By Tim Hjersted
Nov 16, 2010
Started in late 2008, The Zeitgeist Movement exists as the communication and "Activist Arm" of an organization called The Venus Project. The Venus Project was started many decades ago by Social/Industrial Designer Jacque Fresco and his life's work has been to address and overcome the lack of sustainability existing currently across the world and to work to incorporate new methods and values before it is too late. The basic pursuit of The Movement is to begin a transition into a new, sustainable social design called a “Resource-Based Economy.” This term was first coined by Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project and refers to an economic structure based exclusively on strategic resource management as the starting point for all decisions.
In the view of The Movement, the world today has become very detached from the physical world, with techniques of production and distribution that have no relationship to the environment. Our use of a profit based, “growth” driven monetary system has become one of the greatest destroyers of the natural world, not to mention sustainable human values. It is important to understand that the entire global economy requires “cyclical consumption” to operate, which means that money must constantly be circulating. Thus, new goods and services must be constantly introduced regardless of the state of the environment and actual human necessity. This "perpetual" approach has a fatal flaw, for resources as we know it are simply not infinite. Resources are finite and the Earth is essentially a closed system.
The true goal of any economy is to preserve - or "economize" - this is not occurring and cannot occur in a monetary driven system where labor for income requires consumer demand. We actually live in a global "anti-economy" by all rational standards.
Also, the intents inherent within a monetary system are counter progressive and derive a strategic edge from scarcity. This means that depleted resources are actually a positive thing for industry in the short term, for more money can be made off each respective unit. This is known as the basic law of supply & demand and hence “value” in economics. This creates a perverse reinforcement to ignore environmental problems and the negative consequences of scarcity, for it literally translates into profit. There is little intrinsic motivation to "solve" any problem or to make things that last in the current model. It is much more beneficial for jobs and hence profit to "service" things- not resolve them.
In other words, the system requires problems/constant consumer interest in order to work. The more people who have cancer in America, the better the economy due to expensive medical treatments. Needless to say, this generates an inherent disregard for human well being. The monetary arrangement, whether in the form of capitalism, communism, socialism, fascism, free-market or the like, is utterly detached from natural resources and thus human well-being. It is erroneously assumed that the incentive to seek money is also the incentive to help society. Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, every single product created by a corporation today is immediately inferior by design, for the market requirement to cut creation costs in favor of lowering the output "purchase price" to maintain a competitive edge, automatically reduces the quality of any given item by default. In other words it is impossible to create the “strategically best”, long lasting anything in our society and this translates into, again, outrageous amounts of resource waste. This is entirely and provably unsustainable as a social system and the world you are beginning to see emerge around you, with growing starvation, poverty, unemployment; along with the growing scarcity of water, food and arable land, is the result.
Likewise, most occupations are not directly related to the actual necessities of life. Rather, they are artificial concoctions in order to keep people employed so they can acquire purchasing power to keep cyclical consumption going. The very reality that each human being is required to be put in a position of servitude to a corporation or client in order to gain income to purchase the necessities of life also perpetuates extreme, needless waste... however, this time, it is the waste of the human mind and human life. In the modern world, advancements in science and technology have shown that we can automate a great deal. In fact, statistically speaking, the more we have applied mechanization to labor, the more productive things have become. Therefore, it is not only negligent for us to waste our lives waiting tables, working at a bus station, fixing cars, or other repetitive, monotonous jobs, it is also entirely irresponsible for us not to apply modern mechanization techniques to all industries possible for, apart from strategic resource management, this is a powerful way to achieve balance and abundance for all the world's people, reducing crime generating imbalances.
In other words, it is time to update society to present day knowledge, taking the carrying capacity of the earth into account and realigning our methods based not on the reward of monetary gain..but the goal of social sustainability as a whole.
Even with our current, destructive methods, the Earth is still abundant with resources. Today our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter-productive to the well-being of people. Today’s society has access to highly advanced technologies and can easily provide more than enough for a very high standard of living for all the earth’s people. This is possible through the implementation of a Resource-Based Economy.
A Resource-Based Economy utilizes existing resources rather than money, and provides an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all natural, man-made, machine-made, and synthetic resources would be available without the use of money, credits, barter, or any other form of symbolic exchange. A Resource-Based Economy would utilize existing resources from the land and sea, and the means of production, such as physical equipment and industrial plants, to enhance the lives of the total population. In an economy based on resources, conservation and the most advanced methods of science and technology, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all. To do this, we have to overcome our current, outdated, establishment practices. This is the purpose of The Zeitgeist Movement- to create a global awareness to thus transition into a new, sustainable direction for humanity as a whole.
Orientation Guide PDF
“Where are we going?”
Part 1 & Part 2
“Where are we now?”