Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Venus Project

I stumbled across this while looking at the Zeitgeist website.

It is a refreshing new vision for the future.  A future not ruled by money, politics or religion.  A future in which clean energy is the only energy used.  A future in which the world's people embrace their symbiotic nature, and work as one to better life as a whole.  A future where every person on Earth can enjoy a high standard of living.

When monetary profit is the main goal, most people get the short end of the stick.  Products diminish in quality and value.  Technology becomes outdated in the blink of an eye.  The wealth is held by a very small minority.  Poverty thrives.  Scarcity thrives.  Debt thrives.  Crime thrives.

Think of how much money a movie star makes.  Millions of dollars.  Millions of dollars that could be better spent:  using agricultural technology to reverse poverty, setting up schools around the world for all of Earth's people, rebuilding third world countries (so that when earth quakes happen, the concrete buildings don't collapse and kill thousands), providing high quality medical care to all, providing housing for all.

But The Venus Project goes much farther than proposing the allocation of money for important solutions.  It proposes to eliminate the root of the problems: money.

The Venus Project proposes a "resource based economy".  Jacque Fresco is the originator of this proposal.

"It is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival." -- quote taken from The Venus Project website.  

If humans no longer had to work to provide their needs, think of the endless untapped potential.  Humans would be free to pursue their passions.  Free to pursue their pleasures.  Free to contribute to society without worrying about how much profit it would make them.   Take a moment to imagine this.  No longer a slave to your job 40+ hours a week.  Resources in abundance.  Meg-lev trains that could take you across the World in a few hours, at no monetary cost.  The possibilities for humankind would be endless.  How many more artists, scientists, doctors, writers, travellers.... would there be?  The bounds of creativity and ingenuity are limitless.

To those that think this is only the dream of visionary idealists, I dare you to think again.

Think about changes society has already made.  Take, for example, the abolition of slavery.  It did not happen overnight.  It did not happen all at once.  But it did happen.  And who made it happen?  People made it happen.  People who helped in the Underground Railroad, and thus opposed slavery.  Social reformers like William Lloyd Garrison.  Writers like Harriet Beecher Stowe.

People once thought the Earth was flat.  People in ancient times probably thought travelling through the air was impossible.  The truth is, "the only limitations are those which we impose upon ourselves", as the Venus Project so aptly puts it.

In the words of Langston Hughes:

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

I urge all to check out The Venus Project throughly, and to watch Zeitgeist Addendum.

Their proposals will not be easy to accomplish.  Not everyone will agree.  Their visions will not be quick to come to realization.  They may never come to realization.  But think of how wonderful it would be if they did.


  1. I see a few flaws with such a society, though. I liked your example of the abolition of slavery. It's a good example in many ways since it shows that change CAN happen for the better, yet it also highlights the fact that you can pass a law and make a change for the better but you cannot force a change in attitude in those who did not support it in the first place. Racism still abounds at shocking rates across the world and there are still those who believe in the subjugation of other races as inferior. A law is not going to stop people from thinking a certain way, so what would we do with all those people? How far would we have to go, what social/mental/physical boundaries would we have to push in order to bring everyone around to a certain way of thinking?

    I have so much more to say on this, but it all comes out a bit ranty :p I think personally, the best thing to do is to make our own conscious choices as to how we live and teach our children to walk softly and leave small footprints on Mother Earth.

  2. There are definitely plenty of flaws. I'm still trying to find out exactly how they plan on accomplishing their aims. I too wonder how you would get billions of people to come around to a certain way of thinking (especially because most people have social or religious prejudices coupled with greed for money and self interests over others).

    I think it comes down to being more about psychological evolution. If the systems start to fail, people will start to realize a new solution must come to the surface. If companies lay off hundred or thousands of workers because technology can do jobs faster, or because there is no more oil (or something like these scenarios), the economy could plummet because the people won't have as much (or maybe no) buying power. Also, it takes time for people to accept change. Homosexuality for instance is not accepted by all, but it's becoming accepted by more and more people. So who knows. Maybe radical change could happen, just with lots of time.

    I do wish that society would start using clean sources of energy, and phase out the oil industry. I know that this would cause uproar because everyone loves the oil industry (aka money). But it would be so much better, in so many ways. I loved that part of the movie; showing how there is no real need to burn fossil fuels. It's all about money. Which of course is no surprise really.

    They are having a presentation in Calgary in March. I'm looking forward to going, to learn more about their plan. It's a very interesting movement. Regardless of whether it will work or not one day.

    I agree that making our own conscious choices and teaching our children to leave small footprints on the Earth is a great step :)

  3. Make sure that you write a nice long post after you hear the presentation. I'm sure there will be lots of people who will want to hear more about it from a normal person's point of view :)

  4. I couldn't view the website for some reason, but I too have been wondering 'what would society be like if we abolished money?'

    I started wondering that after the climate talks here failed, mainly because of petty arguing over who is going to pay for the damage done to poor nations by human-caused climate change. Everyone wants to blame everyone else, they call facts into question because they don't want to be responsible. I was sort of hoping that some powerful person would say 'Yes. It is our fault. We will take the blame accordingly and are prepared to help out our fellow man.'

    Is that silly? Oh well.

    The thing I wonder about is the fact that money has been a personal motivator for so long because it allows you status based on ownership. When you remove status and power from some people, you strip them of their worldview. So many people are motivated to work, because they want to OWN something, their whole lives are spent accumulating things rather than experiences. I wonder how easy it would be to take away their motivation and try to replace it with something else?

    Not everyone has a passion or good intentions in life. How does the concept of 'deserving' fit into this? Should people have an obligation to do good for society in return for the free distribution of resources? Will the fact that you no longer HAVE to work mean that people will become even more mentally lazy than they are now? Does the elimination of currency resolve the corruption of people?

    Nothing much to do with the Venus Project perhaps... just some things I was thinking about. :)

  5. Those are all questions I think about also. People getting more mentally lazy than they are now? Yikes. lol