View the Zeitgeist film at the bottom of this post.
The Venus Project assumes there can be an abundance of everything. That is simply not true. Technology can make many things abundant and the film discusses energy in great detail, but that is hardly everything. Human demand is limitless, it’s simply not possible for 6 billion people to each live in a 5000 square foot mansion with attached private beach on the Florida coast. We live in a finite world and I am simply not convinced that even the base assumption proselytized by this film is realistic. In fact, it appears to be terribly flawed and reminiscent of discredited communist rhetoric.
The creator of this film doesn’t seem to understand the difference between money and currency. Money is not the paper bills we use as a medium to exchange goods and services, money is a store of purchasing power that is represented by currency. Eliminating currency will not eliminate crime and corruption because the purpose of greed in a free market capitalist system was never to get more money but to get the stuff money can buy. As long as there is stuff there will always be ways to acquire it, and thus, money. In the absence of currency perhaps power and influence become the new money, isn’t that much worse? If the intent is to achieve a more equitable distribution of stuff, and you believe that is desirable, it’s ironically much easier for that to be accomplished with currency. In reality when resources become abundant, money does not lose value, it gains value as it allows you to consume much more. Everybody who has money would LOVE to see an abundance of resources for all humanity. The problem is not the money, it’s the debt. If people could afford everything they wanted they would stop borrowing to consume and put the banks out of business.
The reason capitalism discourages the selling of products until abundance is not because of a hatred of humanity, it’s because the capital required to fund those businesses could be better used to increase the supply of something else that is more in need of investment. How do we know that? By looking at prices! Take away the price system and you will have no way to know what the people want. You would need yet another corruptible “democratic” election process or a dictator to make decisions on your behalf. Here again the problem is not capitalism or profit, it’s debt. When money is cheap people no longer compete for scarce savings to maximize the efficiency of the money supply, they just build whatever the hell they want without regard for sustainability through profit because debt by inflation is always available from the banks. That creates inequality and poverty. In the new proposed system, if resources were cheap or freely available to everyone just as currency is today, competing projects would also have no incentive to maximize the efficient use of those resources. Everyone with influence (money) would support whichever pet projects provide maximum benefit to themselves. What’s the difference? When currency runs out, more is printed. When money runs out, prices adjust. When resources run out, what then?
The biggest corrupting pyramid scheme of them all is not even the creation of currency through debt, it’s how the newly created currency is distributed. With the Venus Project, as the first 100 units of some new technology become available, how will it be distributed? Who gets it first? The delivery of technology necessitates the creation of some sort of order or class system just as it does with currency. There will still be a hierarchy of people making the decisions and a hierarchy of people benefiting from them. Today the people who use the newly created debt currency first benefit the most, in the new proposed system the people who get the newly created technology first benefit the most. They could even trade their privileges like a commodity for other stuff, like that prime Florida real estate that’s still scarce. Please don’t pretend real estate as currency is some novel idea.
Who will design and build the machines and how will they be compensated? Pretending people will continue to work without compensation by blaming capitalist propaganda is a cop-out. Will you just give them even more of the stuff that is already in abundance, or perhaps some exclusive stuff that only the contributors enjoy? Would they not just trade those things like any other currency? Who will make sure the machines are not used for the benefit of one person or another, if there is no state or law? Who will prevent organized crime from cornering the market of still scarce primary materials?
The problem with our current system, as with any other, is not one of money. The people “behind the curtain” as they are often called do not need more money — they already have control over the printing press — what motivates them is power. A resource based system does not eliminate that desire, if anything it enhances the power elite by making it difficult for ordinary people to protect themselves with savings. In our current system, power is achieved by the manipulation of currency people believe is money. It is possible to take away the currency and the power yet maintain an honest money free market capitalist system. The people in control have already had everything in abundance for generations and this utopia has never been their experience, what makes you think this project will be any different with the masses? The cry of “this time it will be different” is as shallow as ever, it’s not different, it’s never different. It has never been different and it never will be. People would find other things to fight about: sex, gossip, art, fashion, music, etc. There is no way I will ever buy into this experiment on a global scale without at least a trace of plausibility. The only way for this system to be functional is to abandon its principles from the outset since without some new religion to indoctrinate the people with its new philosophy the idea is pure fantasy.
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