I encountered the Venus Project and the mind blowing documentary, Future By Design, years ago at the recommendation of a 10th grade student. He told me I should check out a film called, Zeitgeist, which really made him think about things differently. I went home and looked the film up (it is free on Youtube if you want to check it out, see link above) and I found it a little far-fetched at times, but also compelling. “Zeitgeist” is a scathing critique of modern capitalism, as well as religion.
A few years later, Zeitgeist II, which echoed some of the themes of the first movie, but broke new ground with interviews with an esteemed scientist, inventor, and philosopher named Jacque Fresco. Fresco really caught my attention because ideologically he expressed some very unique views that I could not recall hearing before. This spawned a curiosity in his other projects and I discovered The Venus Project, a unique sustainable development project in Venus, Florida.
I watched several documentaries about this project and decided it was something I could use in my classroom with a few adaptations. So for Earth Day, I would spend a day or two discussing the ideas of Fresco and his co-researcher and wife Roxanne Meadows. See the short video below for a brief synopsis of the project:
Key Ideas of from Fresco and Meadows Research
- We need to move to a resource-based economy instead of a monetary economy that produces for cyclical consumption and profit to produce abundantly using artificial intelligence and robots.
- When scarcity decreases so does the probability of crime. Crime is fueled by scarcity of resources and the inherent inequalities that go with a monetary-based economy
- Human Beings must be freed from mundane tasks to fully attain their potential and benefit society the most. This enables us to focus maximum intellectual power on solving our current problems, exploring space, exploring the ocean for more resources, and keeping people engaged in productive ways besides the traditional “job”.
- Scarcity of resources is the main cause of wars throughout history, less scarcity or no scarcity of resources will decrease the likelihood of war.
- We need to design products that are meant to last for as long as possible so resources are not wasted on making less expensive products for cyclical consumption.
- We will not evolve into something better until we are forced to. Unfortunately it takes a major crisis to alter our behavior on a large scale.
- Cities can be built in the ocean in ways that are not environmentally destructive to help alleviate over population.
This seems so radical….. but is it?
Fresco’s ideas do smack of socialism and communism. In a way this is what Marx had envisioned as the end of capitalism. If we look around though, capitalism’s days seem to be numbered because of advances in technology. Technological unemployment is on the rise and will accelerate as Artificial Intelligence becomes more adept at tasks only humans could do before. Who will benefit from this? Historically the ruling class has largely benefited from technological advancements. Will we have an even more stratified society with higher poverty and a larger gap between rich and poor, or will technology be used to the benefit of all? To a certain extent, technology has forced many of the “for profit” industries of the past to adapt new strategies that have much lower cost to consumers because of the wider availability of new products. Of course, for the lower classes this is be fantastic news, but for those with absurd amounts of wealth, they may not like this because they would be possibly losing their power and influence. The train has already left the station in many regards and with our every increasing pressure on the environment, solutions must be found soon to ensure global stability.
I highly encourage you to view some of these documentaries, especially this one, Future By Design. It lays out these ideas with a lot of visuals to make it comprehensible. I watch it five times a year (during class) and gain new insight each. I find it a great place to start this conversation with young people.
For Further Research
Further, if you are looking for a worthy charity, this whole project is funded by private donations for the most part. You can also go visit the prototype development featured in this video, if you happen to be in the area, or want to find some serious inspiration (on the bucket list). All of it may not resonate with you, I have some beef with some of the arguments, but there is a lot of interesting “food for thought” in these resources, that just might alter some of your beliefs about the future and how we can make it better for everyone.
Thank You for your Support
Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you have found this informative. Let me know what you think. Are these ideas realistic? How could we even begin to implement them if we wanted to? What did you like, what did you not like?
Check out my other article I wrote today on this topic: The Future: A Scary but Liberating Thought for a Middle Aged Man, if you have time!