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Using the political system as a soapbox

December 18, 2010 4 comments


My name is Neil Kiernan. Some of you may know me as VTV on the forums. I am the host of the internet talk-radio show called “V-RADIO“.
First, let me start by giving a little background about myself and how I came to be a member of the Zeitgeist Movement.

Some time ago, during Ron Paul’s campaign for President, something broke me out of my apathy. It was a politician who actually spoke the truth. The topic in debate was the motivation for the attacks on September 11th. One of his opponents, Rudy Guiliani (who was riding his fame as Mayor of New York City during that tragedy), had made the statement that the attacks were motivated by hatred of the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. No matter what you believe the cause or motivation for these attacks was, anyone who knows anything about the opinion of the United States in the world (particularly in the middle east), knows it has next to nothing to do with our freedoms. And Congressmen Paul of Texas laid it out. It was our foreign policy that is the reason people in these countries dislike the United States. This is a foreign policy that includes bombing and deadly sanctions against those countries.

I remember the day I heard Congressmen Paul talk about this very well. And the reason it was important to me, and is still important, was that I had never in my entire life seen a politician speak the truth, regardless of what consequences it would have for his career. And he did see consequences! The press tried to paint him as a 911 conspiracy theorist. It was not in the best interest of the establishment that the American people actually take an honest look at why people in other countries dislike the United States.

I joined the “Ron Paul Revolution” and the independent media that had started on the internet. I participated by joining an internet radio station called “Ron Paul Radio”; and so began my career of internet journalism. After watching the film “V for Vendetta”, I was inspired by the scene where the character V takes over the television feed. In the bottom right hand corner, he created a little “VTV” icon. That is where my internet persona came from.

I learned a lot during my time involved in that campaign. Eventually, it became clear that Ron Paul was not going to run third party, and was not going to get the Republican nomination. I had befriended Senator Mike Gravel, whom some of you may remember as the fiery old man with glasses who put Hillary Clinton in her place before corporate interests had him removed from the Democratic debates. Senator Gravel and I decided to join the Libertarian party and I decided to help him with his bid for the nomination in that party. I was a delegate to the convention and learned even more about third party politics. In light of my contribution to debates on the party’s platform, I was asked by the Michigan Libertarian Party to run for Congress as a Libertarian in Michigan’s 10th district.

What I learned, of course, is that nobody ever runs for office on a third party ticket expecting to win. However, you do get invited onto mainstream television, radio and newspapers to talk about your ideas, simply for being a candidate. A friend of mine from the Socialist party named Bryan Moore (who ran for president) pointed out that his party never gets anyone elected. But because of their presence on the election scene, the Democratic party has been forced to absorb some of their views or lose votes to them. This is another positive effect that third party politics brings to the table.

In any case, thanks to Ron Paul’s campaign to expose the Federal Reserve, a fellow activist suggested the film Zeitgeist to me, due to Peter Joseph’s exposure of the Federal Reserve scam. Another powerful thing that his campaign accomplished is that now, the issue of the Federal Reserve and the problems it causes has become a mainstream issue. This never would of happened if Ron Paul had not run for President. And most of us would still have no idea what the Federal Reserve is or what it does. My appreciation for the information in the first film lead me to watching the sequel Zeitgeist Addendum when it came out later. In other words, if it were not for my involvement in the political system there would be no VTV, and no V-RADIO. And that brings me to how the political system can be a powerful tool to help us spread awareness of the solutions presented in Jacque Fresco’s proposals for the Resource-Based Economy. It is in third party politics that we will find the kind of people who actually care enough about the world to even be willing to hear our ideas. The “low hanging fruit”, so to speak, is very numerous in organizations like the Green Party, the Libertarian party, etc.. These are the people who care. The Michigan Zeitgeist chapter has several members of the Green Party, and their insight into activism has been a great help to us.

We should reject the political system. In it’s current form, the notion that we will get anything done directly in a system that allows corporations to buy any political position they want is silly. However, many people still believe the solutions are there. As I did, before I watched Zeitgeist Addendum. And I would not have ever even heard of the film if it were not for someone in the third party political activist community bringing it to my attention.

Remember Jacque talking about his childhood during the depression, where there were all these men up on soapboxes (literally up on soapboxes, this is where the term came from) talking about their various solutions to mankind’s troubles?

The “soapbox”, in that sense, has been replaced by the internet, the radio, and the television. There are people who are not satisfied with things the way they are, who are looking for people on these soapboxes to give them suggestions as to a better direction. We can get on that soapbox in the form of caucuses within the political system who’s sole purpose is to offer a non-political solution.

And that is why I formed the Resource-Based Economy Caucus. I went to Jacque and Roxanne and asked their permission to form this caucus. I showed them the platform and they approved it.

What is a caucus? A caucus is a group within a political party who support certain views and sometimes have an agenda for the party in question. An example would be the Republican Liberty caucus. That caucus is basically a Libertarian caucus within the Republican party. It’s purpose is to spread Libertarian ideals in the Republican party and support candidates in that party who hold similar ideals.

This is the platform of the Resource-Based Economy Caucus:

The Resource-Based economy caucus is a caucus that seeks to bring about awareness of the advantages of implementing a Resource-Based economy. And to work towards that implementation. The definition of a Resource-Based economy, as defined by Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project, is as follows:

“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.

Modern society has access to highly advanced technology and can make available food, clothing, housing and medical care; update our educational system; and develop a limitless supply of renewable, non-contaminating energy. By supplying an efficiently designed economy, everyone can enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities of a high technological society.

We must emphasize that this approach to global governance has nothing whatsoever in common with the present aims of an elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations at the helm, and the vast majority of the world’s population subservient to them. Our vision of globalization empowers each and every person on the planet to be the best they can be, not to live in abject subjugation to a corporate governing body.

Our proposals would not only add to the well being of people, but they would also provide the necessary information that would enable them to participate in any area of their competence. The measure of success would be based on the fulfillment of one’s individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power.

At present, we have enough material resources to provide a very high standard of living for all of Earth’s inhabitants. Only when population exceeds the carrying capacity of the land do many problems such as greed, crime and violence emerge. By overcoming scarcity, most of the crimes and even the prisons of today’s society would no longer be necessary.

A resource-based economy would make it possible to use technology to overcome scarce resources by applying renewable sources of energy, computerizing and automating manufacturing and inventory, designing safe energy-efficient cities and advanced transportation systems, providing universal health care and more relevant education, and most of all by generating a new incentive system based on human and environmental concern.

Many people believe that there is too much technology in the world today, and that technology is the major cause of our environmental pollution. This is not the case! It is the abuse and misuse of technology that should be our major concern. In a more humane civilization, instead of machines displacing people they would shorten the workday, increase the availability of goods and services, and lengthen vacation time. If we utilize new technology to raise the standard of living for all people, then the infusion of machine technology would no longer be a threat.

A resource-based world economy would also involve all-out efforts to develop new, clean, and renewable sources of energy: geothermal; controlled fusion; solar; photovoltaic; wind, wave, and tidal power; and even fuel from the oceans. We would eventually be able to have energy in unlimited quantity that could propel civilization for thousands of years. A resource-based economy must also be committed to the redesign of our cities, transportation systems, and industrial plants, allowing them to be energy efficient, clean, and conveniently serve the needs of all people.

What else would a resource-based economy mean? Technology, when intelligently and efficiently applied, conserves energy, reduces waste, and provides more leisure time. With automated inventory on a global scale, we can maintain a balance between production and distribution. Only nutritious and healthy food would be available and planned obsolescence would be unnecessary and non-existent in a resource-based economy.

As we outgrow the need for professions based on the monetary system (lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, marketing and advertising personnel, salespersons, stockbrokers, etc.), a considerable amount of waste will be eliminated. Considerable amounts of energy would also be saved by eliminating the duplication of competitive products such as tools, eating utensils, pots, pans and vacuum cleaners. Choice is good. But instead of hundreds of different manufacturing plants and all the paperwork and personnel required to turn out similar products, only a few of the highest quality would be needed to serve the entire population. Our only shortage is the lack of creative thought and intelligence in ourselves and our elected leaders to solve these problems. The most valuable, untapped resource today is human ingenuity.

With the elimination of debt, the fear of losing one’s job will no longer be a threat. This assurance, combined with education on how to relate to one another in a much more meaningful way, could considerably reduce both mental and physical stress and leave us free to explore and develop our abilities.

If the thought of eliminating money still troubles you, consider this: If a group of people with gold, diamonds and money were stranded on an island that had no resources such as food, clean air and water, their wealth would be irrelevant to their survival. It is only when resources are scarce that money can be used to control their distribution. One could not, for example, sell the air we breathe or water abundantly flowing down from a mountain stream. Although air and water are valuable, in abundance they cannot be sold.

Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for those scarce resources. Money is a social convention; an agreement, if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such.”
Key points of the caucus:

  1. We intend to offer alternatives to the current outdated solutions that are simply not working.
  2. We will work to expose the dangers of a profit motivated monetary system, and spread awareness of the various ways this system is corrupted.
  3. We will work to spread awareness of the technology that could liberate mankind from the monetary system and the profit motive.
  4. We will offer dialogue as to the flaws of Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism and why none of these solutions will solve the problems of mankind. And offer the research of the Venus Project as data of an alternative to any of these outdated failed systems.
  5. We do not advocate the use of force or coercion, but seek to demonstrate our ideas to bring understanding of why we feel this is the best direction for mankind.

A lot of that platform will look familiar to you. That is because almost all of it is taken directly from Jacque Fresco’s writings, with his permission.

The first party I took this caucus to is the Boston Tea Party. This is not the tea party you have seen on the news with people like Sarah Palin involved. This party was started quite a while ago by former members of the Libertarian party who disliked the neo-conservative direction some of the membership of the Libertarian party was taking. The platform is incredibly simple:

“The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.”

I proposed the Resource Based Economy as an alternate means to achieve the stated platform. As you can imagine, this was rather controversial. But it got us attention. And resistance. There were a few reasons I chose this party to start off with.

  1. It costs nothing to join, and is easy to join on the internet. Go to Bostontea.us and click “join” on the right side of the silver bar at the top of their website. After you sign up, your in. It’s that simple.
  2. Although their membership was mostly mainstream Free-Market Libertarian, nothing in their platform says anything about the Free-Market. It simply states that the party wishes to reduce the size and scope of government. As such, our caucus is completely in line with their ideals.
  3. I was already a member of the national committee from my time as a Libertarian. I was asked to join after the 2008 Libertarian national convention.

At the recent convention, which took place on the internet where all of the activity in this party takes place, we ran three candidates for the national committee of the party. Members of the national committee of a political party vote on issues such as changes to the platform, the bylaws, resolutions in support of or in condemnation of acts by politicians or corporations, or endorsement of political candidates. The three candidates were Mathew Wagner (the administrator for the Ohio Chapter of the Zeitgeist movement), Rion Ametu (another member) and myself.

The resistance to our caucus took the form of attempts at voter fraud. A member named Jim Davidson made more then one account to vote against me and a couple of Zeitgeist Movement members. He was caught and his votes invalidated. Then came a controversial move on the part of the party’s chairman at the time, Douglass Gaking. He decided to invoke an unwritten rule that membership to the party should be closed off during conventions. He invalidated the votes we had from new members who joined from the Zeitgeist Movement. This lead to all three of our candidates losing. However, before this was done, we had far more votes then any other candidate. It was very obvious we would have won by a landslide.

Because of these actions, the majority of the membership of the Boston Tea Party’s national committee is made up of mainstream Libertarians. And to ensure that no one from our caucus gains a seat, they are simply refusing to have an election for the seat that was left available at the end of the convention. Thankfully, one of the party’s founders, Thomas Knapp, has started a petition to overturn this decision. He already has the five members he needs to support this petition and the matter will be put to a vote of the actual membership.

If you would like to help with this, all it requires is that you go to BostonTea.us and join the party. You must be a U.S. Citizen to join and with a few mouse clicks, we can turn that situation around.

That being said, it is my intention to continue to use the political system as a soapbox. And for those of you inside and outside of the United States, I suggest you do the same. When doing this, try and find political parties that have a logical progression within their platform that could be compatible with the Resource-Based Economy solution. Incarnations of the Green Party can be found in many countries. Some of the Socialist parties would also be open to our message. Consider running for local offices, solely with the intention of spreading awareness of the Resource-Based Economy solution. We know politics is not the solution. But it is a solution to getting a real solution into the minds of the people of the world.

Neil Kiernan

The profit problem

December 18, 2010 1 comment


In the modern day, there is a great deal of public criticism in regard to “abuse” within the financial system. Toxic derivatives, CEO Bonuses, Madoff pyramid schemes, Goldman Sachs fraud, etc.. These near-constant occurrences are traditionally considered “anomalies” within the current order, tossed on to the front pages of our papers as though we should be surprised by these realities. What you don’t see on the cover of newspapers in regard to such “corruption” are those actions which are, in principle, equally as corrupt – but have been accepted as “normal” under the guises of “marketing strategy” and the “competitive nature” of the marketplace. These include various forms of dishonestly, such as the deliberate withholding of efficiency of a given good for the sake of reducing it’s “cost basis”, to the protectionist tendency of any company to preserve itself, regardless of social function or the advent of innovations which might inhibit a currently profitable practice.

It is important to point out that the motivations, and hence actions, of any human being within a society can only be a consequence of that society’s influence. Stealing, for example, is not a “genetic” trait. It is the product of a culture. Human motivation is complex and the study of human behavior should be at the forefront of criminology, with all relevant attributes of the social system considered as a possible cause. It is no revelation of human psychology, and hence sociology, that if a certain act does not offer a proper reward, then naturally there will be little motivation to carry out such an action. Likewise, if personal gain/reward can be attained through what society even condemns as an “unlawful action”, that distinction truly changes nothing if there is a level of desperation within a given person to require whatever that action may be.

Now, historically, the public assumes that certain actions are “moral” and others are not. Lying, for example, is considered “amoral”, both by common religious and legal codes. But what exactly are they referring to? What level of lying is “real”? The fact is, every single act of monetary gain is based on a form of dishonesty, only this dishonestly is simply re-termed as “competitive”. In the marketing world, everything is driven by “advantage”. The “competitive edge” is nothing more than a passive corruption where competing companies seek to “out do” each other in whatever way they can for the sake of market share. The very act of seeking differential advantage is to be engaged in the abuse of another person or group. Regardless, our social system at large chooses to collar this understanding and instead imposes punitive reactions to what the system defines as “socially offensive behavior” (or crime) while, in fact, ignoring the root causes of most of these so-called “criminal” actions – along with overlooking the other “accepted” forms of dishonesty present.

As an aside, the resolution of “offensive” human behavior can only come from an adjustment of the social system. There is no such thing as a “criminal”, as we are all products, and hence the victims, of the culture in which we are born into.

Now, before we begin, there is one more thing I would like to hesitantly point out. Criticism of the current financial order, and hence the profit problem, does not automatically mean the person presenting such a challenge is a “Marxist” or a “Communist”. Yes, the preceding statement is likely comical to those who are accustomed to thinking critically, but sadly, I need to point this out, for we can rest assured that a great number of people reading this article will simply try to find a way to reduce it to “Marxist Nonsense” – a thoughtless, capitalist catchphrase I have grown quite bored with. One of the greatest forms of imposed inhibition comes from creating associations that have been traditionally defined as “disproven”, “discredited” or the like. This is an age-old propaganda tactic to create uncomfortable, inconvenient and controversial associations in order to derail critical thought about specific “taboo” issues. Like a religion, the monetary system and the “theology” of the “free market”, is no exception. The high priests of our current economic model naturally come in the form of “monetary economists” which work in a field that is provably decoupled from any type of natural scientific order in regard to what actually sustains human life on this planet – which are natural resources and the scientific method. The only viable economic model that can possibly exist in any civilization must be explicitly based on resource management and preservation. The market system that currently exists in the world today is an utter failure in this regard and, in fact, works in a reverse capacity – perpetuating exploitation, pollution, and psychological neuroses.

Here are six problematic attributes of the market system:

1. A “Corruption Generating” Incentive System. It is often said that the competitive marketplace creates the incentive to act for the sake of social progress. While this is partially true, it also generates an equal if not more pronounced amount of corruption in the form of planned obsolescence, common crime, wars, large scale financial fraud, slave labor and many other issues. Well over 90% of the people in prisons are there because of monetary-related crime or non-violent drug offenses. The majority of legislation exists in the context of monetary-based crimes. Also, if one is to critically examine history and peer into the documented biographies/mentalities of the greatest scientists and inventors of our time, such a N. Tesla, A. Einstein, A. Bell, the Wright Brothers, and many others, it is found that they did not find their motivation in the prospect of monetary gain. The interest to make money must not be confused with the interest to create socially beneficial products. In a sustainable society, human motivation would be driven by contributions to society, and hence ‘themselves’ – not abstractly “making money”. The system would be designed to best facilitate the needs of the population directly. Yes, this is that dangerous phenomenon we hear so much about, with the image of blood engulfing the planet Earth, denoted as “socialistic”. God forbid society might actually be ‘designed’ to benefit the people which live inside of it. The fact of the matter is, the profit motive incentive, and hence our competition oriented system, is entirely “anti-society”. It is a pure corruption. The entire point of a social organization is to facilitate and perpetuate the well-being of its citizenry. In society today, the exact opposite is true. People are told they must “earn a living”, which perpetuates a form of superstition that only certain people deserve the “right of life” and others do not.

2. The need for infinite growth. Infinite economic growth is not only mathematically unsustainable, but it is ecologically detrimental. While people can debate the theoretical nature of “capitalism” and how it is “supposed” to function, one thing is historically clear. It perpetuates/requires constant growth and consumption. The entire basis of the Market System is not the intelligent management of our mostly finite resources on this planet, but rather the perpetual extraction and consumption of them for the sake of profit and “economic growth”. In order to keep people employed, people must constantly buy and consume, regardless of the state of affairs within the environment and often regardless of product utility and basic necessity. This is the absolute reverse of what a sustainable practice would require, which is the strategic preservation and efficient use of resources. In a sustainable society, a “steady-state” economy would be in order. This would mean that there is no pressure to consume, as labor is not linked into the feedback loop. While it is very difficult for most people today to imagine a world which does not impose the need for “labor for income”, it needs to be pointed out that the constant requirement for labor is nothing but detrimental in the modern day, especially in light of the growing efficiency of mechanization of labor across developed nations.

3. A disjunct, inefficient industrial complex which wastes tremendous amount of resources and energy. In the world today, with the advent of Globalization, it has become more profitable to import and export both labor and goods across the globe, than to produce locally. We import bananas from Ecuador to the US, bottled water from Fuji, Japan, while western companies will go to the 3rd world to exploit cheap labor, etc.. Likewise, the process of extraction, to component generation, to assembly, to distribution of a given good might cross through multiple countries for a single final product, simply due to labor and production costs / property costs. This is extreme inefficiency and only justifiable within the market system for the sake of “saving money”.

In a sustainable society, the focus would be maximum efficiency. The production process is not dispersed, but made as centralized and fluid as possible, with elements moving the very least amount, saving what would be tremendous amounts of energy and labor when compared to methods today. Food is grown locally whenever possible (which is most of the time given the flexibility of indoor agriculture technology today) while all extraction, production and distribution is logically organized to use as little labor/transport/space as possible, while producing the *best possible goods. (*see more below) In other words, the system is planned to maximize efficiently and minimize waste.

4. A propensity for “Establishments”. Very simply, established corporate/financial orders have a built in tendency to stop new, socially positive advents from coming to fruition, if there is a foreshadowed loss of market share, profit and hence power. It is important to consider the basic nature of a corporation and its inherent need for self-perpetuation. If a person starts a company, hires employees, creates a market and becomes profitable, what has thus been created, in part, is the means for survival for a group of people. Since each person in that group typically becomes dependent on their organization for income, a natural, protectionist propensity is created whereas anything that threatens the institution thus threatens the well-being of the group/individual. This is the fabric of a “competition” mindset. While people think of free market competition as a battle between two or more companies in a given industry, they often miss the other level – which is the competition against new advents which would make them outright obsolete. The best way to expand on this point is to simply give an example, such as the US Government and ‘Big Oil’ collusion to limit the expansion of the fully Electric Car (EV) in the US. This issue was well presented and sourced in the documentary called “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. The bottom line here is that the need to preserve an established order for the sake of the well-being of those on the payroll, leads to an inherent tendency to stifle progress. A new technology which can make a prior technology obsolete will be met with resistance unless there is a way for the market system to adsorb it in a slow fashion, allowing for a transition for the corporations ( i.e. the perpetuation of “Hybrid” cars in the US, as opposed to the fully electric ones which could exist now, in abundance.) There are also large amounts of evidence that the FDA has engaged in favoritism/collusion with pharmaceutical companies, to limit/stop the availability of advanced drugs which would void existing/profitable ones.

In a sustainable society, there is nothing to hold back developmental/implementation of anything, once it has been tested thoroughly. There could be no “Established Institutions”. New methods would immediately be implemented into society, with no monetary institution to thwart the change due to their self-preserving nature.

5. An inherent obsolescence which creates inferior products immediately due to the need to stay “competitive”. This little recognized attribute of production is another example of the waste which is created in the market system. It is bad enough that multiple companies constantly duplicate each others items in an attempt to make their variations more interesting for the sake of public consumption, but a more wasteful reality is that due to the competitive basis of the system, it is a mathematical certainty that every good produced is immediately inferior the moment it is created, due the need to cut the initial cost basis of production, and hence stay “competitive” against another company which is doing the same thing for the same reason. The old free market adage where producers “create the best possible goods at the lowest possible prices” is a needlessly wasteful reality and detrimentally misleading. It is impossible for a company to use the most efficient material or processes in the productions of anything, for it would be too expensive to maintain a competitive cost basis. They very simply cannot make the “strategically best”, physically – it is mathematically impossible. If they did, no one would buy it, for it would be unaffordable due the values inherent in the higher quality materials and methods. Remember: People buy what they can afford. Every person on this planet has a built in limit of affordability in the monetary system, so it generates a feedback loop of constant waste via inferior production, to meet inferior demand.

In a sustainable society, goods are created to last, with the expansion and updating of certain goods built directly into the design and recycling strategically accessed as well, limiting waste. You will notice the term “strategic best” was used in a statement above. This qualification means that goods are created with respect to state of affairs of the planetary resources and with the quality of materials used based on an equation taking into account all relevant attributes, rates of depletion, negative retro-actions and the like. In other words, we would not use TITANIUM for every single computer enclosure made, just because it might be the empirically “strongest” materials for the job. That practice could lead to depletion. Rather, there would be a gradient of material quality which would be assessed through analysis of, again, relevant attributes such as comparable resources, rates of natural obsolescence for a given item, statical usage in the community, etc. These properties and relationships could be assessed through programming, with the most strategically viable solution computed and output in real time.

6. The market system is driven, in part, by scarcity. The less there is of something, the more money that can be generated in the short term. This sets up a propensity for corporations to limit availability and hence deny production abundance. It is simply against the very nature of what drives demand to create abundance. The Kimberly Diamond Mines in Africa have been documented in the past to burn diamonds in order to keep prices high. Diamonds are rare resources which take billions of years to be created. This is nothing but problematic. The world we live in should be based on the interest to generate an abundance for the world’s people, along with strategic preservation and streamlined methods to enable that abundance. This is a central reason why, as of 2010, there are over a billion people starving on the planet. It has nothing to do with an inability to produce food, and everything having to do with an inherent need to create/preserve scarcity for the sake of short term profits. Abundance, Efficiency and Sustainability are, very simply, the enemies of profit. This also applies to the quality of goods. The idea of creating something that could last, say, a lifetime with little repair, is anathema to the market system, for it reduces consumption rates, which slows growth and creates systemic repercussions (like a loss of jobs, etc.). The scarcity attribute of the market system is nothing but detrimental for these reasons, not to mention that it doesn’t even serve the role of efficient resource preservation, which is often claimed. While supply and demand dictates that the less there is of something, the more it will be valued (and hence the increased value will limit consumption, reducing the possibility of “running out”), the incentive to create scarcity, coupled with the inherent short term reward which results from scarcity-driven-based prices, nullifies the idea that this enables strategic preservation. We will likely never “run out” of oil, in the current market system. Rather, the prices will become so high that no one can afford it, while those corporation who own the remaining oil, will make a great deal of money off of the scarcity, regardless of the long term social ramifications. In other words, remaining scare resources, existing in such high economic value that it limits their consumption, is not to be confused with preservation that is functional and strategic. True preservation, which must be strategic, can only come from the direct management of the resource in question in regard to the most efficient applications of the resource in industry itself; not arbitrary, surface price relationships, absent of rational allocation.

Peter Joseph

The Aerospace Perspective

December 18, 2010 1 comment

As a Systems Engineer working in the space industry, specifically with the United States Space Shuttle Program, I approach the Venus Project from a unique perspective. I have decided to use this first article as a chance to introduce myself to you, so that when I post articles in the future, you have an idea about the man behind the writing. I’ll also include information on a technical project I’m personally working on that you might be interested in.

For all intents and purposes, I am a technology, space and astrophysics geek, formally educated in Aerospace Engineering Technology and soon to be pursuing an advanced degree in either astrophysics or systems engineering, depending on what happens for me after the Space Shuttle Program ends.

I recently published a book about how vital space exploration and development is to mankind, called Turning Point, where the book is my funding source to travel and do public speaking on the topic (and also the Venus Project where possible). If the subject interests you, my book can be found here and can be internationally shipped.

I’ve been on WebTV (Fox News), various web and standard radio shows, and have given several speeches on the subject to various groups. Additionally, I manage a blog where I discuss space advocacy, recent space news articles of importance, and my thoughts about how the Venus Project can positively affect not just the world, but our travels beyond it.

Some of you may be aware of the video I made called “Awakening”. If not, it can be found here on my Youtube Channel:

I have also made a few other videos, like “Population to Convince” and my lecture to the Houston Humanist group. “Our Technical Reality” is more in tune with showcasing the science and technology standpoint.

As you can see, I am passionate about the success of the Venus Project, and my scientific and technical background allows me to bring more data, facts and science to the table, which in combination with my ability to do public speaking will hopefully allow me to address and spread the vision of the Venus Project to many people. And while many of us in the movement run on emotion and passion, I do to, that does not always work for convincing people of the necessity of our vision. So I hope that with my technical background, I can help bring others to the point where they see this new direction as possible, real and vital.

It is my passion for space and what it can provide humanity that causes me to embrace the Venus Project as I do, for in my eyes it is the RBE that will catapult us from a species that mainly tinkers on the edge of our atmosphere into a serious space faring civilization, where the benefits can and do directly affect the people living on this glorious blue marble. The visions of the Venus Project would not be possible were it not for the advances in technology that are directly or indirectly attributable to space exploration, manned or robotic. It is the challenges of space that afford us the opportunity to think outside the box, or more specifically, off the Earth. Many of the challenges of space simply cannot be duplicated on Earth, and it is those challenges that drive innovation, like advanced recycling and reusability technologies, far more than any ludicrous notion that profit and money are the motivators.

For example, one of the biggest things we discuss is sustainability, not just of our energy systems, but of every product we make. Planned obsolesence, or at least the basic notion that products are made on the cheap so they fetch the most profit, is something that cannot go on, else our natural resources will be obliterated in just a few generations and humanity will suffer as a result. But let’s focus on something I am personally working on, an automated hydroponic farm facility.

This is a pretty straight forward concept and completely realistic in every manner. The sad part is that it’s just not being done. Instead of aid relief non-profits gathering money to buy food, thereby fattening the wallets of the food industry, they should be building sustainable food production systems for impoverished people so that we never have to worry about their food supply again! Alas, our current system doesn’t exactly want that, but we (The Venus Project) do, so this is something we should be trying to work on a global level. World hunger, solved by The Venus Project. I like the sound of that, not for selfish reasons, but because it’s the right thing to do, so why shouldn’t we be the ones doing it? So what would this system be made of?

  1. Solar/Wind hybrid powered facility with substantial battery systems such that any climate condition throughout the year would not reduce the energy level of the facility below tolerance operating conditions.
  2. Hermetically sealed building, with an atmosphere pressure and concentrations of Nitrogen and Oxygen set to the Paleozoic era, when plants thrived on the Earth as never before. It requires one to pass through a “clean room” before even being able to enter the growth facility, including wearing a “bunny suit” the likes of which is required for those who work in space industry clean rooms for satellites and space hardware.
  3. Use the Omega Garden system, which I’ve already researched to be the best system that takes up the smallest footprint, but also delivers the most robust and strongest yields without using one drop of “plant altering” chemicals or pesticides. It’s kind of difficult to have pests in a hermetically sealed building.
  4. Robotic planting and harvesting arms strategically placed in the facility.
  5. Delivery system: Basically a “Farmers Market” waist level train that brings the harvest to an adjacent building where the public can get the food right off the train carts. After a few days, whatever isn’t taken is returned and converted into mulch that can be used for outdoor facilities. Nothing is wasted.
  6. Externally facing monitors in the building showing the interior of the facility, because the facility itself has no windows. Cameras in the facility can show the public what’s going on inside, to satisfy curiousity more than anything else, but also good for public awareness. Also, monitors would show the harvest cycle, what’s coming up next and when.
  7. Each facility would grow 12 of the most healthy and popular vegetables, enough to feed 1,000 people per crop. After plenty of research, there is a good consensus on what those are: Spinach, Green Peas, Red Leaf Lettuce, Garlic, Onions, Carrots, Brocolli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Red Peppers and Green Peppers.

Currently I am researching cost and systems, as well as designing the informal blueprint of the facility in an Engineering CAD program. All of my information will be released as an official report for all chapters to access freely. You might have different companies, different prices for materials, and need a different design layout based on that, but the report will give you a great starting point.

I am not a know-it-all, but I do a vast amount of self study and research on the topics of science (including social sciences), space and technology (viable technology, not the latest video game or phone widget). I look forward to bringing this knowledge to the movement and to the project. Remember, you personally don’t have to convince the world. We are all working together, neighbor by neighbor, community by community. Those of us with the option of a larger platform should most definitely utilize it, but don’t let us detract you from the most vital aspect of any movement…your community is part of the world, get out in it and start talking!

Douglas Mallette
Space Shuttle Systems Engineer, Space Advocacy Speaker, Author: Turning Point
Houston, TX

A Resource-Based Economy

December 16, 2010 5 comments


A Resource-Based Economy – Jacque Fresco’s idea of a system where all goods and services are available without money, credits, barter or any other form of debt or servitude – is a paradigm shattering concept. The idea changes the focus of how society works on a fundamental level, causing a ripple of profound implications to permeate all of society. For many, removing the corruption of the monetary system is a logical step, which will manifest our innermost hopes and dreams, revealing a beautiful ideal world. Yet, much of the vision of a Resource-Based Economy is in the future. Obviously, the implications of adopting a new society mechanism will take some time to propagate. However, the underlying aspects of these thought processes are very much relevant to the present. The idea of a Resource-Based Economy is based on logic and grounds itself in reality. Looking to the essence of a problem, the simplest and most effective solution is arrived at. This is not some futuristic goal. It is simply a way of looking at problems from a reality-based perspective. A Resource-Based Economy is simply an extrapolation of solutions arrived at by thinking in this way. We can all do this now, today. Using the scientific method and in accordance with nature, we can develop solutions to our problems that will exhibit efficiency and thoughtfulness. Working with reality is a lot simpler and more effective than working within the constraints of an illusion such as symbolic resources or falsely perpetuated scarcity. In doing so, we reach many incredible conclusions.

Jacque Fresco’s designs are the result of looking at a problem from outside the efficiency-crippling, profit-obsessed, people-manipulating, environment-disregarding corruption of the monetary system. Efficiency, simplification, and thoughtfulness are natural by-products of this way of thinking, which result in further benefits such as innovation, kindness, and peace.

So you see, a Resource-Based Economy is not some far off, futuristic notion. It is a fundamental shift of our focus that results in profound benefits. The amazing visuals of the technological wonders of the Venus Project, and the dream of a world without corruption and pain, are what the Venus Project can be.

However, we can individually achieve the ideals of a Resource-Based Economy today, without wondering how to achieve the incredible world that Jacque has already portrayed for us. All we need to do is become our own proliferation of rationality – crafting simplicity, efficiency, and kindness.

Stuart Dobson

The Scientific Method Exposed!

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment


I never thought it would really happen to me! I know it sounds cliché, but… really… I didn’t! I had already come to the conclusion that the rate of crime is simply overblown in the mass media… however, probability decided to drop in and pay a visit. A simple reminder of the nature of life in general, and that sooner or later you’re going to experience something that is so deviated from your normal expectations of this world that you can do nothing else but sit back and watch how it affects you.

My day started particularly well, actually, when I walked out my door yesterday on one of the first, real spring days in Houston, Texas. The air has a distinct quality in it when the real change occurs between the seasons here, and the extra electric nature of new life is more palpable.

I strode to my car, unlocked it, got in, and while tossing my purse onto the passenger seat, I noticed a rectangular-shaped ‘thing’ on the floorboard. Having no frame of reference for such a ‘thing’ occurring there before, my mind failed to grasp a definition. I sat up in a state of confusion, and saw my middle dash looked odd as well. It didn’t click at first… I actually consciously observed the few seconds of time-lag. Up until now, 100% of the instances where I’d gotten in my car, I had observed the same interior surroundings. I was now dealing with a new exception to the rule that my mind had created, which was “Every time I enter my car, I see the same scene.” Having a different scene before my eyes was, well, quite an education.

The measurable time-lag experienced occurred because my observation did not immediately yield a known conclusion, thus the synapses in my brain searched my databanks and linked together some kind of correlation that yielded a brand new determination. My conclusion, after LITERALLY not recognizing what I was seeing, was “Oh, wow, my center air vents are ripped out, and my stereo is about an inch more forward than it usually is… someone must have tried to rip it out!” Someone tried to yank my car stereo. ‘Tried’ is the operative word here, because it was obviously amateur night at the Apollo.

I’ve learned over the past few years to not panic, thanks in part to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, loads of meditative practice, and self-inflection, so I was able to actually observe the event from a 3rd-party perspective instead of immediately entering a state of shock. What I learned from this experience is fascinating to me, and hence led to the basis for this article on exploring the realm of science as the methodology which humans inherently use to learn about the world around them and their place within it. Yes, this methodology is emergent indeed, as you will soon see.

In short, everyone uses the scientific method every day, all the time. This is simply the process by which we intake data through our 5 senses from our environment, create databanks in our brains, and then use whatever critical thinking skills we learn from other humans to process/link this data… and, of course, draw conclusions. So, everyone is a scientist! Yes, even those of you too cool for school, deal with it. Most people don’t consciously run through the steps of the scientific method to make decisions in their lives. However, the method is simply the description of this process which happens naturally and, after a certain point in our childhood development, instantly for everyone. Most simply put, your environment shapes who you are by providing the type of data you are exposed to and, it is very important to note, the processes by which you use to make decisions based on the data you’ve gathered. These processes for decision making are also learned from your interaction and observation of other people’s processes.

We emulate those around us as we learn; we take on their processes. You can see this when two children are playing together, they will most likely take on roles of pretend which emulate the adults in their lives. One will pretend to smoke a cigarette like her mother does and the other will pretend to speak as his father does. My political science professor in college once gave us a lesson on logical thinking. She told us several stories about her mother attempting to protect her from physical harm, her mom would tell her things like “Don’t touch the light socket! Rats will jump out of it and eat your eyeballs!!!” Of course, most likely no one has ever experienced this event, but in the attempt to control my professor’s behavior as a child, her mom had also unconsciously given her a lesson in logic. My professor shared with the class how it took her years to figure out how to think rationally and retrain herself to respond to certain situations without jumping to abject fear of the irrational or unknown. She ended this treatise by saying “Please, teach your kids logic, let them know the truth, because simply aiming to protect them will cause misery.” I’ll never forget that speech.

Another valid point is that if we don’t know why and how people do things differently elsewhere, our data set is somewhat limited, thus we do not have the opportunity to allow that data to enter into our decision-making process. Ignorance is not to our ultimate advantage in a world where it is swiftly becoming more evident that the globe is truly so interconnected on many levels, ecologically and otherwise.
When I introduced these concepts at the ZDAY 2010 event, an audience member stated with a surprised look, “Interesting way to look at it, I’ve never thought of it that way.” Indeed, I can say with some confidence that not one person goes about their day in every moment consciously using the scientific method. Can you imagine how that would go! “Now that I have stated the hypothesis as ‘I need a volume of 8 ounces of water to fulfill my biological conditions.’ to address the question of ‘Why do I feel thirsty?’, owning that my research into the subject produces vast sources of data as studies have already taken place regarding water as a key element in the functioning of biological organisms. Thus I will perform the experiment of drinking 8 ounces of water and will record the results of this experiment every 2 minutes to determine if my thirst does indeed subside as theorized…”

As you can see, consciously using this process in EVERY moment is not the most efficient way of using the method, hence, the emergent nature of the methodology itself. Every time you drink a glass of water, and you are not thirsty any longer, you reinforce this conclusion without ever having to consciously think about it. Wow – right?!?!
The steps themselves are simple really. Step one is “Ask A Question.” Umm, done and done. Isn’t this mostly what we do as humans anyway? Step two is “Gather Relevant Research.” Okay, this is the biggie as far as I’m concerned, the one that got away. People tend to skip or glaze over this one quite frequently, even within communities where the scientific method is known and revered. Ego alert: you don’t know it all just because you sat through a few classes! Step three is “Construct A Hypothesis.” Easy enough, because you have already researched your topic you should have plenty of different ideas how to answer your question. Pick the one with the most research behind it to start. Step four is “Test Your Hypothesis By Doing An Experiment”. Duh!!! How will you know if your proposed answer is right if you never test it out? And the closer to real world conditions the better; experiments don’t just happen in a laboratory, that’s actually the exception. Step five is “Analyze Your Data and Draw (a) Conclusion(s).” Okay, so you ran your test. Does the evidence say you could be right or wrong? And finally, step six is “Communicate Your Results.” Tell other people, even if your experiment proved your supposed answer was wrong. Give others the opportunity to test out your theory as well.
All experiments are important, because they either rule out or leave open possible answers to our questions! Thomas Edison himself said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” How could he have been such a prolific inventor if not for ruling out so many alternatives, and learning from his failed experiments? This is how the scientific method truly works.
Okay, so now you know the method! However, how do we know how true or real a conclusion is once we’ve reached one? How do we know we’ve analyzed the data using the best statistics and methods? How do we know we didn’t start out with a bias built into our experiment which skewed the results from the start? Is there a better way to test the hypothesis? How can we trust previous findings within researched reports and previously gathered data? These are questions that scientists deal with everyday, and these are equally valuable concerns when using the scientific method in our everyday lives.
Yes, I do mean VALUABLE concerns. These concerns can shed valuable insight on conclusions embraced by popular culture and the mainstream ideologies, but don’t get addressed frequently enough by most of us. These concerns are truly the crux of the matter since the method is only as good as it’s implementation. Faulty or limited data = faulty or limited conclusions. It’s that simple. If you think that the sky is blue because your dad told you that it’s a gigantic mirror reflecting the blue of the oceans, and you have never heard or attempted to find any information to the contrary – this will be your conclusion. It’s very poetic, it’s a nice story, but is it true?
So, we need to check our results over and over. Ask different questions about our results and probe them from different angles. We have to make sure what we know is reliable, and when used, the scientific method allows us to move in the direction of greater and greater certainty. How cool is that!
To end, I’ll simply state that I am certainly glad I had another experience that shook my perception up a bit. After shoving the air vents back into the dash, I found out my car stereo actually still works! So, there’s no real harm done as far as I’m concerned. I relish these out-of-the-ordinary occurrences now, because I learn so much and they allow me to expand my views more and more. Encompassing as full a spectrum of understanding as possible has always been one of my main goals in my life, and I hope that I have encouraged this within you. Experience life… and know that the more you do, the more your banks fill with varied data. And the more you know about processing that data, the truly better off we all are on this shared planet.

Karen E. Siragusa

Where are we now?

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Welcome the first official issue of The Zeitgeist Movement’s Newsletter. I would like take a moment to review the history of The Movement’s developments during the short period since its inception in late 2008.

As most reading this document already know, The Zeitgeist Movement is a sustainability advocacy organization which is fundamentally built upon/ inspired by the social ideas of Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project. It isn’t the scope of this article to run down the vast and rather complex tenets of The Movement. However, I would like to give a basic overview here. Please go to our website and review our free materials if any of the below is not familiar to you.

The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) seeks to transition into a new social system, called a “Resource-Based Economy” which seeks to base social organization on Resource Management and Preservation as the initial starting point of all relevant earthly decisions. In turn, we wish to see Science and Technology be used liberally for the greater social good, including the scientific reorientation of Labor, Production, Distribution and hence Industry at large. This can be done through a “Systems Theory” approach to a global technological management infrastructure. “Politics”, as we know it today, is considered outdated in the view of The Movement, for it is an institutional by- product of ancient folkways of human relations that pre-dates the advent of modern scientific understandings. Politics inherently prefers “opinion” to “fact”. In other words, Government today acts in accord with vested interests, not objective scientific reasoning. This is largely due to the nature of the monetary system and how it has evolved since its early conception.

TZM sees the Monetary System of Open/Free Market Competition as the fundamental cause of the majority of the social problems that exist in the world today, including War, Poverty, Crime, Personality Disorders, Pollution and Violence. While the Monetary/Market system has served an important evolutionary role historically, our organization no longer sees the merit in these ancient, provably unsustainable traditions. The unspoken reality of the Market system is based, in part upon two fundamental flaws.

  1. The assumption of infinite resources and hence a system driven by wasteful consumption rather than conservation
  2. The idea that employment (Labor for Income) for each human being is an empirical possibility, when the exponential increase of technology is systematically replacing human labor through mechanization, driven by the need for employers for reduce their cost basis in order to remain competitive in the marketplace.

For more details on this issue, please read “The Profit Problem” printed in this newsletter. In the end, not only does the current economic/production/distribution system pose inherent limitations on our ability to create an “abundance” for all the worlds people, it is leading us down a path towards social failure, foreshadowing a series of crises which are likely inevitable if the current model isn’t adjusted.

As of late June 2010, TZM website has been viewed by tens of millions of people; We have over 412,000 subscribed Members from nearly every country; Over 43,500 Forum Users on the Global Site; We have 46 official country (international) chapters and over 200 sub- chapters internationally. Our two previous annual event days (Zeitgeist Day), which occurred in Mid March have had sold out audiences across the world, with the prior event day having over 330 events in 70 countries (see zday2010.org). We have had international recognition in both the independent and mainstream media, including the New York Times in America.

Needless to say, we are progressing very well. Just recently we launched an aesthetically driven project which introduces socially conscious media in the community, called the Zeitgeist Media Project (zeitgeistmediaproject.com). Likewise, we have numerous other projects in the works, all geared towards bringing awareness to this new social direction. Let is be known that we are in a preliminary phase in the Movement and increasing awareness is the most important step. After this is done, physical projects and larger, more targets actions will be taken.

We feel the current problems of pollution, unemployment, depletion, crime, poverty, war and general social instability are likely to continue and grow given the nature of the system and what it reinforces. TZM sincerely hopes that we can begin a move out of our current model before it is too late and that is the central role. The first step then, is mass global awareness of an alternative. We hope you will join us, if you haven’t already.

Peter Joseph