Economic Calculation in a Natural Law / RBE, Peter Joseph, The Zeitgeist Movement, Berlin

Economic Calculation in a Natural Law / RBE, Peter Joseph, The Zeitgeist Movement, Berlin

Hello, my name is Franky.
I work also with an organization called The Zeitgeist
Movement as you already know. I would like to
welcome everybody from far and wide; everybody did come.
Thank you very much. I would like to take this
opportunity to especially thank the teams of The
Zeitgeist Movement. Teams meaning the Linguistic Team,
the Web Team, the Technology Team, the Activism Team and also
the Project Team that coordinated this project. The whole German chapter
did a great job with establishing this
event within a month. I would like to thank
everybody personally. Good to see you here. I think Peter Joseph doesn’t
need any introduction. I think everybody
here knows who he is. So, short and
precise: thank you. I hand the microphone
over to Peter. [Sustained Applause] You can turn this mic off since
I’m not going to use it. Ah, so it’s the other mic. How’s everybody doing? [Audience in unison]
– Good! I really appreciate
you all being here. I want to thank Franky
and the Berlin team for moving so fast;
it’s really phenomenal. Having put on many events myself over
the years, it’s not an easy task. I’m always reminded when
I travel these days, that The Zeitgeist Movement is truly a
global phenomenon at this stage, right? No matter where any of
us end up on the planet, you don’t have to go very far to find
friends who share similar values in this pursuit of
a better world. The title of this talk
is “Economic Calculation in a Natural Law/Resource-Based
Economy (NLRBE).” For the past five years or so The Zeitgeist Movement has put out
quite a bit of educational media with respect to its advocation, and the learning curve
has been rather intense. There’s been a
tendency to generalize with respect to how things
actually work technically. This is the contents
of this presentation. In Part I and two
I’m going to refine the inherent flaws of the
current market model regarding why we need to change along with relaying
the vast prospects we now have to solve
vast problems, improve efficiency, and
generate a form of abundance that could meet all human needs. The active term which has gained
popularity in the last couple years is called “post-scarcity,” even though that word is a little
misleading semantically as I’ll explain. In Part III, I’ll work to
show how this new society generally works in its structure
and basic calculation. I think most people on the planet
know that there is something very wrong with the current
socioeconomic tradition. They just don’t know how to
think about the solution, or more accurately, how to
arrive at such solutions. Until that is addressed, we’re
not going to get very far. On that note, in a number of
months, a rather substantial text is going to be put into
circulation, available for free and also in print
form or download form at cost (it’s a
non-profit expression). This will be finished hopefully
by the first of the year and will be the definitive
expression (in the condensed form) of the Movement, something
that’s been long overdue. It’s called “The Zeitgeist Movement
Defined” and it will serve as both an orientation and
a reference guide. It will have probably over a
thousand footnotes and sources. Once finished, an educational
video series will be put out in about 20 parts to produce the
material along with a workbook to help people who want to learn how
to talk about these ideas because we basically need more people
on an international level to be able to communicate,
as I try to do. It’s a very important thing, and I
think the future of the Movement rests in part on our capacity
to create a well-oiled international educational machine
with consistent language coupled with real design projects
and their interworkings. Part I: Why are we even here? Is this type of
large-scale change- what the Movement
advocates- really needed? Can’t we just work to fix
and improve the current economic model, keeping the
general framework of money, trade, profit, power,
property and the like? The short answer is
a definitive “No,” as I’m going to explain. If there’s any real interest
to solve the growing public health and
environmental crises at hand this system needs to go. Market capitalism, no matter
how you wish to regulate it or not regulate it, depending
on who you speak with, contains severe structural flaws which will always, to
one degree or another, perpetuate environmental
abuse and destabilization, and human disregard and
caustic inequality. Put another way, environmental
and social imbalance and a basic lack of sustainability
both environmentally and culturally is inherent to the market economy,
and it always has been. The difference between capitalism
today and say, the 16th century is that our technological
ability to rapidly accelerate and amplify this market process has brought to the surface consequences
which simply couldn’t be understood or even recognized during
those early primitive times. In other words, the basic
principles of market economics have always been
intrinsically flawed. It has taken just this long for
the severity of those flaws to come to fruition.
Let me explain a little bit. From an environmental
standpoint, market perception simply
cannot view the Earth as anything but an inventory
for exploitation. Why? Because the entire
existence of the market economy has to do with keeping
money in circulation at a rate which can keep as many
people employed as possible. In other words, the world economy
is powered by constant consumption. If consumption levels drop,
so does labor demand, and so does the available purchasing
power of the general population and hence, so does demand for goods
as money isn’t there to buy them. This cyclical consumption
is the lifeblood of our economic existence. The very idea of being
conservative or truly efficient with the Earth’s finite
resources in any way is structurally
counterproductive to this needed driving
force of consuming. If you don’t believe
that, ask yourself why virtually every life support system
on this planet is in decline. We have an ongoing loss of topsoil,
ever-depleting fresh water, atmospheric and climate
destabilization, a loss of oxygen-producing
plankton in the ocean (which is critical to marine
and atmosphere ecology), the ongoing depletion
of fish populations, the reduction of rain
forests, and so forth. In other words, an overall general
loss of critical biodiversity is occurring and increasing. For those not familiar with the
critical relevance of biodiversity, billions of years of evolution has created a vastly interdependent
biosphere of planetary systems. Disturbing one system always
has an effect on many others. This, of course, is
no new observation. In 2002, 192 countries in
association with the United Nations got together around something called “The
Convention on Biological Diversity.” They made a public commitment to
significantly reduce this loss by 2010. And what changed eight years later?
Nothing. In their official 2010
publication, they state: “None of the 21 sub-targets
accompanying the overall target of significantly reducing the
rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 can be said definitively to
have been achieved globally.” “Actions to promote biodiversity
receive a tiny fraction of funding compared to infrastructure and
industrial developments.” (Hmm, I wonder why?) “Moreover, biodiversity
considerations are often ignored when such developments
are designed. Most future scenarios project
continuing high levels of extinctions and loss of habitats
throughout this century.” In a 2011 study published
which was in part a response to an general call to
isolate and protect certain regions to insure some security
of this biodiversity, found that, even with millions of
square kilometers of land and ocean currently under legal protection,
it has done very little to slow the trend of decline. They also made the following
highly troubling conclusion combining this trend with the state
of our resource consumption: “The excess use of the Earth’s
resources or overshoot is possible because resources can be harvested
faster than they can be replaced. The cumulative overshoot
from the mid-1980’s to 2002 resulted in an ‘ecological debt’ that would require 2.5
planet Earths to pay. In a business-as-usual scenario,
our demands on planet Earth could mount to the productivity
of 27 planets by 2050.” And there’s no shortage of other
corroborating studies that confirm, to one degree or another, we are
indeed greatly overshooting the annual production
capacity of the Earth, coupled with pollution and
collateral destruction caused by industrial
and consumer patterns. Again, this kind of research has
been published for many decades now. Why is it that with all
this mounting data we can’t seem to curb
life support depletion and our overshooting
consumption trends? Is it because there are too
many people on the planet? Is it because we’re just
utterly incompetent and have no conscious
control over our actions? No. The problem is that we have a global
economic tradition still in place rooted in 16th century pre-industrial
handicraft-oriented thought that places the
act of consuming, buying and selling as the core
driver of all social unfolding. The best analogy I can think of is
to consider the gas pedal on a car: the more consumption of
fuel, the faster it goes, and buying things in
our world is the fuel. If you slow down consumption,
economic growth slows, people lose jobs,
purchasing power declines and things become
destabilized and so forth. So I hope it is clear that the system
simply does not reward or even support environmental sustainability
in the form of conservation. In fact, it doesn’t even reward
sustainability in the form of any kind of earthly
or physical efficiency as I will talk more at
length of in a moment. Instead, it rewards servicing,
turnover and waste: the more problems and
inefficiencies we have, not to mention the more
insecure, materialistic and needy the population becomes,
the better it is for industry, the better it is for GDP, the
better it is for employment, regardless of the fact
that we may literally be killing ourselves
in the process. My friend John McMurtry, a philosopher
in Canada, refers to this state as the “Cancer Stage
of Capitalism,” a system which is now destroying
its host, us and the Earth, almost unknowingly because very
few today really understand how unsustainable the core driving
principles of the market really are. The second structurally inherent
consequence I want to mention is the fact that market
capitalism is indeed empirically socially
destabilizing. It creates unnecessary
and inhumane inequality, along with resulting
unnecessary human conflict. In fact, I would say
capitalism’s most natural state is conflict and imbalance. I would categorize two forms
of conflict in the world: national and class. I’m not going to spend much time
on the causes of national warfare as it should be fairly obvious
to most of us at his point. Sovereign nations which are in
part protectionist institutions for the most powerful forces
of business have often engaged in the most primal act of
competition- systematic mass murder- in order to preserve the economic
integrity of their national economies and select business interests
which invariably comprise the political constituency
of any given country. All wars in history, while often
conveniently masked by various excuses, have predominately been about
land, natural resources, or geoeconomic strategy
on one level or another. The state institution
has always been driven by commercial and property interests,
existing as both a regulator of the basic day-to-day
internal economic operations in the form of legislation and as
a tool for power consolidation and competitive advantage by
the most dominant industries of the national or even, in fact
more importantly, global economy. There are many people in the world that
still look at this causality in reverse. In some economic views, state government
is deemed the central problem, as opposed to the self-interest and
competitive, advantage-seeking ethos inherent to market capitalism. As the argument goes “If state power
was removed or reduced dramatically, the market and society would be free
of most of its negative effects.” The problem with this
argument is that it forgets that capitalism is just a
variation of a scarcity-driven specialization and
property-based exchange system, a system which actually goes back
millennia in one form or another. Early settlements naturally needed
to protect themselves as resource and land acquisition
moved forward over time. Armies were created to protect resources
from invading forces and the like. At the same time people
were working to engage agriculture and handicraft, and it revealed labor and exchange
value in a very primitive form. Hence property value, in the
midst of this scarcity, demanded regulation and laws, not only to protect property,
but to protect commerce and also avoid scams and
fraud in transactions. This is the seed of the state! The market is a game
and people can cheat. You need regulation. This is the basic problem. The market also allows-
and here’s the punchline- that regulation to be
purchased by money. Therefore, there is no
guaranteed integrity. The state and the market
both battle each other and compliment each other. You will always have regulatory
power centers in a market economy. The state and the
market are inseparable; they go hand-in-hand. Now, as an aside, people
often challenge this reality with moral or ethical arguments, which, I’m sorry to say, are
entirely culturally subjective. In a world where
everything is for sale, where the reward reinforcement,
the operant condition, is directly tied to seeking
personal advantage and gain, who is to say where the lines
should be drawn in that process? This is why moral principles
without structural reinforcement are useless. In the end, the question isn’t what
is morally right or morally wrong. The question is what
works and what doesn’t. And sometimes it takes
a great deal of time for the truth of such
patterns to materialize. For example, most
people, rightly so, see abject human slavery historically
as a morally wrong condition, but let’s dig deeper into the
characteristics and think more deeply. I think it is much more productive to
recognize that slavery didn’t work in the sense that it was
culturally unsustainable. Bigotry in all forms
is not just ugly, it is culturally unsustainable
because it generates conflict. I’m not aware of any
slave-owning society that did not undergo
large slave rebellions. It’s unstable and again,
therefore, unsustainable. Market capitalism is
on the same path. There are more slaves
in the world today, operating within the bounds
of the market economy, than anytime in human history. And I have little doubt that if we get
through this rough period of time without destroying
ourselves by war, uprisings or
ecological collapse, people in the future will look back at
our world today with the same disgust regarding our human-rights-violating
economic system as we today look back upon the
period of abject human slavery. Class Warfare. This leads as well into the
subject of class warfare and socioeconomic inequality. The long history of so-called “socialist”
outcry has largely been about this constant and inhumane
imbalance on one level or another. A great deal of time has been spent
by many critics of capitalism, describing how it is indeed
a system of exploitation, which inherently separates a society
into stratified economic layers with a higher class given dominance
over the lower, structurally. It’s structurally
built right in. If you’re one of those people that
doesn’t agree with this reality, ask yourself why there has been
one labor strike after another in the past 300 years, why worker
unions even exist, why CEOs often tend to make hundreds of times
more money than the common worker, or why 46% of the world’s
wealth is now owned by 1%, which are almost exclusively
of what we could call the capitalist ownership class. Inequality and class separation
is a direct mathematical result of the market’s inherently
competitive orientation, which divides individuals
in small groups as they work to compete against each
other for survival and security. It is entirely
individualistically oriented, driven by a core incentive system based
around isolated self-preservation, assuming the need to constantly
reinforce one’s security financially since the market climate (the environment)
gives no certainty whatsoever of well-being in and of
itself: fear and greed. The rich get richer because
the model favors them, and the poor basically
stay the same because the system works
against them by comparison. It is structurally classed. Those with more money have more options
and influence than those with less. You are only as
free, as they say, as your purchasing power
will allow you to be. The credit system is
a perfect example. Money is treated as nothing
more than a product in the credit/banking system. Money is sold by banks
via loans for profit which comes in the
form of interest. If you miss payments or
violate your contract, often the interest rate, does what?
It goes up because you are now considered
a higher risk consumer. If you fail to meet that
interest or future payments, you might default on the loan. Your punishment is the ruining of
your credit rating or reputation in the financial circles. Once that happens, your financial
flexibility is even more stifled as your economic
access is limited. People see this as just
“the way things are” but they don’t realize
how insidious this is. This pounds the lower
classes to stay low for reasons and forces of coercion
that are built into the structure that are beyond their control!
I could give many other examples. Everything in this system works
against you if you’re not affluent in this society. And guess what? These financial policies
were created by … self-interest-oriented
market logic, not some politician
or some government. I won’t even go into the fact
that the interest charged for the sale of money today doesn’t
even exist in the money supply itself, which creates a kind of
system-based social coercion forcing in the inevitability
of credit default over time, along with acts of economic
desperation such as selling property you rather would
not, to meet your basic needs or taking labor positions
that you do not appreciate. The market generates desperation
as its method of coercion. This leads into another very
common “free market” confusion I often see in the very popular
laissez-faire community. They talk about free trade as
trade that is entirely voluntary as though such a thing could ever
exist in an empirical sense. All decisions to trade come
from influences and pressures. Only perhaps the super rich,
who literally have no need to worry about basic
survival due to their wealth could possibly be said to engage in
the act of voluntary free trade. For 99% of the world, we either
trade or we don’t survive, and that pressure is
empirically coercive. And no, it doesn’t
have to be that way, which is the whole point
of this new social model. So with all that aside, and
with this understanding that wealth inequality is
inherent to capitalism itself – you can’t regulate it out – the main issue I want to address
here has to do with what class separation and social
inequality does to us in the context of public health. It isn’t just a simple issue of
some having more than others, and others suffering the
mere material inconvenience, or pressure to engage in labor or
trade they’d rather not have to. It goes way beyond that. Socioeconomic
inequality is a poison, a form of destabilizing
pollution that affects people’s psychological and
physiological health in profound ways, while also very often accumulating
anger towards other groups, and hence, that generation
of social instability. The best term I know of that embodies
this issue is “structural violence.” If I put a gun to
someone’s head, say a 30-year-old healthy male,
pull the trigger and kill him, assuming an average life
expectancy of say 84, you can argue that
possibly 54 years of life was stolen from that person
in a direct act of violence. However, if a person
is born into poverty in the midst of an
abundant society where it is statistically proven
that it would hurt no one to facilitate meeting the
basic needs of that person, and yet they die at the age
of 30 due to heart disease which has been found to statistically
relate to those who endure the stress and effects of
low socioeconomic status – is that death, the removal of those
54 years again, an act of violence? The answer is “yes, it is.” Our legal system has
conditioned us to think that violence is a
direct behavioral act. The truth is that
violence is a process, not an act, and it
can take many forms. You cannot separate any outcome from
the system by which it is oriented. This is virtually absent
from the way people think about cause-and-effect in
a socioeconomic system. The effects of market
capitalism cannot be reduced- or I should say cannot
be deduced- logically from local or
reductionist examination. [It’s] like things are
working like a clock: the market is a synergistic system,
the economy is a synergistic system, and the behavior of the whole, meaning
large-scale social consequences such as the perpetuation
of inequality or violence, can only be assessed in
relationship to that whole. This is why there has been
one big dichotomy between what market theorists think is
supposed to happen in their world and what is actually happening. For example, there is no doubt
that poverty and social inequity is and has been causing a vast
spectrum of public health problems, both in the context of absolute
deprivation, which means not having the money to simply meet up with
basic needs such as nutrition, and in the context of
relative deprivation, which is a psychological
phenomenon related to the stress- the psychosocial stress-
of simply living in a highly-stratified society. One of the greatest predictors
of reduced public health is now to be found
as social inequity, social inequality. If you compare developed nations
by the level of wealth inequality you will find that those more equal
nations have much better health than those with less equality. This includes physical
health, mental health, drug abuse, educational levels,
imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust or social
capital, community life, violence, teen pregnancies, and child
well-being on average. These outcomes are
significantly worse in more unequal rich countries. Yet, if you tried to reduce
and analyze a single person for any of these noted
public health factors, you could never know for sure if
that person is actually a victim of the psycho-stress or the absolute
or relative violence condition itself. The causality can
only be understood on the large scale,
probabilistically, which is the importance
of statistical analysis. So again, the market
can only be perceived as a whole to gauge the
truth of its effects. This is why our legal system
is so base and primitive. That aside, I would like to detail a few
more examples of structural violence, as it obviously takes
many more forms. When we see 1.5 million children die
each year from diarrheal diseases- an utterly preventable
problem that isn’t resolved due to a financial
limitation across the world, we are seeing the murder of 1.5
[million] children by a system that is so inefficient in
its process it cannot make the proper resources available
in certain regions, even though that they are there. Drug addiction, which
has become a plague of modern society across the
world, not only causing death, but also a spectrum of suffering, has
been found to have roots in stress. It has to do with a lack
of support which creates a psychological chain
reaction that leads to fill your feelings of pain
with self-medication. You will rarely find a study
on addiction patterns that does not see a
direct correlation to unstable life
conditions and stress. What is perhaps poverty’s most
dominant psychological feature? Feelings of insecurity
and humility. Even the vast majority of
behavioral violence as we know it arises due to preconditions
which have been tied to poverty-induced
deprivation and abuse. Former head of the Study of Violence
at Harvard, Dr. James Gilligan, was a prison psychiatrist
for many decades analyzing the reasons for extreme
acts of murder and the like. In virtually all cases, high levels
of deprivation, neglect, and abuse occurred in the life history of the offenders.
And guess what? Poverty is the single
best predictor of child abuse and neglect. In a US study, children
who lived in families with an annual income
less than $15,000 are 22 times more likely
to be abused or neglected than children living in families with
an annual income of $30,000 or more. Aristotle said “Poverty is the
parent of revolution and crime.” Gandhi said “Poverty in the
worst form of violence.” The interesting thing
about all this is is that we are all possible
victims of its effects, for every time you hear
about an act of theft, violence, murder, or the like, chances are the origins of
that behavior were born out of a preventable
form of deprivation. I say preventable because today there is absolutely no technical
reason for any human being to live in poverty and
resource deprivation. Solving social inequality is
not just a nice thing to do, it is a true public
health imperative. Just like making sure our
water isn’t polluted, so we don’t get diseases. And each of us have no idea when
we might be subjected to say, the violence bred by
this deprivation. It’s a form of blowback. Just like how some social
theorists think about the reasons for modern terrorism
from abused countries. A country like the United
States bombs some town; the people in that town lose everything.
Certain people are deeply affected and find no other
emotional recourse but to act in the most violent
way that can in revenge. The next thing you know, a bomb
explodes at a coffee shop in your city, killing your sibling. In short, if you want to produce a
violent criminal or gang mentality, let them be raised in an environment
where they are reinforced with the sense that society
doesn’t care about them. And hence they have no need
to care about society. This is the trademark, this is the core characteristic, of the capitalist social order. As a final aside before I move on,
I find it incredibly interesting that the vast majority of the
civil rights institutions today, or human rights
institutions today, which still demand more race, gender,
creed and political equality, tend to do very little to address
the roots of economic inequality. It’s a very interesting contradiction.
I’m firmly convinced that as time moves forward,
economic equality will morph into the same role as
gender and race equality, where meeting human needs and
facilitating a high standard of living will be an issue of human
rights, not market expedience, and the social Darwinism
to which it is based. Part II: Post-Scarcity. I would like to spend
a moment clarifying what an “Abundance Focused
Society” actually means and give some tangible,
statistical extrapolations to confirm this potential. A Natural Law/Resource-Based
Economy is not a utopia. The Zeitgeist Movement seeks a high,
relative, sustainable abundance relieving the most relevant
forms of scarcity. Many who hear such distinctions
immediately dismiss such qualifications
as mere opinion. The fact is, it’s not opinion
when it comes to life support or empirical human needs. Relative sustainable abundance means seeking more than enough to
meet all human needs and beyond while keeping
ecological balance. The most relevant forms of
scarcity means we differentiate between scarcity as it
relates to human needs and scarcity as it
relates to human wants, as they are not the same. Unfortunately, market logic
pretends that they are. The market cannot separate
needs from wants. And this gets to the root of the
life-blind, value-system disorder which continues to
distort our culture. The logic goes like
this: If there exists any form of scarcity of
anything on any level, then we need money and the
competitive market to regulate it. Let me explain this
a little bit more. One of our international lecture
team members, Matt Berkowitz, did a radio interview with a very popular
Austrian economist a little while back, and when the subject of scarcity came
up this economist responded with “Not everyone can have a
fancy steak or a Ferrari!” This was his definitive view
of what scarcity means. Now that may be true.
Not every human being can have a 500-room mansion with
three jets parked in the front lawn, with half the continent of
Africa as his or her back yard. In theory, we could
conjure up anything and use such luxury-based
scarcity defenses to support the existence
of the competitive market. So what are human needs?
Are they subjective? Human needs have been created by the process of our physical
and psychological evolution. Not meeting these virtually empirical
needs results, as noted before, in a statistically predictable
destabilizing spectrum of physical, mental
and social disorders. Human wants, on the other hand,
are cultural manifestations which have undergone enormous subjective
change over the course of time, revealing in truth something
of an arbitrary nature. This isn’t to say neurotic
attachments can’t be made to wants, so much so that they start
to take the role of needs. That’s a phenomenon that occurs readily
in our materialistic society, in fact. This is exactly why the previously
noted wealth-imbalance issues, namely the
psychosocial-stress response resulting from social
comparison, is what it is. It’s a part of our evolutionary
psychology in many ways. But this is partly why more
unequal societies also are the more unhealthy societies,
because we perpetuate it. The Zeitgeist Movement is not promoting
an infinite universal abundance of all things, which is clearly
impossible on a finite planet. Rather, it promotes a “post-scarcity'”
or “abundance” worldview, with an active recognition of the
natural limits of consumption on the planet while
seeking equilibrium. And what separates the world
today from the world of the past is that our scientific and
technological capacity has reached an accelerating
point of efficiency where creating a high standard of
living for all the world’s people based on current cultural
preferences, in fact, is now possible within these
sustainable boundaries without the destructive need to
compete through the market mechanism. This is made by what has been
called “ephemeralization,” a term coined by engineer R.
Buckminster Fuller, and the recognition
is very simple. The amount of resources and energy
needed to achieve any given task has constantly
decreased over time, while the efficiency of that task
has increased, paradoxically. An example is wireless
satellite communication which uses exponentially
less materials than traditional
large-gauge copper wire and is more versatile
and effective. In other words, we are doing
more with less continually, and this trend can be noticed in all
areas of industrial development from computer processing
or Moore’s Law to the rapid acceleration of human
knowledge or information technology. And it isn’t just
physical goods. It also applies to
processes or systems. For example, the labor system,
via automation today, shows the exact same pattern. Industry has become more
productive with less people, ever-increasing
machine performance, with ever-decreasing energy and
material needs over time per operation. As a brief tangent,
some might have noticed I keep saying this phrase “High Standard of Living.
” What does that mean? Who is to say what a high
standard of living should be? The answer to that question
is not “who,” it is “what.” And “what” determines
our standard of living is the current state of
technology in many ways, and what is required to keep social and environmental
sustainability on a finite planet. That’s basically the equation. If we as a society wish to keep the
value of constant materialism, growth, and consumption, promoting
the virtue of having infinite wants then we might as well just
kill ourselves right now, as that is going to be the end
result if we continue to push past the limits of the physical world with
respect to our resource exploitation and the loss of biodiversity. So I want to make it very clear:
this new economic proposal isn’t just about seeing how the
market is obsolete per se, given our new powerful awarenesses
of technical efficiency; it is also about the
fact that we need to get out of the market
paradigm as fast as we can before it causes
even more damage. OK, Post-Scarcity. The four categories I want to
cover in detail regarding this are food, water, energy,
and material goods. Please note that for
food, energy, and water this is actually a very
conservative assessment, using statistics and
measures based only on existing methods that have
been put into industrial use, not theoretical things that
people talk about all the time. And all I’m going to
do is scale this out, applying a systems
theory context. Food. According to the United Nations, one
out of every eight people on Earth- nearly one billion people- suffer
from chronic undernourishment. Yet it is admitted that there
is enough food produced today by traditional market
methods alone, to provide everyone in the world with
at least 2,720 kilocalories per day which is more then enough to
maintain basic health for most. Therefore, just in
principle right now, the existence of such a large-scale
number of chronically hungry people reveals at a minimum that there
is something fundamentally wrong with the global industrial
and economic process. According to the Institution
of Mechanical Engineers, “It is estimated that
30-50% of all food produced never reaches a human stomach and this figure does not reflect
the fact that large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers,
and water have also been lost in the production of foodstuffs
which simply end up as waste.” While there is certainly an
imperative to consider the relevance of these waste patterns, it
appears that the most effective and practical means to overcome
this global deficiency entirely is to update the system
of food production itself with the most strategic
localization in order to reduce the waste
caused by inefficiencies in the current
global supply chain. Perhaps the most promising of these
arrangements is something called vertical farming which I
assume many are familiar with. Vertical farming has been put
to test in a number of regions with extremely promising results
regarding efficiency and conservation. This method of abundant food
production will not only use less resources per unit
output, causing less waste, have a reduced
ecological footprint, increase food quality
and the like, it will also use less
surface of the planet, uses less land area
than we’re doing today. It can even be done offshore-
it’s that versatile- enabling types of food as well,
that certain climates and regions simply couldn’t produce
because it’s enclosed. A vertical farm system in
Singapore, for example, custom built, a
transparent enclosure, uses a closed loop
automated hydraulic system to rotate the crops in
circles between sunlight and organic nutrient treatment, costing only about $3 a month in
electricity for each enclosure. This system also has
reported to have 10 times more productivity per square
foot than conventional farming, again, using much less water,
labor, and fertilizer. Students at Columbia
University in the US determined that in order to feed
50,000 people, a 30-story farm built on the size of a basic
city block would be needed, which is about 6.4 acres. If we extrapolate this in the context
of the city of Los Angeles, California (where I’m coming from) with a
population of about 4 million, with a total acreage
of about 318,000 it would take roughly 78
structures to feed all residents. This amounts to about 0.1% of the
total land area of Los Angeles, to feed the entire population. If we apply this
extrapolation to the Earth and the human population of 7.2
billion, we end up needing about 144,000 vertical farms
to feed the whole world. This amounts to about 921,000 acres
of land to place these farms which, given about 38%
of the Earth’s land is currently being used for
traditional agriculture, we find that we only
need about 0.006% of the Earth’s existing
agricultural land to meet production requirements. Let’s be a little bit
more consistent. Within that 38% land-use
statistic for agriculture, much of that land is also used
for livestock cultivation, not just crop cultivation. So, if we were to
theoretically take only the crop production
land currently being used, which is about 4 billion acres,
replacing land-based cultivation by dropping these 30-story vertical
farms side-by-side in theory, the food output would be enough to
meet the nutritional needs to feed 34.4 trillion people. Given that we only need to
feed about 9 billion by 2050, we only need to harness about 0.02%
of this theoretical capacity, which it could be argued, makes rather moot
any seemingly practical objections common to the aforementioned
extrapolation. In short, we have absolute
global food abundance potential. Water. According to the World Health
Organization about 2.6 billion people- half of the developing world-
lack proper sanitation and about 1.1 billion
people have no access to any type of clean
drinking sources. Due to ongoing
depletion, by 2025, it is estimated that
almost 2 billion people will live in areas plagued
by water scarcity with 2/3 of the entire
world population living in water-stressed areas. The cause?
Obviously waste and pollution. But I’m not going
to talk about that- the details, causes and prevention;
that’s not the point of this. Rather, let’s take again, a
technological capacity approach only, considering modern purification
and modern desalination systems on the macro-industrial scale. Purification. The average person today globally
uses about 1,385m³ of water per year. This factors in all industrial
activity as well, such as agriculture. For the sake of argument, let’s
consider what it would take to purify all the fresh water currently being
used in the world on average annually. Given the global
average of 1,385m³ and a population of 7.2 billion, we arrive at a total annual
use of about 10 trillion m³. Using a New York State USA
UV-disinfection plant as a base measure, which has an output capacity of roughly
3 billion cubic meters a year, taking up about 3.7
acres of land, we would need 3,327 plants to purify all the water used by
the entire global population, taking up about
12,000 acres of land. Needless to say, there are many
other factors that come into play, such as power needs, location, and the like.
That’s fair enough. However, this is a
minor inconvenience. 12,000 acres is
nothing compared to the 36 billion acres of
land on the planet Earth. To give this a more practical
example, the US military alone has about 845,000
military bases and buildings, I
should say, as well. This has been reported to take up about
30 million acres of land globally. Only 0.04% of that
land would be needed to disinfect the total fresh
water use of the entire world if that were even needed,
which of course it is not. Desalination. Let’s run the same theoretical
extrapolation on desalination. The most common method of desalination
used today is called reverse osmosis, and according the International
Desalination Association, it accounts for 60% of the
installed capacity globally. There are a lot of other methods
that are emerging quite rapidly with high levels of efficiency [which]
can move water much more quickly. But I’m not going to talk about that.
I want to stay only within the common
methods applied today. But keep in mind that
everything I’m speaking of has dramatic improvements
coming very soon. There’s an advanced
reversed osmosis seawater desalinization
plant in Australia that can produce about 150
million m³ of fresh water a year while occupying about 50 acres. Given the total annual water
use of the world today, – it’s about 10 trillion
cubic meters again – it would take about
60,000 plants to produce current global water
usage in total. Using the dimensions of that
plant, which is quite large, such a feat would take about
18,000 miles of coast land, or about 8.5% of the
world’s coast land. Obviously, that’s not really ideal,
that’s a lot of coast land, but this exercise is
about proportion. Clearly, we do not need to
desalinate all water used, nor would we bypass the use
of purification processes or ignore the vast reforms needed to
preserve efficiency and fresh water or, equally as important, the reuse
schemes that are coming to fruition where buildings are able to
use water in multiple ways by recycling water that comes
from a sink into toilets, and other mechanisms that unfortunately
go unused for the vast majority. Let’s do a slightly more practical
real life extrapolation, combining only purification
and desalination with actual regional
scarcity statistics. On the continent of Africa,
roughly 345 million people lack access to freshwater. If we apply the noted global
average consumption rate again of 1,385m³ a year, seeking to provide each of those
345 million people that amount, we would need about 480 billion
cubic meters produced annually. If we divided this number in half
and use purification systems for one section and
desalination for the other, the desalination process
would need about 1.9% or 494 miles of coastline for
desalination facilities, and only about 296 acres of land
for purification facilities, which is a minuscule fraction
of Africa’s total land mass of about 7 billion acres. So, this is highly doable
even in this crude example. In all cases, we would strategically
maximize purification processes since it is clearly
more efficient while using desalination
for the remaining demand. In short, it’s absurd for
anyone on this planet to be going without freshwater,
not to mention, as an aside, 70% of all freshwater used today is used in agriculture in our grossly
wasteful agricultural methods. 70%! If we, for example, apply
again vertical farm systems which have been noted to reduce water
by upwards of 80% in comparison, we would see an
enormous freeing up of this unnecessarily
scarce resource as well. Moving on to Energy. We live in one massive perpetual
motion machine known as the Universe. The fact that we still use polluting
fossil fuel stores in the Earth or the incredibly unstable
nuclear phenomenon which gives very little
room for human fallibility is truly frightening. There are four main
large capacity “base-load,” as they would
say, renewable energy means which are currently most ideal as per our current state of
technological application. These are geothermal
plants, wind farms, solar fields, and
water-based power. Due to time I’m not going to
explain what these mediums are as I assume most know.
I’m just going to run through the abundance comparison. Geothermal. A 2006 MIT report on
geothermal found that 13,000 zettajoules of power are
currently available in the Earth with the possibility of 2000
zettajoules being harvestable with improved technology. The total energy consumption of
all the countries on the planet is only about half a
zettajoule a year. This means literally thousands
of years of planetary power could be harnessed in
this medium alone. Geothermal energy also uses much
less land than other energy sources. Over 30 years, a period of
time commonly used to compare the life cycle impacts from
different power sources, it was found that a
geothermal facility uses 404 m² of land
per gigawatt hour while a coal facility uses 3,632 m² per gigawatt hour. If we were to do a basic
comparison of geothermal to coal given this ratio of m² to GWh we find that we could fit
about 9 geothermal plants in the space of one coal plant. And that isn’t accounting
for the vast amount of land that is currently used
for coal extraction- you know, those huge holes
that we see in the earth. By the way, the beauty of
geothermal, and in fact, all of the renewables I’m going
to speak of, is that extraction or the harnessing location is
almost always the exact same place as processing for the power
distribution as well. All hydrocarbon sources on the
other hand require both extraction and power production facilities
almost always in separate locations, sometimes refineries as well,
in separate locations. In 2013, it was announced that
a 1,000 megawatt power station was to begin construction
in Ethiopia. We’re going to use this as a base,
theoretical for extrapolation. If a 1000-megawatt geothermal power
station operated at full capacity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it would produce 8.7
million MWh a year. The world’s current annual
energy usage is about 153 billion MWh a year, which would
mean it would take in abstraction about 17,000 geothermal
plants to match global use. There are over 2,300 coal power
plants in operation worldwide today. Using the aforementioned
plant-sized capacity comparison of about nine geothermal plants
fitting into one coal plant, the space of 1,940 coal plants
would be needed in theory to contain the 17,000
geothermal plants or 84% of the total
in existence. Also, given that coal
accounts for only 41% of today’s current
energy production, this theoretical
extrapolation also shows how in 84% of the current
space used by coal plants, geothermal could supply 100%
of total global power supply. Wind Farms. It’s been calculated that today
with existing turbine technology, which is improving rapidly,
that Earth could produce hundreds of trillions of watts
of power, many more times than what the world
consumes, overall. However, breaking this
down, using the 9,000 acre Alta Wind Center in California
as a theoretical basis, which has an active capacity
of 1,320 MW of power, a theoretical annual output of
11 million MWh is possible. This means 13,000 9,000-acre wind farms
would be needed to meet total global demand
of 153 billion MWh. This requires about 119
million acres of land or 0.3% of the Earth’s surface to power the world
in abstraction. However as some may
know, offshore wind is typically much more
powerful than land-based. According to the Assessment of Offshore Wind Energy Resources
for the United States, a report: 4,150 gigawatts of potential
wind turbine technology- turbine capacity- from
offshore wind resources are available in the
United States alone. Assuming this power capacity was
consistent for a whole year, we end up with an energy conversion
of 36 billion MWh a year. Given the United States in 2010 used 25.7 billion MWh, we find that offshore
wind harvesting alone could exceed the national use by about 10.6
billion MWh or 41%. And axiomatically,
extrapolating this national level of capacity to the rest
of the world’s coast lines, also taking into account the
aforementioned land-based statistics, it is clear that we can power
the world many, many times over with wind, and
quite practically. Solar Fields. If humanity could capture 0.1% of the
solar energy striking the Earth, we would have access to
six times as much energy we consume in all forms today. The ability to harness this
power depends on technology and how high the percentage
of radiation conversion is. The Ivanpah Solar Electric
System in California: it’s a 3,500-acre field with an annual stated generation
of about one million MWh. If we were to extrapolate using
this as a theoretical basis, it would take about 142,000 fields
or about 500 million acres of land to theoretically meet
current global energy use. That’s about 1.5% of
total land on Earth. Deserts cover about 1/3 of the
world or about 12 billion acres, and they tend to be fairly
conducive to solar fields, while often less conducive
to life support for people. Given the roughly
500 million acres theoretically needed to
power the world as noted, only 4.1% of the world’s
deserts would be needed to contain these fields, land that pretty much just
otherwise sits there. Water-Based Power. There are five dominant types of
water-based power: wave, tidal, ocean current, osmotic, ocean thermal, and water course. Overall, the technology for
harnessing ocean in general is in its infancy, but
the potential is vast. And based on
traditional estimates here is what the accepted
global potentials have been estimated at
using existing methods; we’re not applying advanced technology
that’s not in application yet. This all figures up to be
about 150,000 TWh/year or 96% of current global use of the half of a zettajoule, pretty much enough to power the world
in one medium alone if applied. However to give a sense of
growing technological potential (because I think this is important
considering how technology and water-oriented power
is deeply in its infancy) recent developments in ‘ocean
current’ harnessing technology (the currents that go
underneath the ocean) which can embrace much lower
speeds now than they used to, it has estimated that ocean
current alone could now theoretically power the entire
world if applied correctly. So, let’s recap. Wind, solar, water and
geothermal have shown, as large scale, base-load
renewable energy mediums, that they are capable, individually,
of meeting or vastly exceeding current annual global energy
consumption at this time. And obviously a systems approach,
harmonizing an optimized fraction of each of those renewables
strategically is the key to achieving a global,
total energy abundance. For example, it’s not
inconceivable to imagine a series of man-made
floating islands off select coastlines which are
designed to harness, at once, wind, solar, thermal difference,
wave, tidal and currents, all at the same time and
in the same general area. Such energy islands would then
pipe their harvest back to land for storage and distribution. It is only up to our design ingenuity
to figure things like this out. Localization and Reuse. The final energy factor
I want to mention, which builds upon this
systems-thinking explicitly, has to do with localization
and re-use schemes. Localized energy harnessing
isn’t given a fraction of the attention it needs today. Smaller scale renewable methods
which are conducive to single structures or small areas find the same systems logic,
regarding combination. These local systems could also, if
need be, connect back into the larger base-load systems, creating a total,
mixed medium, integrated network which happens sometimes
today with solar. There are many localized systems
out there which can draw energy from the immediate environment:
there’s solar power arrays, there’s small wind
harvesting systems, localized geothermal
heating and cooling and even architectural design
that just simply makes natural light and heat/cool
preservation more efficient. Buckminster Fuller was great
with his dome structures and how they actually contained
energy quite well. Same idea. Extending outwards to
city infrastructure we see the same wasted possible
efficiency almost everywhere. A simple technology
called piezoelectric is able to convert pressure and mechanical
energy directly into electricity. It’s an excellent example of an energy
reuse method with great potential. Existing applications have
included power generation by people simply walking on these
engineered floors and sidewalks, streets which can generate power
as automobiles cross over them, and train rail systems which
can also capture energy from passing train
cars through pressure. It has been suggested by
people who have studied this that a stretch of road
less than one mile long, four lanes wide, a highway, and trafficked by about
1,000 vehicles per hour can create about 0.4
Megawatt of power, which is enough to
power 600 homes. Now extrapolate that out to the bulk
of all the highways in the world; you have a very, very powerful
regenerative energy source. Overall, if we think about the
enormous mechanical energy wasted by vehicle transport modes and
high-traffic walking centers alone, the potential of that possible
regenerated energy is quite substantial. It’s this systems-thinking
once again that is needed in order to maintain
sustainability, while also pursuing this
global energy abundance. The final more complex
subject, energy aside, will be the subject
of material abundance and creating
life-supporting goods. Unlike the prior, more simple
post-scarcity categories of food, water and energy, the creation
of a broad material abundance of all basic goods, which comprise
the current average, you could say, of what is culturally considered a
‘high standard of living’ today is substantially more
radical in its need for industrial
revision and change. As expressed before, the current
highly inefficient methods we use in industrial design, production,
distribution and regeneration is one of the main reasons
we are in a constant state of global resource overshoot and destabilizing
biodiversity loss. Also as noted prior, there
is no market incentive for advanced states
of efficiency, as efficiency always reduces
the amount of labor, resources and service
needed for a given purpose; and hence, reduces
monetary circulation. I can’t reinforce that enough. Therefore, a new synergistic
systems-view of industry focused explicitly on material
and labor efficiency, along with an optimized strategy
for sustainability, is in order. For the sake of time and as a lead-in
to the final section on calculation, I’m going to focus on a few
principles or protocols and how each protocol
assists efficiency towards this
post-scarcity abundance. Otherwise it would take an
enormous amount of time; it’s not as simple as the
prior extrapolations. However, in this book that I mentioned
there will be a whole chapter dedicated to this issue
in great detail. (1) Access, not property. A property-based society
incentivizes the preference to own a given product,
rather than rent, or gain access to as needed. I’m a filmmaker and while I do
rent some things occasionally, it’s much more cost-effective
and smart to buy things because they have resale value. This incentive of universal
ownership is incredibly wasteful when we examine actual use
time of a given good. Facilitating a means of access where
things can be literally shared will allow many more to gain use
of goods they otherwise could not, along with there being less production
of those goods in proportion. In a Natural Law/Resource
Based Economy we seek to create an access
abundance, not a property abundance which is inherently wasteful. As an aside, it’s also important
to note that property is not an empirical concept. Only access is
empirically valid. Property is a protectionist
contrivance. Access is the reality of the
social and human condition. In order for you to truly
say “own” a computer, you have to have had alone come up with the entire technological
process that made that thing along with the ideas
that comprise the tools you might have used to
make that computer. This is literally impossible and is what destroys the
early labor theory of value (property is stuff that’s put
forward by classical economists). There’s no such thing as property.
There is only access and sharing, no matter what social
system you employ. (2) Designed-in Recycling Contrary to our intuition, there
is no such thing as waste in the natural world. Not only from the standpoint
of the biosphere which reuses everything in its process, the 92 main naturally occurring
elements in the periodic table that comprise all matter
cannot be exhausted. Humanity has given very little
consideration to the role of material regeneration, and
how all of our design practices must account for this recycling. In fact, as some may know, the
highest state of this recycling will eventually come in the
form of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology will eventually
be able to create goods from the atomic level up and
disassemble them right back down to the almost virtual
starting point. It is the ultimate form of recycling.
By the way, I’m not suggesting this. I’m not suggesting that nanotechnology
is even needed at this time, as though that that’s what
we’re doing right now. It’s just [that] this is a
great principle to reference as far as regenerative
importance. Today, industry has little sense
of synergy in this context. Recycling is an afterthought.
Companies continue to do things such as blindly coat materials with
chemical paints, and the like, that distort the properties
of those materials, making the materials
less salvageable, or maybe completely unsalvageable,
to current recycling methods. It happens all the time.
So long story short, strategic recycling
just might be the most core seed of a
continued abundance. Every landfill on earth is
just a waste of potential. Number 3: Strategic
conformation of good design to the most conducive and abundant materials known. You will notice this efficiency
qualification in what I just said: conducive and abundant. Conducive means most appropriate
based on the material properties. Abundant means you weigh
the value of conduciveness against the value of how accessible
and low-impact the material is, compared to other materials which
may be more or less conducive. This is a synergistic
efficiency comparison. (I’m sorry if the language sounds
a little bit complicated.) Probably the best example of this
is home or domicile construction. The common use of wood, bricks,
screws and the vast array of parts that is typical of a common house is
comparatively, vastly inefficient to more modern, simplified
pre-fabrication or moldable materials. A traditional 2000 square-foot
home requires about 40 to 50 trees, about an acre. Compare that with houses that can be
created in prefabrication processes with simple,
earth-friendly polymers, concrete, or other
easily formable methods. 3D printing, for
example, is on pace. These new approaches have a very
small footprint as compared to our destruction of global forests
which continue, for wood. Home construction today is one
of the most resource intensive and wasteful industrial
mediums in the world, with about 40% of all materials
collected for construction ended up as waste in the end. Number 4: Design conduciveness
for labor automation. Now this is very
foreign to many. The more we conform
to the current state of rapid, efficient
production processes, obviously, the more
abundance we can create. If you read texts on
manufacturing processes, they typically divide labor
into three categories. There’s human assembly, there’s
mechanization and there’s automation. Human assembly means handmade, mechanization means machines
assist the laborer, and automation means
no human action. Imagine if you needed a chair
and there were three designs. The first is elaborate and complex,
and could only be done by hand. The second is more streamlined
where its parts could be made mostly by machines, but would
need to be assembled by hand. The third chair is produced by
one process, fully automated. The latter chair design
would be the design goal in theory of this new approach. What this would do is reduce the
complexity of the automation process with little to no human labor. Imagine a production plant
that not only produces cars, it can produce virtually any
kind of industrial product comprised of the same
basic shared materials. This is very feasible. This would increase
output substantially. In other words, we are optimizing
the means of production. And as an aside, many
who see stuff like this think that this means there’s not going
to be any variety in the future, that it’s just going to be cold and
uniform and everyone gets the same thing. No. I’m just using this as an example
to make an efficiency point. Being conducive to automation does
not mean universal uniformity of design because the incredible
amount of variance possible in our current automation technology
is amazing and accelerating. Modular robotics, there’s many
different self-changing machines that can create a great
amount of variance. All this means is the existing
processes in their current state should be respected
to ease production. Don’t confuse this with the idea that
everyone just gets the same everything. What they get is the same basic
sustainability principles, which come in many different forms,
if you can understand that. These four parameters set in motion,
along with the basic intent to assist the trend of
ephemeralization on all levels, there is little doubt
that every human being could have a very high
standard of living. It is simply about converting
all of the inefficiency we have straight into productivity,
strategically. I will conclude this section by noting that R.
Buckminster Fuller is probably the only human
being that has ever attempted to account and quantify the state
of resources and their potential within the past hundred
years and, while primitive, he was able to arrive at the
following conclusion in 1969: “Man developed such intense
mechanization in World War I that the percentage of total world
population that were industrial ‘haves’ rose by 1919 to
the figure of 6%. This was an abrupt
change in history. By the time of World War
II, 20% of all humanity had become industrial ‘haves.’ At the present moment the proportion
of ‘haves’ is at 40% of humanity. If we up the performances of
resources from the present level to a highly feasible overall
efficiency of 12% more (increasing by 12%, our use,
holistically, on average) all humanity can
be provided for.” The exponential increase in
information technology since 1969, along with the applied
technology and advanced synergetic understandings
we have today, I suspect, now far exceeds-… we are way beyond the 12% efficiency
increase that he saw as needed. The problem now is conforming to
industrial conduciveness appropriately which is currently not done. This leads us to Part III: Economic
Organization and Calculation. If you’re wondering why
I spent so much time on the prior points
of post-scarcity and those two core problems
inherent to market capitalism- social imbalance and
environmental imbalance- it’s because you cannot understand
the logic of the economic factors involved in this model without
those prior awarenesses. A Natural Law/Resource Based Economy
is not just a progressive outgrowth of our increased capacity to
be productive as a species, as though we would just gradually
evolve out of the market system step-by-step into this approach. No. The dire need for
this system’s removal needs to be realized once again. It has to become
a part, in fact, of the incentive structure
of the new model: the historical understanding that
if we do not adjust in this way we will revert right back into
this highly unstable period we are in right now. An economic model is a
theoretical construct representing component processes by
a set of variables or functions, describing the logical
relationships between them. Basic definition. If anyone has studied traditional
or market-based economic modeling, a great deal of time is often spent
on things such as price trends, behavioral patterns,
utilitarianistic functions, inflation, currency
fluctuations and so forth. Rarely, if ever, is anything said
about public or ecological health. Why? Because the market
is, again, life-blind and decoupled from the science of
life support and sustainability. It is simply a proxy system. The best way to think about this economy
is not in the traditional terms, but rather as an
advanced production, distribution and management system
which is democratically engaged by the public through a kind
of participatory economics that facilitates input processes,
such as design proposals and demand assessment, while
filtering all actions through what we will call sustainability
and efficiency protocols. These are the basic rules
of industrial action set by natural law,
not human opinion. As noted prior, neither of these
interests are structurally inherent in the capitalist model, and it is
clear that humanity needs a model that has this type of stuff built
right into it for consideration. Structural System Goals. All economic systems
have structural goals which may not be
readily apparent. Market capitalism’s structural
goal, as described, is growth and maintaining rates of consumption
high enough to keep people employed at any given time, and employment
requires also a culture of real or perceived inefficiency, and that
essentially means the preservation of scarcity in one form or another.
That is its structural goal. And good luck getting a market
economist to admit to that. This model [NLRBE] goal is to
optimize technical efficiency and create the highest level
of abundance we possibly can within the bounds of
earthly sustainability, seeking to meet human
needs directly. System Overview. One of the great myths of this model
is that it’s centrally planned; I’m sure many of us
have heard this. What this means based on historical
precedent is that it is assumed that an elite group of people basically
will make the economic decisions for a society. No. This model is a collaborative
design system: CDS. Not centrally planned. It is based entirely
upon public interaction facilitated by programmed,
open-source systems that enable a constant
dynamic feedback flow that can literally allow the
input of the public on any given industrial matter
whether personal or social. Now a common question, when
you bring that up they say “Well, who programs
this system?” The answer is:
Everyone and no one. The tangible rules of the
laws of nature as they apply to environmental sustainability
and engineering efficiency is a completely objective
frame of reference. The nuances may change to
some degree over time, but the general
principles remain. Over time, the logic of such an
approach will also become more rigid because we learn more as we
perfect our understandings, and hence, less room
for subjectivity in certain areas that
might have had it prior. Again I’ll be describing
this more so in a moment. Also the programs themselves will be
available in an open source platform for public input and review,
absolutely transparent. And if someone noticed a problem or unapplied optimization strategy,
which will probably be the case, it is evaluated and
tested by the community kind of like a Wikipedia
for calculation, except much less
subjective than Wikipedia, without the moody
administrators. Another traditional confusion
surrounds the concept which has become to many
the defining difference between capitalism
and everything else. And it has to do with whether
the means of production is privately owned or not. This is replete throughout
tons of traditional literary treatments on
capitalism when they describe how it’s the ultimate manifestation
of human behavior, of society. If you don’t know what this
means, the means of production refers to the non-human assets that
create goods such as machines, tools, factories,
offices and the like. In capitalism, the means
of production is owned by the capitalist by historical
definition, hence the origin of the term. I bring this up because there’s been
an ongoing argument for a century that any system which does not
have its means of production owned as a form of private property is just not
going to be as economically efficient as one that has or maybe
not even efficient at all. This, as the argument goes, is
because of the need for price: the price mechanism. Price, which has a fluid ability to exchange value amongst
virtually any type of good due to its indivisibility of value,
creates indeed a feedback mechanism that connects the entire market
system in a certain narrow way. Price is a way to allocate scarce
resources amongst competing interests. Price, property and money
translate, in short, subjective demand preferences into
semi-objective exchange values. I say “semi” because it is a
culturally relative measure only, absent most every factor that gives
true technical consideration to a given material or good. It has nothing to do with what
the materials or goods are; it’s just a mechanism. Perhaps the only real
technical data, in fact, that price embraces very crudely relates to resource
scarcity and labor energy. Resource scarcity
and labor energy. You can basically
find that in price. So in this context the
question becomes: Is it possible to create
a system that can equally, if not
more efficiently, facilitate feedback with respect
to consumer preference, demand, labor value and resource
or component scarcity without the price system, subjective
property values or exchange? And, of course, there is. The trick is to completely
eliminate exchange and create a direct
control and feedback link between the consumer and the
means of production itself. The consumer becomes part
of the means of production and the “industrial complex”
becomes nothing more than a tool that is accessed by the
public to generate goods. In fact as alluded to
prior, the same system can be used for just about
any societal calculation, virtually eliminating the
state government, in fact, and politics as we know it. It is a participatory
decision-making process. As an aside, as far as the fact
that there will indeed always be scarcity of something
in the world, which is the very basis of existence
of price, market and money, human beings can again either
understand the dire need to exist in a steady-state
relationship with nature and the global human
species for cultural and environmental
sustainability, or not. We can either continue down
the same path we are now or become more aware, responsible
to the world and to each other, seeking post-scarcity and using
natural law rules of sustainability and efficiency to decide how to best
allocate our raw materials, or not. But I think the former is
the most intelligent path. I state that because again,
this resource argument always comes down to the abstractions …
of scarcity. It never qualifies what scarcity
is in certain contexts. It doesn’t separate scarcity
and that’s its fatal flaw, between human needs
and human wants. Also, I want to point
out another fallacy, which of this private ownership
of the means of production, a fallacy of this broad
concept is its culture lag! Today we are seeing a
merger of capital goods, consumer goods and labor power. Machines are taking
over human labor power, becoming capital goods,
while also reducing in size to become consumer goods. I’m sure almost everyone in this
room has a home paper printer. When you send a file to
print from your computer, you are in control of a mini-version
of a means of production. What about 3D printers? In some cities today there
are now 3D printing labs which people can send their design
to print, in physical form. The model I’m going to
describe is a similar idea. The next step is the creation of a strategically automated
industrial complex localized as much as possible which is designed to produce,
through automated means, the average of everything any given
region has found demand for. Think about it: on-demand
production on a mass scale. Consider for a moment
how much storage space, transport energy
and overrun waste is immediately eliminated
by this approach. I think the days of large,
wasteful mass producing economies of scale are coming to an end,
well, if we want them to. This type of thinking:
true economic calculation, by the most technical sense of the
term, I can’t reiterate that enough. We are calculating to be as technically
efficient and conservative as possible which again, almost
paradoxically, is what will facilitate a global access abundance to
meet all human needs and beyond. Structure and Processes. I’m going to walk through
the following 3 processes: (1) the collaborative design
interface and industrial schematic, (2) resource management,
feedback and value and (3) general principles of
sustainability and the macro-calculation. The collaborative design interface
is essentially the new market; it’s a market of ideas. This system is the first step
in any production interest. It can be engaged by a single
person; it can be engaged by a team if you have friends and you want
to put it together, sort of like how businesses think; it can
be engaged by everyone. It is open source
and open access, and your concept is open to
input from anyone interested in that good genre or anyone that’s
online that cares to contribute. Obviously it comes in the form
of a website, as I stated; and likewise, whatever
exists as a final decision, whatever is put into production,
even though in theory everything will be under
modification at all times, but what has been approved, if
you will, is digitally stored in a database which makes that
good available to everyone. Sort of like a goods catalog, except it contains all of
the information digitally that is required
to produce them. This is how demand is assessed. It’s feedback and
it’s immediate. Instead, of course,
of advertising and the unidirectional consumer
good proposal system, which it is, that we have today where corporations
basically tell you what you should buy with the public generally
going with the flow, favoring one good component
or feature, using price, if they don’t like something then
clearly they won’t produce it anymore to weed out supply and demand. This system works
the opposite way. The entire community has the
option of presenting ideas for everyone to see and
weigh in on and build upon. Whatever isn’t of interest simply
won’t be executed to begin with. There’s no testing here such as
you would see with marketing, which is incredibly wasteful.
It’s as simple as that. The actual mechanism of proposal will come in the form of an
interactive design interface such as we see with computer-aided
design, or CAD as it’s called, or more specifically
computer-aided engineering which is a more complicated
synergistic process. As an aside, some see computer-aided
design programs as they exist as having an enormous
learning curve, and they do. But just as the first computers were very difficult
code-based interfaces which were later replaced
by small little programs in the form of graphic icons
that we’re all so familiar with the future CAD-type programs could
be oriented in the exact same way to make them more user-friendly. Obviously, not everyone
has to engage in design. Some people, like most people today,
appreciate what’s been created prior. They absorb and they use what
other people have come up with. So there’s a diminishing law of returns
in a lot of ways, if you will. Not everyone has to get in there
and has some role to do this. But many will and many
will enjoy the process. And you can customize things as
you go which is a great point. There’s minor things that can happen
with a product that someone doesn’t know anything about, but maybe they just
want to change the color and that’s it. Obviously, that doesn’t
take a lot of education. More importantly,
technically speaking, the beauty of these design and
engineering programs today is that they incorporate
advanced physics and other real-world,
natural-law properties. So a good isn’t just viewable
in a static 3D model. It can be tested, right
there, digitally. And while some testing capacity
might be limited today, it’s simply a matter of focus
to perfect such digital means. For example, in the automotive industry,
long before new ideas are built, they run them through similar
digital testing processes, and there’s no reason to believe that we will not eventually be
able to digitally represent and imitate and set in motion virtually
all known laws of nature in time, and being able to apply
them to different contexts. Similarly, and this is critical, this design that’s proposed
in this system is filtered through a series of sustainability
and efficiency protocols which relate to not only the
state of the natural world but also the total
industrial system, in as far as what is compatible. Processes of evaluation and suggestion
would include the following: strategically
maximized durability, adaptability, standardization of
genre components, strategically integrated recycling
conduciveness, as I mentioned before, and strategically conducive
designs themselves, making them conducive
for labor automation. I’m going to go through
these, each quickly. Durability just means to make the good as
strong and as long-lasting as relevant, the materials utilized comparatively
assuming possible substitutions due to levels of scarcity
or other factors would be dynamically calculated likely automatically, in
fact, by the design system to be most conducive to an
optimized durability standard. Adaptability. This means that the highest
state of flexibility for replacing component
parts is made. Has anyone seen this thing
called “phonebloks?” Brilliant. In the event a component part
of this good becomes defective or out-of-date, whenever
possible the design facilitates that such components
are easily replaced to maximize full
product life span. Standardization of
genre components. All new designs either conform to
or replace, if they’re updated, existing components which are
either already in existence or outdated due to a comparative
lack of efficiency. Many don’t know this, but a
man named Eli Whitney in 1801 was the first to really apply
standardization in production. He made muskets and back
then they were handmade, and they were not interchangeable,
so the musket parts, if anything broke, you couldn’t
take a part from something else. He was the first to actually
make the tools to do this, and he basically started the
entire process of standardization, and the US military was now able
to buy huge things of muskets and interchanged them and,
much more sustainable, even though they
were killing people. Which is interesting for the military
because if you think about it, the military is one of the most
efficient systems on the planet because it’s absent
the market economy. If you really want to look to where
industrial efficiency was born, as much as I dislike it, the
military is where it becomes, where it’s been harnessed
the most, excuse me. Anyway, this logic not only
applies to a given product, it’s applied to the entire
good genre: standardization. By the way, this efficiency will
never happen in a market economy with its basis in competition,
as proprietary technology removes all such collaborative efficiency.
No one wants that. No one wants to share
everything like that. Otherwise, people wouldn’t have a
need to go back to the root company and buy the part; they
would go somewhere else where they’d have access
to it through other means. Recycling conduciveness. As noted before, this means
every design must conform to the current state of
regenerative possibility. The breakdown of any
good must be anticipated and allowed for in the
most optimized way, and made conducive for
labor automation. This means that the current
state of optimized automated production is
directly taken into account seeking to refine the process- excuse me- seeking to refine
the design that’s submitted to be most conducive to the
current state of production with the least amount of
human labor or monitoring. We seek to simplify the way materials
and production means are used so that the maximum number
of goods can be produced with the least variation of
materials and production equipment. It’s a very important point. These five factors will be
what we can call in total the optimized design-efficiency
function, if you want to be technical. Keep this in mind as I’m going to
return to all of this in a moment. Moving on to the industrial
complex, the layout. This means that the network of
facilities, which are directly connected to the design and the database
system I have just described. Servers, production, distribution,
recycling is basically it. Also, we’d need to relate the
current state of resources, critically important, as per the
global resource management network, another tier, which I’m going
to also describe in a moment. Production- this means of
course actual manufacturing- would evolve, as expressed
before, as automated factories which are increasingly
able to produce more with less material inputs and
less machines: ephemeralization. If we were to consciously design out
unnecessary levels of complexity, we can further this
efficiency trend greatly with an ever-lower environmental
impact and resource use while maximizing, again, our
abundance-producing potential. The number of
production facilities, whether homogeneous or heterogeneous,
as they would be called, would be strategically
distributed topographically based around population
statistics, very simple stuff. It’s no different than how
grocery stores work today where they try to average
distances as best they can between pockets of people
and neighborhoods. You could call this the
‘Proximity Strategy’ which I’ll mention
again in a moment. Distribution. This can either be directly
from the production facility as in the case of on-demand
custom one-off production, or it can be sent to a
distribution library for public access en masse, based on demand interest
in that region. The library system is where
goods can be obtained. Some goods can be
conducive to low demand and custom production
and some will not be. Food is an easy example of a
mass production necessity, while a personal tailored
piece of furniture would come directly from the
manufacturing facility once created. I suspect that this
on-demand process, which will likely become equally
as utilized as mass production, will be an enormous advantage. As noted, on-demand
production is more efficient since the resources are going to be
utilized for the exact-use demand, as opposed to the block
things that we do today. Distribution Library. Inventory is accessed in a
dynamic direct feedback link between production,
distribution and demand. If that doesn’t make sense to you,
all you have to think about is how inventory accounting
and tracking works in any major commercial
distribution center today with, of course, a few
adjustments made in this model. We’re already doing this
type of stuff already. Regardless of where the
good is classified to go, whether it’s custom or not,
libraries or to the direct user, this is still an access system. In other words, at any time
the user of the custom good can return the item
for reprocessing, just as the person who obtained something
from the library can, as well. Since, as noted, the good
has been pre-optimized (all goods are pre-optimized
for conducive recycling) odds are the recycling facility
is actually built directly in to the production facility or the
genre of production facility, depending on how many facilities you
need to create the variety of demand. So again, there’s no trash
here: whether it’s a phone, a couch, a computer,
a jacket, a book, everything goes back to where it came
back from, for direct reprocessing. Ideally this is a
zero-waste economy. Resource Management,
Feedback and Value. The computer-aided and
engineering design process obviously does not
exist in a vacuum. Processing demands input from the
natural resources that we have. So connected to this design
process, literally built into the optimized design-efficiency
function noted prior, is dynamic feedback from an
Earth-wide accounting system which gives data about
all relevant resources which pertain to
all productions. Today, most major industries
keep periodic data of their genre materials as
far as how much they have, but clearly it’s
difficult to ascertain due to the nature of corporate
secrets and the like. But it’s still done. To whatever degree …
technically possible this is, all resources are
tracked and monitored, and in as close to real
time ideally as possible. Why? Mainly because we need
to maintain equilibrium with the Earth’s regenerative
processes at all times while also, as noted before,
work to strategically maximize our use of the most
abundant materials while minimizing anything
with emerging scarcity. Value. As far as value, the
two dominant measures, which will undergo constant
dynamic recalculation through feedback as
industry unfolds, [are] scarcity and
labor complexity. Scarcity value without
a market system could be assigned a numerical
value, say one to 100. One would denote the
most severe scarcity with respect to the current rate
of use, and 100 the least severe. 50 would mark the
steady-state dividing line. For example, if the use
of wood lumber passes below the steady
state level of 50, which would mean consumption is
currently surpassing the Earth’s natural regeneration
rate, this would trigger a counter-move of some kind, such as the process of
material substitution, hence the replacement for wood
in any given future productions, finding alternatives. And of course, if you are a free
market mindset listening to this, you are likely going to object at
this point by saying “Without price, how can you compare value of one
material to another or many materials?” Simple: you organize genres or
groups of similar-use materials and quantify, as best you can,
their related properties and degree of efficiency
for a given purpose, and then you apply a general
numerical value spectrum to those relationships, as well. For example, there are
a spectrum of metals which have different efficiencies
for electrical conductivity. These efficiencies
can be quantified, and if they can be quantified,
they can be compared. So if copper goes below the 50
median value regarding its scarcity, calculations are triggered
by the management program to compare the state of other
conducive materials in its database, compare their scarcity level
and their efficiency, preparing for substitution,
and that kind of information goes right back to the designer. Naturally, this type of reasoning might
indeed get extremely complicated as again: numerous resources and
numerous efficiencies and purposes which is exactly why it is
calculated by a machine, not people. And it’s also why it completely blows
the price system out of the water when it comes to true resource
awareness and intelligent management. Labor Complexity. This simply means estimating the
complexity of a given production. Complexity, in the context of
an automated-oriented industry, can be quantified by
defining and comparing the number of process
stages, if you will. Any given good production
can be foreshadowed as to how many of these stages
of production it will take. It can then be compared to
other good productions, ideally in the same genre, for
a quantifiable assessment. The units of measurement are
the stages, in other words. For example, a chair that can
be molded in three minutes from simple polymers in one
process will have a lower labor complexity value than a chair
which requires automated assembly down a more tedious production
chain with mixed materials. In the event a given process
value is too complex or inefficient in terms of what is
currently possible in production, or too inefficient by comparison
to an already existing design of a similar nature as well, the
design, along with other parameters, would be flagged and
would be re-evaluated. And again, all of this comes from
feedback from the design interface; and there’s no reason to assume
that with ongoing advancement in AI (artificial intelligence), we wouldn’t be able to feedback not
only the highlight of the problem but would also create
suggestions or substitutions for you to understand
in the interface. [Macro]-Calculation. Let’s put some of this
reasoning together. I hope everyone
can bear with me. If we were to look
at good design in the broadest possible way with
respect to industrial unfolding, we would end up with about
four functions or processes each relating to the four dominant,
linear stages of design, production, distribution
and recycling. The following propositions should be
obvious enough as a rule structure. All product designs must adapt
to optimized design efficiency. They must all adapt to optimized
production efficiency. They must adapt to optimized
distribution efficiency, and they must adapt to optimized
recycling efficiency. Seems redundant, but this is
how we have to think about it. Here is a linear block schematic and
the symbolic logic representation which embodies the
subprocesses or functions I’m now going to very
generally break down. Process 1: The Design. Optimized Design Efficiency. A product design must meet
or adapt to criteria set by what we have called the
current efficiency standards. This efficiency process has
five evaluative subprocesses, as noted before earlier
in the presentation: durability, adaptability,
standardization, recycling conduciveness, maximized
automation conduciveness. Further breakdown of these
variables and logical associations can be figuratively made
as well, of course, which I don’t think is conducive
for this type of presentation because we’re going to get lost
in ever- reductionist minutia. But for more detail this stuff will
be developed much more and be put into this text as I’ve just described
which will be available for free. I’m going to try to do my best to give
the general efficiency process here. In the end, when it comes to this
Design Efficiency process set, we end up with this design
function at the top. Just to see it, I’ll list all of
the function meanings at the end. We move on to process 2:
Production Efficiency. In short, this is
the digital filter that moves design to one of two
production facility types. One for high demand
or mass goods and one for low demand
or custom goods. The first uses fixed automation, meaning unvaried production
ideal for high demand, and the second:
flexible automation which can do a variety of things,
but usually in shorter runs. This is a distinction
that’s commonly made in traditional
manufacturing terms. This structure assumes only
two types of facilities. Obviously there could be more,
based on the production factors. But if the design rules in
the process are respected, as expressed before, there
shouldn’t be much variety. Over time things get
simpler and simpler. So to state this, I’m just going
to run through it for those that like to hear things
spelled out like this. All product designs
are filtered by a demand class
determination: process D; the demand class determination
process filters based on the standards set for
low demand or high demand. All low consumer
demand product designs are to be manufactured by the
flexible automation process, all high consumer
demand product designs are manufactured by the
fixed automation process. Also both the manufacturing
of low consumer demand and high consumer
demand product designs will be regionally allocated
as per the proximity strategy of the manufacturing facility.
This simply means you keep things as close to you as
possible, as close to the average of any given demand as far as what
type of facility you’re using. And this will change over
time as populations change, so you keep updating. Process 3. Once process 2 is finished, the
product design is now a product and it moves towards optimized
distribution efficiency. In short, all products are
allocated based on the prior demand class determination
as noted before, so low consumer demand products
follow a direct distribution process, high consumer demands follow
the mass distribution process which would likely be the
libraries in that case. Both low consumer demand and high
consumer demand products will be regionally allocated per the
proximity strategy, as noted before. And process 4, very simple, the
product undergoes its life span. Ideally it’s been updated and
adapted; ideally it’s been used to the highest degree and made as advanced
as it could within its life cycle. Once it’s done it becomes void
and moves on to process 4 which is simply optimized
recycling efficiency. All voided products will
follow a regenerative protocol which is a subprocess that
clearly I’m not going to go into because it’s deeply complicated and is the role of engineers
to develop over time. This is just a simple
macro representation; again these subvariables or subprocesses
go on to quite a large degree. Keeping all of this in mind, again,
a lot of this will be in the text and hopefully others, I
think, can see this stuff, that are fluent with this
type of thinking, and hone in and perfect these equations
and relationships. What I tried to do here
is to give a broad sense of how this type
of thing unfolds. As a concluding statement,
more or less, the way this extrapolation of
sustainability and efficiency- it’s really quite a
simple logical thing. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist
to see how things work on this level. Creating a real program
that can factor in what are hundreds if not thousands
of subprocesses in algorithmic form, as they pertain to such an
economic complex is indeed a massive project in and of itself,
but it’s more of a tedious project. You don’t need to be a genius
to figure this stuff out. I think this is an excellent
think-tank program for anyone out there that’s
interested in projects. I have a number of little projects
that I’m trying to get going when I have time; one is simply
called The Global Redesign Institute, which is a macroeconomic
approach to redesign the entire surface of
the planet, basically. And in this other programming concept,
we create an open-source platform where people can begin to
engineer this very program that I’m describing. That’s it. I was going to make
a conclusion to this talk but it was already way too long. So I just hope this gives a deeper
understanding of the model, how it could work and
thank you for listening. [Applause]

Posts created 40998

100 thoughts on “Economic Calculation in a Natural Law / RBE, Peter Joseph, The Zeitgeist Movement, Berlin

  1. PJ "capitalism is only scarcity driven" 
    Capitalism is the state and the market. The market is driven by people economic interactions with each other. No state required.

    PJ "If state power was removed, or reduced the market would be free of it's (?governments?) negative effects."  

    PJ stated a abbreviated idea, and them use to mislead people. After you remove state power there is a lack of knowledge and absence of power that the state represented. Also, there is the question how did state power vanish?

    Free market advocates would likely imagine there was a paradigm shift in society away from violence and all are knowledgeable of what that is. The power from the state would then be in personal sovereignty. Their economic communications with each other would be through the market. 

    Anytime you use the word competition to frame a course of action. Competition is the same thing stopping that course of action. You can say competition will create a state, but you can also say competition with unmake a state. Maybe use the word "change" instead. "Any change could cause a state, so we won't change". 

    To assume that society will create a state again, assumes society has a paradigm shift toward the accepted use of violence. 

  2. "The market is a game and people can cheat"

    Cheaters never prosper. The market is everyone communicating resource allocation. Cheat that communication how? 

    You can cheat the stock market by inside trading as senators and congress people do often. The "stock market" isn't the "economic market".

  3. PJ "Personal gain and where is the line to be drawn?"
    You draw your line against the person you gaining from and them vice versus, and externalities influence both. Negative/positive competition, Negative/positive cooperation. Negative competition is not the same thing as cooperation.

    Its important for a people to learn to think outside their only subjective mind and empathize with other people. People also need to learn how interactions work beyond just yourself. 
    Here's an example people have a hard time understanding. 
    "There are 10 entities trying to buy a limited resource. Describe their interactions for that task."
    Most people can't think past one persons view point at any point in the timeline. Most can't understand the response of 9 others to each other for 1's action. 
    Another real world example. Try playing 2 or more different car race video games at the same time on different tracks. Can you drive 2+ cars down different tracks at the same time?
    Most wrongly think they can, but it takes a lot of practice. You can see the abstraction easily in your mind and imagine driving the two cars. You can't do it in reality, your brains not familiar with thinking that way. You can learn it.

  4. He is trying to redefine the word violence to encompass life itself. Every time I have to do what I don't want to do or things don't work out for me I guess it's just Life being violent with me? No, let's continue to define violence the way it is as an act so that everyones brain doesn't turn into mush trying to make sense of this new utopian system you would like to force upon us. 

  5. I'm an Austrian (AnCap) and Peter Schiff is just dumb. The reason we can't have "post scarcity" in my estimation is 3-fold.

    First we would have to automate every last bit of subsistence, on up to the "human needs" threshold, because good luck finding "volunteers" to do the work if they don't get paid money for it. The main beauty of capitalism is that people's greed and desperation (depending on their motivation of choice) gets funneled into productive work for everyone else's benefit.

    Second, who determines what a "need" and a "want" are? It'll be a HUGE point of contention. Ex: what about that new fangled, expensive, life-saving gizmo. Does everyone get to use it and drive society broke, or just a few people? Or nobody? Capitalism solves this beautifully, because, absent any insurance that's paid by a 3rd party, (disconnecting the recipient from the actual cost) the ones with enough production stored up (money) get to use it until it becomes easier and cheaper to produce.

    Third is the basic question: where should production go; who should be the recipient of production? Capitalism solves this beautifully as well: production goes to those that are able to produce the most. (have the most money) "But Capitalists don't work," you say, "they just sit around and smoke cigars in their high towers." There you're wrong. Not only did the capitalist have to do manual labor at some point, but the only reason he's able to smoke cigars in his high tower is BECAUSE he can DIRECT production better than others. He saved and reinvested his own production, turned a profit again, and repeated the process until he was rich.

    He earned it, and if anyone deserves that new-fangled life saving gizmo, it's him.

    drops the mic

  6. Given the fact that our society is based on the necessity for people to obtain labor for income and that our right to life and mere existence is absolutely contingent on our ability to have a job: The last thing a firefighter wants is less fires, the last thing a psychologist or therapist wants is for you to feel happy and fulfilled in your life, the last thing a cop wants is less crime, the last thing a heart surgeon or a cardiologist wants is more vegans, the last thing an auto repair mechanic wants is less car crashes.. Think about it. For those issues to truly be resolved would result in far less jobs in all of those sectors. 

    The fact is; in a socio-economic system where maximum employment is the goal and when we have a society where we must have a job in order to survive; truly solving problems on a fundamental level becomes impractical to that system. Symptoms management and mere temporary problem resolutions become the motivating factor, not true change or real solutions.

    More problems = more jobs; better for the economy and better for you, because your life sadly still depends on a paycheck.

    What a wonderful system, ey?

  7. Great speech maybe a little elaborate vocabulary for the audience lets hope they all understood the main points. 
    I've been fallowing TZM and TVP a long time now and i am familiar whith most of the ideas and concepts of the RBE and i have a question to which i didn't get any clear answer yet.
    1.The question is in the event that ressources are availible for everyone what would keep people from multiplying at abnormal rates besides the natural limit of ca. 15 children per women? The best answer i've got is education but it is a fairly slow process and it means the education system has to be changed prior of implementing RBE.
    2. What about the media and movies, books and so on which promote negative behaviour and have subliminal messages made to incurage people towards violence,crime and many other cultural depravating behaviours?

    Thank you for consideration.

  8. @Live Vegan 

    When Peter Joseph says that 10 percent of New Yorks surface could feed the entire city (or whatever the figure was) 

    Do you think he is talking about animal farms? 

    Stop trying to push your neurotic identity-seeking values where ever you go. 

    You are not an Übermensch, in fact you're just blood stained as all of us. 

    Your holy values dont mean shit and they arent changing shit. 

    To the point though.

    Yes. It is an important debate and to the looks, TZM takes it seriously.

  9. Rub, rub, rubby-doo-day;
     Rum-pum-pum a-rum-pum-pum-pum!
     Dready got a job to do
     And he's got to fulfill that mission
     To see his hurt is their greatest ambition, yeah!
     But-a we will survive in this world of competition,
     'Cause no matter what they do
     Natty keep on comin'through,
     And no matter what they say-ay-ay-ay,
     Natty de deh every day. yeah!
     Natty Dread rides again,
     Through the mystics of tomorrow,
     Natty Dread rides again:
     Have no fear, have no sorrow, yeah!
    All and all you see a-gwan
     Is to fight against Rastaman.
     So they build their world in great confusion
     To force on us the devil's illusion.
     But the stone that the builder refuse
     Shall be the head cornerstone,
     And no matter what game they play,
     Eh, we got something they could never take away;
     We got something they could never take away:
    And it's the fire (fire), it's the fire (fire)
     That's burning down everything:
     Feel that fire (fire), the fire (fire);
     Only the birds have their wings, yeah!
     No time to be deceived.
     Oh, brothers, you should know and not believe:
     Jah say this judgement – it could never be with water,
     No water could put out this fire (fire):
     This fire (fire), this fire (fire),
     This fire (fire), a yaga y'all! Ride, Natty, ride!
     Go deh, Dready, go deh,
     'Cause now the fire is out of control,
     Panic in the city, wicked weeping for their gold!
     Everywhere this fiyah is burning,
     Destroying and melting their gold,
     Destroying and waisting their souls.
    Go ride, Natty, ride!

    ~: Bob Marley:~ – Ride Natty Ride Lyrics


  11. This is fantastic. The numbers involved in the energy ouptut and efficiency completely destroy our current system of energy production. It's so blummin obvious…..well, once you have been told about it of course. 🙂

  12. I really don't get what's so complicated about it all. There are LIMITS in Nature. It's MATH, Natural LAW, period. It's Not "socialism", "communism", "Capitalism", Republican, Democrat. It's NO different than Physics when hitting a baseball. Your Body has limits and will die if abused and not respected, so it is with the Earth. The Elbow doesn't bend in the opposite direction for a reason. How is that complicated?

  13. We need to get CHANGE the way we think, Get out of the Head, and get INTO the BODY, which is our own personal Resource. Let the Body give the answer and Don't argue with it. THAT'S the answer, like it or not.

  14. In response to PJ on Violence- It's not the sudden & violent of the gun,,
    I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
    ― James Madison

  15. Live Vegan it's mostly done for money especially the dairy industry, I've been curious about how much water is used to produce grains, grain really wouldn't naturally grow either,. so it assumingly needs complex soil care, in turn grains especially rye,wheat and barley are to toxic to the average western ethnic group anyway!

  16. Scrolls down hoping to see educated comments about economical sustainability
    Sees veganism arguments
    Scrolls back up 

  17. The point of the TZM system proposal is to make a better world and the only way to do that is get as many people involved as possible so we can check and balance each other—that kind of sounds like a true democracy. The best way to think about TZM is think of it as the physical manifestation of “open-source software" like Linux or Wikipedia i.e. people working for free to make the world better. The goal is to create a world in which people can choose how they want to live and contribute if they want. The population being encourage to educate themselves with as many free tools as we can make available.
    This proposed system requires absolutely transparent in all areas of public domain to operate; therefore, if media is trying to influence people for the good of the planet the media would make it clear what they are doing and why they are doing. A basic principle of TZM is the more accurate information people have the better choices they can make— like understanding exactly where your food comes from, can I get a “what what” from the vegans! So instead of all this underhanded advertising today trying to get us to all buy cra* we don’t need, free open media would be used to educate, encourage curiosity, inform and of course entertain.
    What kind of world do you want to live in this one or can you imagine something greater? 

  18. ZDAY 2014 March 15 people! Get to work!
    Organize your own events and write your own lectures or show ones like this!

  19. Is there anyway we could get the power point that goes along with this presentation? Would help a lot with my notes!

  20. The video is been hacked or is not there any longer some one is getting nervous about this I guess. 

  21. Maybe there is something designed into all life that causes all forms of conflict for a reason. If the 'reason' exists, who are we to ultimately judge? It's easy for us and people like PJ to cast opinions about the actions or lack of action on the human race but I think it is a lot more elusive than saying "at one point" we started being shitting to everything around us. If god or aliens came down and told us that everything we've done so far is completely natural and organic to the lifespan of humanity because that's how they made it… how would we feel? that wars and economic conflict were the only ways to create transportation tech and planet killer defense tech… so when the earth does get hit or fried by the sun in the future we left on our merry way to another host. Maybe all life isn't in balance for a longer term reason and it takes removing your self interest in understanding that by design.. life on this planet is grabbing resources from each other and the normal result is a word we chose to apply to it…'conflict'. Maybe quality is non existent for a reason and should we change that? Is it vanity to expect or even desire equality against it's overwhelming evidence of inequality in life systems?

    I look at the lunar lander and its similar shape to the most common electron microscope image of a virus and can't help but thinking that viruses know something we judge as wrong.. the host is always temporary. Are we a natural disaster no different than a super volcano or an extinction level meteor strike?

  22. IMHO a forward step that we all can take action now,  towards the construction of this economy,  can definitely be to adopt a minimalistic lifestyle / minimize our footprint on the resources utilized on earth. Not only this will help Mother Earth to recover a bit some resources but when it comes to the creation of the resource based system, minimalistic guys and families will likely help to  simplify the complexity of the system and possibly the feasibility of it.

  23. If your economic process is so efficent, why not go to market with it? You say you can provide sustainability, efficentcy, and greater abundance of goods than the market system, so why not beat the market system at it's own game by say, selling food for half price? Or a quarter price? If it's so efficent, just smash the others in the market, until you can afford to offer the good for almost nothing. If advertising is the problem, start with commodities where advertising is irrevelivant.

  24. Just one more "movement" ideology trying to convince us that mankind can create a utopia on earth when it obviously cannot and therefore has not.

  25. Sustainability must be the focus if we are to survive the onslaught of greed that capitalism has created. Deny selfishness and create a new worldwide community that will make our race worthy of survival and leave a beautiful and clean planet for our posterity.

  26. hey, this is all reeaaly thought-provoking, can i get the slides from this for my own research please? or even just the charts?

  27. for an [actual] plan of Action,,, people could refuse to Vote for the Dems OR the Repubs, this November. I guess the [majority] already doesn't Vote because, by instinct, they know it's fcked UP! face-book [Boycott Parties ] [Occupy Voting Booths]

  28. I suggest you quote text some of the most important parts of the videos like the one about the vertical farming, so that people can get a quick sum up if they can't watch it all. That way they will get easily interested on the concepts of ZM and TVP.

  29. 2:18:54 And a South American country is working towards exactly what Peter Joseph is describing. That country is Ecuador with the FLOK society.

  30. Life began as single celled organisms.

    Life became complex with multicellular life. Many working as one.

    Multicellular life developed a cerebrel cortex. Many became one.

    Humanity evolved from multicellular life that lives as one and many.

    Humanity builds a artificial neural network to connect and provide for all humans as if its a living system. No longer working as clumps of cells or single cells against another, now we will unite our entire species into a single entity. That which provides and nurtures all.

    It is only the natural progression of life.

  31. Thank you so much for this. I had been asked about this recently, namely the algorithm of how we calculate resource distribution. Will be delivering some of this material at the next TZM Indonesia event.

  32. Hey I was thinking. Couldn't we just use the ratio of supply and demand and the difference in utility of certain goods to determine how we distribute rather than the 1-100 value scale. That scale might work but seems arbitrary. This idea I have isn't concrete in my head though so I could be wrong. Hope you get back to me. If not that's fine. I know you guys are busy trying to present these ideas. 

    Like 1 Supply over 4 demand is 1/4 and that tells us we need to boost production to attain 1 which would be equilibrium. Above that may be fine, such as 3/1 being 3 supply 1 demand as long as it just doesn't go to waste or could be added to a reserve. Idk maybe my idea is arbitrary too but it sounds better adding in the factors of supply and demand. 

  33. I am very skeptical about Solar and Wind Power meeting all of our energy needs, I suspect that there will always be a need for Nuclear and possibly Deep Geothermal.

    I say deep geothermal because in most areas Geothermal is not an option unless we are willing to drill deep, but we have the technology to drill deep enough and could construct plants on the surface designed to be mechanically lowered down bore holes, and have a series of plants deep under ground controlled from surface stations.

  34. Peter, please wake up. Except for the phony statistics which you accept verbatim from the United Nations politicians, your formal operations logic is mostly sound. But until you understand that 95% of even the American population cannot understand that level of language. And if the Gates Foundation/UNESCO partnership succeeds with imposing Common Core on the American School System, within one generation at least 95% of the population will only understand Concrete Operations logic in words and math. Then you can forget all about your zeitgeist. And unless a clean way of quadrupling atmospheric carbon dioxide is not found soon, the continually declining solar output will make your food production estimates impossible.

  35. Capitalism is historic process of minority class violence of war, poverty, exploitation, oppression; needless suffering of our common humanity. A tyrannical monetary exploitation for the abstract wealth accumulation / concentration of the ruling elite. Majority democratic political revolution to share the Earth in creative cooperation for our needs / well being. Moneyless classless stateless communities of humanity, capitalism is inherently evil

  36. How would a RBE delegate the 'wants'? Its easy to explain where medicine would go; to the sick. But what determines who gets toys?

  37. I'd like to know how he's planning to solve all of the NP-hard and exponential-complete optimization problems involving a good part of all the processes he wants to optimize. . 

  38. Hello TZM. Do you have the transcript of this lecture? I would like to include Portuguese subtitles and make it accessible to people in Brazil and others that also speak Portuguese. Please let me know.

  39. (I'd like to point out that I'm a fan of TZM and a RBE, and very critical of capitalism. My criticism is intended to be constructive. It is a long one, but I'm really clever so I gurantee that it's worth a read 😛 )

    A core idea of a RBE is that we move away from the single-unit measurement of money, right? This is because such a measuring unit cannot possible capture the complexities of the world, and seeks instead (and necessarily fails) to reduce everything to itself, i.e. measure the value of everything in money. This is a reason that a RBE wants to abolish money entirely, rather than just replace the market with central planning while retaining money. Right?

    Because if the above is true, an important issue crops up with what PJ is saying in this lecture. Namely, the only way that you can use mathematical calculations to arrive at an 'optimum', i.e. maximise something, is precisely by reducing everything to one single unit of measurement. (The different things you are trying to maximise must be expressed in the same unit so that you can maximise the quantity of said unit.)
    If one does so, then a RBE falls prey to a core weakness of money. More importantly, how would one even do such a thing? How would, for example, ecological sustainability, human health and product durability (all important in a RBE) be reduced to and measured in the same unit? Within capitalism we just ignore everything but profit – we have just one goal (profit), making the so called 'economic problem' a technical problem within capitalism. And so we can utilise a technical approach. (A technical problem being one of a given end and limited but possible means.)

    In a RBE however we have multiple ends (and limited time and means). We face a true economic problem of how to solve eventual goal conflicts, decide priorities, distribute resources to different projects, etc. in order to meet as many of our ends as possible. Right? Yet if we decide that we cannot reduce everything to a single unit as one does in capitalism, then we must face the fact that it is impossible to always arrive at a single optimal solution when there are two or more variables that cannot be reduced to each-other. It becomes even harder if one accepts that there isn't necessarily any universal ordinal scale, where one goal is always more important than any other, regardless of context or time-scale. Techniques such as multi-objective optimisation, part of the broader field of multiple-criteria decision making, would be critical here but but PJ and TZM overall seem unaware of even their existance…

    But even is one adopts these techniques, problems remain. All such modeling is dependent on both context (surely you don't expect any solutions to be universal, and exactly the same whether we're in the Sahara or the Amazon?) and implicit and explicit assumptions. But what assumptions are made, on what basis and how? RBE seems to imply a technocratic solution, and never explicitly reserves a role for human judgment. In fact, it goes out of its way to eradicate the role of such so-called 'opinions' because they're not scientific. The assumption being one that one can simply solve for the optimum civilization with no human judgment or deliberation involved. Yet to believe that there exist opimisation formulae that determinate answers to all economic decisions at all times is not science, but a mark of pseudorationalism and scientism! Surely a group of rationalists such as TZM, who believe in science and reason, must recognize the boundaries to the power of reason and science in arriving at decisions?

    And remember, there are opinions and opinions. What one believes about climate change, for example, is irrelevant because it is empirically true that it is happening. But there is another kind of opinion. Example: imagine we are building a hospital within a RBE society. Would we accept a slight reduction in the ecological sustainability of the project in order to increase building speed and potentially save more lives? Would we accept a higher than usual resource use, resulting perhaps in a shortfall of some other product, in order to have a more aesthetically pleasing (and thus psychologically calming) building? Thousands of such considerations may come up. How are these decided upon? As has been showed above, it isn't something one can calculate mathematically, requiring instead the application of human judgment.
    Nor is any solution to such issues universal, and depends on the particulars: just because we might decide that for this particular hospital the trade-off 'less sustainability but quicker' was a good one, doesn't mean that is always the case, and we might make the very opposite decision on another occasion.

    As Ryan Acument points out, there ARE solutions to these issues if one is just willing to look for them. They are not perfect, and not always designed for a RBE society specifically, but they can be adapted and repurposed for such use.

  40. The poor even those who suffer stress through chasing the dollar in order to pay mortgages and other exhorbitant debt boosted by huge interest components will be easily convinced that our new system is the way to go. However what do we do to the self centred sociopaths who don't care about the future of our mother Earth. They are a threat to us all and our baser instincts want to remove them from our new society. What do we do with them ?

  41. You really need to do a talk at TU Delft, The Netherlands. People would warmly welcome you, and reach tons of creative minds.

  42. I was trying to figure out where do I disagree with the Zeitgeist Movement, and I couldn't get my finger on it till now. I total disagree with the way the see human nature, I just think they are naive on this issue. Environment is not the only determining factor of the choices we make as mankind.

    Also the ability to use our hands and build or design things, is either very well under estimated by this movement or I missed their explanation on where arts or craftsmanship will be useful. Our ability to use our hands is vital to our cognitional growth and it does connect us to our world way better than the machines. If we want to connect with our environment and have better respect for our world, then removing this ability we have as mankind will be criminal to our very existence.

  43. I thought about Graph DB based economy for easy calculation of relations between customers, goods, services, and product/matirial scarcity status (available freely, or restricted to research and/or specific application)

  44. @nayinayi1;    Watch the first 30 mins of the last Zeitgeist film. You will get a different idea about what "Human Nature" is.  In fact, there is very little of it. Almost 'all' of our behavior is a response to the environment.  Change the environment and the behavior changes too.

  45. the basics of life are as follows:
    HEalth, food, water, shelter, transportation, and education.

    Wealth or religious ideology does not fit into the basics if you understand that wealth and religion is a byproduct of greed and fear, a human emotion. We put wealth into the system to regulate the basics in life. With technology wealth is no longer necessary to have the basics in life. Profitability from the basics is no longer sustainable. KNOW WE ARE ONE PLANET. all life is connected to the universe in a quantum way, you should feel that by default, you did when you were younger you just forgot via the accumulation of man made memes. The current system does not define humanity…HUMANITY defines the system. HUMANITY WILL REACH A HIGHER LEVEL OF EXISTENCE if we survive our age of ignorance.

  46. the part at 26:35 truly brought tears to my eyes. It's so frustrating how so many people suffer simply because our governing systems have virtually not regard for structural violence, in fact it feeds it. While the positive aspects of this movement are a great motivator for change, structural violence is my biggest motivator to keep pushing forward.

    The violence our current systems produce is entirely preventable by the most fundamental and simple aspect of human happiness, caring for one another.
    "If you want to produce a criminal or gang mentality, let them be raised in an environment where they are reinforced with the sense that society doesn't care about them; and hence they have no need to care about society" -PJ

  47. Im was torn between taking him seriously and brushing him off as just another socialist with a grand plan. To brush off the economic calculation argument as put forward by Ludwig von Mises in 1920, which is still the greatest argument against the abolition of private property by saying:

    "The trick, is to completely eliminate exchange and create a direct control and feedback link between the consumer and the means of production itself. The consumer becomes part of the means of production and the industrial complex, if you will, becomes nothing more than a tool which is accessed by the public to generate goods."

    I'm dumbfounded by how this guy got invited to any podium anywhere after that. He offered no new arguments. All previously refuted arguments. It's merely a testament to the failure of public education that an idea disproven–over, and over, and over again, both theoretically and empirically–can keep attracting new-found support.

    Keep reading "my friends".

  48. At 1:55:00 he tries to answer the question of individual demand vs. group demand.
    I could easily see how someone would just want their little abode and live minimally.
    I could see how someone else would want a mansion on every continent, a super yacht for each ocean and a luxury aircraft for each.
    It seems that perhaps 5% of people would want to use 100x more resources than the other 95%. The question still remains "Is there enough of a particular resource?" The question of "Is it distributed fairly?" is the exact emotional nature which drives capitalism.
    The question of CAN WE? is more relevant to a society based on technical solutions than SHOULD WE? which is the hallmark of a society based upon arbitrary morality.

  49. If you can make lots of food, water and energy more effeciently than the way it is currently done, why hasn't some greedy capitalist started doing it yet?

  50. Aren''t the ideas and the proposed concept of the Zeitgeist System / NLRBA being derived from Technocracy Inc. that was founded ( early ) in the 20th century?

  51. Obviously this is the only way forward for the planet. We just need to persuade the world's big powerful corporation CEO's and the political & military leaders to accept it!

  52. Not preventing someone from dying is not morally equivalent to murder. How could belive such a thing? People are only responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their actions, not the consequences of their inactions.

  53. The major questions that stand out to me are:
    (1) How do you deal with people who prefer human-made goods (such as hand-crafted chairs, chef-made meals, and works-of-art) and services (such as live competition, performance, or entertainment) and consider those with access to them as privileged?
    (2) How do you determine what materials are available without violating privacy? [This came up in the Q&A of the linked video, but I felt it was not satisfactorily answered.]
    (3) What do you do when materials are [already] engaged in people's lives–perhaps in a personal, intimate, aesthetic, or spiritual/sacred way? Can you simply take materials away from people without disturbing or perhaps even colonizing their lives?
    (4) What about ideas for production that are unusual, controversial, subversive, unpopular, and/or otherwise marginalized?
    (5) What if people transform materials and produce things themselves [DIY]? Will you tightly control such production in order to optimize outcomes [see #2]?
    (6) Do you monitor and measure resources at the energetic, atomic, molecular, mineral, or formal level?
    (7) What if concentrated centers of production are vulnerable to breakdown or attack?

  54. One simple question. What possible definition of "empirically" could Peter Joseph be using when he says "market capitalism is 'empirically' socially destabalizing. It creates unnecessary and inhumane inequality" when the empirical evidence is virtually univocal that populations with higher economic freedom (that is, those that are more market and private property oriented) score BETTER on equality metrics like the GENI coefficients. (For example: )

  55. There is no resource based economy, it's just a idea. I'm working on it now, which means computing synergic physical relationships. If you know any of this, give a sound and we can coop.

  56. if consumption declines then work declines and we don't need to work more because consumption declined… fail from the get-go.

  57. The economic calculation problem didn't solve world hunger and poverty? I'm not surprised, everywhere you look your government price controls were the very cause of the food shortages such as in the African continent; Venezuela; Chile in the early 1970s, but that's okay, we'll try and blame that on the market because of what your Socialist government price controls caused. The absence of private property rights proved to be the reason why there was periodical famines prior to the Industrial Revolution, funny how soon as people were given rights to their own private lot the periodical famines came to an abrupt end, oh what a coincidence…


    To allocate resources for production and distribution, 4 problems must be addressed:
    Calculation, knowledge, computation, and incentive.

    -Without market prices, calculation is impossible.

    -Central computation for only allocation is physically impossible.

    -Local knowledge is addressed very well by zeitgeist.

    -The incentives in zeitgeist are horrible. If any significant fraction of the population starts to act according to human nature (acting to maximize reward while minimizing effort), the system fails.

    If everyone were an altruist, zeitgeist would work, but if everyone were an altruist, you wouldn't need zeitgeist.

  59. This is all fine and good but how are you going to enslave people if you cannot coherce them with deprivation? Donald Trump would have to clean his own toilet!

    Therefore it is much better to carry on with the current system. It's natural for rich people to prefer total destruction over cleaning their own toilet.

  60. This is not completely accurate, the reason nothing changes comes in great part from corporations. as a legal entity, corporations do not have the power to protect the planet, they have only one mandate and that is to make money for its shareholders. a CEO that "trows away" profits protecting the future will find its investors leaving and calling for his dismissal.

    if you were to blame the stock markets for the destruction of the world, you would not be wrong. that is the driver of the devastation and economic policy.

  61. it might seem too nerdy at first but if u search little bit u will find that its not that hard to understand

  62. 48:36 is great for arguments against people that say renewables can't meet our energy needs, love this bit 🙂

  63. But wwhat about my economic calculation problem by mises economics capitalism is only solution no other u communistm sccum cultural marxists and querr

  64. I think just as economic homogeneity (low GINI) is needed for peaceful coexistence, racial & cultural homogeneity is also needed. diversity of agendas and tribal mentality leads to conflict, even with scarcity being out of the picture – you would still have eg religions wanting to dominate.

  65. I've listened to countless talks from Peter, this is definitely the most comprehensive step by step guide that I feel (at this point) most confident in showing to friends. It's amazing to the degree that the broad and vast subjects of systems thinking, sociology, design thinking, as well as the scientific method can be so fluidly connected in one discussion. Subjects that the arts and humanities have seemingly been attempting to articulate for hundreds of years, consolidated and logically mapped out (albeit figuratively) in less and 3 hours. crazy

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