Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Venus Project decouples from Zeitgeist

That's right folks, you heard it here last! Jacque Fresco and Roxanne Meadows have, somewhat hamfistedly, severed their affiliation with The Zeitgeist Movement.

My interest in both groups is qualified for many reasons, but perhaps the first of them is that in defining a system humanity has never tried, conviction is the last thing I can have. The term "resource-based economics" may have originated with Jacque Fresco, but that means very little, especially when the man's message is deeply rooted in systems theory, which tells us we are not creators or potent actors initiating The New with the power of our being, we react and respond, are shaped and influenced as we shape and influence in response. Resource-based economics is nothing more than the prioritizing of resources over money, an idea which has many ramifications and implications, but, being untried, needs to be openly discussed and tested in whatever are the most effective ways. I do not believe that process can be tightly controlled, especially not by a 95 year old man. Insistence on such control weakens you.

But there we are, it has happened. We are all only human and should not expect perfection from one another, nor be too surprised when we screw up or when plans don't work out as hoped. Shit happens. Interestingly enough though, in his latest radio address, Peter Joseph mentions working with ideas such as time banks and other monies that are necessary to move beyond the current impasse. It is refreshing to hear that. That was a point that always frustrated me. The Venus Project insists on a moneyless solution, talks often of transition, but does not define the money-design that stands a chance of placing humanity on a path that can prioritize resources over money. That was always a glaring failing. Without that defined all you have is an idea of a possible future and nothing more, no matter how many times transition is mentioned. Peter also mentions working with the Buckminster Fuller Institute and other bodies, and this can only be good. To unite as many people as possible behind an idea as contrary to the status quo as resource-based economics, you simply must work with others, which means mess and compromise. That The Venus Project are still alone cannot be a good sign.

I sincerely hope Peter and others in the movement look at MMT, at demurrage, guaranteed income, and anything else that might serve as stepping stones toward steady state growth, human and environmental concern, and away from our religious reliance on Hand, The Invisible. Diversity is the spice of life. Insistence on purity, whatever the hell purity really is, always ends badly. In the end it's not money itself that matters, it is our systemic relationship with money and money's association with wealth that does. It seems likely to me that a system which needs no money is possible, but not inevitable. There are too many variables. The means are the ends, the journey is the destination. If we, globally, as a species, can have some variant of agreement to demote money and promote wealth, over time and going forward, see the vital importance of staying supple so that we can adjust wisely to the changes that come at us unendingly, that would already be the seed of resource-based economics. And that task is mighty enough.