid is controlled by money and ownership and everyone tries to climb to the top, which is one of the smarts mechanisms of the system. Everyone wants better lives, and better lives is found in more money, more money is found in better jobs, more investments, more ownership and so on, so everybody steps on everybody else to get there, and on the way they pay and reinforce the system through loans and taxes. And this happens 100% voluntarily by the people in the system. They are voluntary slaves, serving the system with their jobs and investments.

On the bottom of this pyramid, we find the population at large. The ones who actually holds this pyramid up by obediently going to work, paying their loans and taxes and buying their products as good consumers.

The ones who are outside of this pyramid are the many jobless and poor who doesn’t have loans or jobs and doesn’t pay taxes, and the very few who have effectively abandoned money and property and tries to live different lifestyles. But these are disparagingly few.

Cyclical Consumption

In addition to the money and banking system, the monetary system needs us to constantly buy new stuff for it to survive. If we stop buying, the system will collapse. This is called cyclical consumption. We have to buy, buy, buy, buy and consume, consume, consume.

Notice how we are called ‘consumers’ without anyone even getting slightly insulted. That is how deep the system have indoctrinated us into believing that ‘this is the way it has to be’. Read with a robotic voice: ‘Yes, I am a consumer. I buy things. I consume. I am important because without me the whole system collapses’.

So, are you a consumer? Or are you a human being?

Planned and Perceived Obsolescence

As a result of the need for cyclical consumption, products can not be made to last as long as they could have. Thus, products are designed to break. The first nylon stockings, for instance, never broke, which made the corporations redesign the stocking to be weaker and have a shorter lifespan, so that they could sell more and make a profit.

This kind of planned obsolescence is designed into most products we buy today. The products can not be made too sturdy and long lasting, and have to be made in such a way that they become obsolete in themselves. Instead of being updated, they have to be replaced.

In addition to the planned obsolescence, we have perceived obsolescence. This is when a product is still working fine, but the customer still wants a new one, because of sentimental reasons, like fashion or perceived higher quality or style in ‘the new’ product. And these feelings and wants are of course produced by advertising and marketing in the media. And the reason for all of this is? To make a profit and uphold the monetary system.

Competition

Competition is another factor built into the monetary system.

Instead of companies collaborating to make the best, longest lasting, most efficient, smartest designed products of the highest quality, they have to compete for market share, patent their ‘intellectual property’ and keep it away from competitors. So, they are burdened with both competition to ‘stay alive’, cyclical consumption and planned obsolescence.

It is a fine balance they have to keep. They have to present a whole host of seemingly different products in different price ranges to give the so-called consumers (us) a so-called ‘choice’. All in the name of profit.

But, of course, it has to be like this, or else our whole system will collapse!

We must consume and buy stuff. We can’t have long lasting products. We must be brainwashed to buy new stuff all the time. The companies has to make a profit, or else we will be all out of jobs!!! 

Yes, of course, this is how it has to be. In the monetary system.

But, what would happen if we used much less? If we took up fewer loans? If the companies made long lasting products? If 50% of all food wasn’t thrown away? It is obvious. With lesser consumption, which is many people’s goal, the system will collapse. Then, what do we do? No jobs for anyone. No money. What shall we do???

Corruption and crime

Corruption is the result of money. Not dishonest people, not greed, not poverty. No, money, property and the need for profit are the causes of corruption.

When you have a system where the people constantly have to trade with each other, compete for jobs and resources, buy and sell to each other and earn money, corruption automatically arises.

Because in a system with money, scarcity is a needed factor. If something is too abundant it will have no value. Money itself will have no value if it is too abundant. Thus, constant competition is needed and people need to pay each other and try to get as much out of each other as possible. To me, this itself is corruption.

Anything that is not given freely, but demanded money for, is basically corruption. The monetary system itself is built upon fraudulent money designed to enslave the population on the planet, and thus the use of this currencies is itself corruption, except we don’t know it.

The monetary system also leads to crime. Since scarcity is needed and built into the system, this will automatically create big differences between haves and have nots, which leads to crime; poor people wanting to have the standard of living of the rich.

The Benefits of The Monetary System

Hm….can’t think of any. At least not any that serves all of us, and not just a few.

If I should think of one ‘benefit’, it would have to be the possibility to use money as a measurement of gratitude.

In any case, I think this one little benefit can easily be replaced in a resource based economy with true gifts instead. Gifts you have made yourself. Like a song, a dinner, a cake. I am not talking about bartering here, only gifts.

We Know

We know that the oceans are overfished. ‘They should fish less!’ We know that the rainforest is cut down to make room for soy bean plantations. ‘We should save the rainforest!!’ We know that there is a huge drug trade in the world. ‘We should stop them!!!’ We know that there is trafficking, with both children, men and women. ‘They should stop that!!!!’ We know that there are millions of hungry and homeless in the world. ‘We should give them food and shelter!!!!!’ We know that there are more than enough alternative energy sources to fuel the whole world. ‘We should use them!!!!!!’ We know billions is spent on war. ‘They should spend it on health, schools and the old!!!!!!!’

Now, why are they going to war? Why aren’t alternative energy used instead of oil? Why aren’t all the hungry and homeless fed and sheltered? Why are people suffering in trafficking? Why is there a huge drug trade in the world? Why is the rainforest cut down? Why are the oceans overfished? Why? Why?? Why???

And the answer is:   Profit.   Money.   Greed.   Property.

Do    you    get    it?

The System

It is the whole monetary system and the mindset behind it that is at cause. It isn’t the ‘bad guys’ or ‘freak coincidence’. No. It is our system.

We can’t stop these things happening within this system. Why? Because THE WORLD NEEDS TO MAKE  A PROFIT!!!

Every person, every business, every corporation and every government NEEEDS TO MAKE A PROFIT. That’s why.

Everyone needs to make a profit from what they do, and they do everything they can to make a profit. Be it going to war, overfishing, cutting down rainforest, smuggle drugs, traffic children, give irresponsible loans, trade money, trade gold, trade fish, trade, trade trade, trade and kick the ones who can not pay out or their homes. The profit incentive leads to greed which again leads to more want for profit.

We can’t avoid planned obsolescence and cyclical consumption, we can’t make products that last, we can’t feed and shelter all the hungry and homeless, we can’t stop wars, we can’t stop using oil, because these things are non profitable, and if we try to stop it, the whole system will collapse, because there would be no jobs, and no one to buy the products, big corporations would not earn money, go bankrupt and more people will be out of jobs, and so on. 

It is not ‘bad people’ who do these things. It is normal people like you and me. But, like you and me, they are infected with this thought of money, property and profit. Now, can you see the problem?

Now, can you see the solution?

Just imagine for a second, if we simply removed money, profit, trade and property.

Then we replaced it with natural sharing, giving, usership and accessibility.

Wooooooh…………….

Can you see the consequences? Can you reeeaaaally see it?

What would happen if we all shared? Simply shared. Shared our skills and knowledge. Shared our resources.

No competition. No profit. No money.

Instead: Collaboration. Joy. Excitement. Enthusiasm. On a global scale.

For everyone.

We could simply go out there and do what we need to do. Feed the ones who need it. And not only feed them, but build a whole new world for all of us. A world we can all live happily in together. Build up the soil. Make it thick and black and full of juicy nutrients for succulent vegetables to grow in.

Build up our knowledge about everything. And just do it! No need for patents anymore. No need for secrecy. No need for war. No need for money. No need for investors. No need to overfish the oceans. No need for trafficking. No need to drill for more oil. No need to worry about jobs and unemployment. No need to cut down the rainforest or kill the gorillas. No need to. No need to.

If we only let go of money. Property. Ownership. Profit. And greed.

What we are left with are the resources. What we can actually use. What we can actually eat, build houses with, make clothes with. All our common material and mental resources.

Resource Based Economy

What we are talking about is a resource based economy, which you can read all about on this website and on the sites of The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement.

In a resource based economy, we focus on the actual needed resources to produce anything. And we abandon trade, barter, money and ownership. Instead we have giving, sharing, accessibility and usership.

On a personal level, you can call it a gift economy, because whatever you do for anyone, you have to give away for free. But of course, when everyone thinks and acts like this, you will get a tenfold of gifts back as well.

Still, you giving something is also a resource, whether you sing a song for someone, share your knowledge on a subject, program a new application, make a movie or grow delicious food.

When we all live in a giving society, we will also get much more than we give. Why? Because that’s the power of a network of giving. When our mindset shifts from thinking only of ourselves, to thinking of others just as much, everyone will get more.

You giving of your skills and knowledge can be called sharing mental resources. All the other resources would be the material resources, like food, land, houses, transport, tools, energy, etc.

Do you know what the average usage time on a power drill is in today’s world? 20 minutes. In average, every power drill produced is used only 20 minutes in it’s entire lifespan. And the same goes for many other things in our world today. Cars are only used a fraction of their time. So are private boats. Skates. Skis. Etc, etc. Not to speak of all the waste we get from producing all this stuff.

In a resource based economy, we could actually focus on producing long lasting products, and then share them, instead of hoarding them. And we could focus on producing it without waste and pollution.

And instead of ownership, we would have usership. This means that whatever you use and need, you can use as long as you need it. And when you’re done with it, it goes back into the pool of resources. Be it a power drill, a car, a house or a piece of land.

All the resources on the planet would simply be shared and used where they were needed in the most environmentally friendly way. In fact, we wouldn’t have to weigh the balance between environment, jobs and profit. We could actually focus on the environment and ’employ’ as many as needed for the task of those who wanted to contribute to that, and then some.

No need to ‘get funding’, ‘find investors’, etc. etc. As long as we provide food and shelter for everyone who want’s to participate, we are good to go.

And again, we would of course utilize and develop as much technology as needed without the ‘technological unemployment’ ghost threatening. If we were to build a new dam, we wouldn’t need thousands of workers. No, we would construct machines to do, not only the heavy lifting, but the majority of the work itself.

Not that we would have to construct any new dam at all. There are plenty of alternative energy resources today that we can do very well without any new dams on the planet.

And within the resource based economy we could actually take the technologies that work the best and utilize them for everyone, without any competition or greedy corporations trying to ruin it for us, or the market not buying it. Now, we would simply work together, globally, to invent and develop the best new solutions. Solutions that save the environment, rather than ruin it. Solutions that help people, rather than hinder them.

Then, why would anyone contribute to any of this? Because it would be in everyones interest. It would be 100% meaningful and purposeful. It would be interesting and challenging. It would be liberating and joyful. It would be work that actually meant something.

Without the need to set different price tags on everything, we could set one; Priceless.

Many people might think of this as a kind of utopia. Getting all the worlds people in on this sounds daunting. Still, I think it is already in us. Giving and sharing is normal and natural in all of the world’s cultures.

We buy friends dinner without thinking about it. We share knowledge without cost, both on- and offline. People constantly help each other all around the world. Be it doctors, nurses, aid workers, computer specialists, or someone simply helping old ladies across the street.

On Cuba you are considered a taxi driver if you have a car. And that goes for tourists too. You have to stop for hitch hikers and share your car.

On Fiji, they basically doesn’t have any private property. Usership and sharing is the norm. If you are there and comment positively on the TV of your Fiji family, they will feel compelled to give it to you.

I think our basic instinct is to share. Our human nature is not a greedy one, but a sharing one. It has only been buried under layers upon layers of money and property for millennia.

Thinking about a global resource based economy in today’s crazy money world might be a long shot.

Still, I think it is the best shot we have.


A Conversation About The Venus Project with Jacque Fresco and Roxanne Meadows


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In this interview, Jacque Fresco and Roxanne Meadows of The Venus Project answers some inquisitive questions about everything from design to decision making, with the interviewer playing ‘devils advocate’. The interview aims to get answers to questions not answered before by The Venus Project.

All images and designs in the video is attributed to The Venus Project and Jacque Fresco.

“The Venus Project advocates an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization unlike any socio-economic system that has gone before. It calls for a straightforward redesign of a culture, in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but totally unacceptable.” – The Venus Project

You might also want to see this recording from their lecture in Stockholm 2010: http://www.theresourcebasedeconomy.com/2011/03/the-venus-project-stockholm-lecture-july-2010/

Experience more on their website: www.thevenusproject.com