The ideal city of the future should be designed following the guidelines of The Venus Project. “The Venus Project” is a non-profit organization that has been working to bridge the gap between humanity and economic growth/development in a sustainable way.
I have taught my classes about The Venus Project many times over the last 17 years. Click on the link above for the full rundown, but the gist of it is that we need to move to a resource-based economy that maximizes efficiency in use of resources, seeks to provide human habitats that are both sustainable and nurturing.
That is too idealistic, that can never happen you say, well it already is…..Let me explain. Our technological advancements are making human labor slowly obsolete. (See video below)
A Third Industrial Revolution is well under way. Much the way that digital media made VHS tapes, DVD discs, and other traditional media obsolete, many other dominoes are set to fall in this way according to acclaimed expert Jeremy Rifkin, the main advisor to President Obama on climate change. Basically, the marginal cost (cost of each additional unit to be produced) in almost every area of development has been going down over the past 20- 30 years, further, this trend is accelerating with the widespread development of artificial intelligence. Productivity continues to decline globally as technology makes human labor more redundant. (See full lecture below)
The Venus Project postulates that humanity can either benefit from this or be destroyed by it. The late famed scientist Jacque Fresco and his wife Roxanne Meadows have been fighting to get people to embrace this idea throughout the world. The Venus Project is a global movement that seeks to bring a new Renaissance to humanity, where machines do the “menial” work of society, allowing human beings to fully self-actualize themselves in ideal environments, free from the intense competition, greed, corruption, and short-sightedness our current civilization suffers from.
Oh so your advocating communism Mr. Bunch? Well, sort of, it is more a gradual phasing out of the need to use money. Over time as production increasing, marginal costs drop, the need for money will lessen. Theoretically, this could lead to a huge drop in the global poverty rate, crime rate, and general higher quality of human life that is experienced for those living in relative poverty.
That is way to idealistic, no way that happens, you say? Well, if you would of told me Blockbuster Video would go out of business in the 1990’s I would of thought you were crazy. Renting videos at Blockbuster was the business, you could even rent VCR’s, DVD players, and gaming platforms. Nowadays all of that fits on your phone, just to put this argument in perspective.
Why did Blockbuster Video Stores Disappear?
The City of the Future (from the venusproject.com)
Aims and Proposals
“The plans of The Venus Project offer society a broader spectrum of choices based on the scientific possibilities directed toward a new era of peace and sustainability for all. Through the implementation of a Global Resource Based Economy, and a multitude of innovative and environmentally friendly technologies directly applied to the social system, The Venus Project proposals will dramatically reduce crime, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and many other pressing problems that are common throughout the world today. One of the cornerstones of the organization’s findings is the fact that many of the dysfunctional behaviors of today’s society stem directly from the dehumanizing environment of the monetary system. In addition, automation has resulted in the technological replacement of human labor by machines and eventually most people will not have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services turned out. The Venus Project proposes a system in which automation and technology would be intelligently integrated into an overall holistic socio-economic design where the primary function would be to maximize the quality of life rather than profits. This project also introduces a set of workable and practical values. This is also in perfect accord with the spiritual aspects and ideals found in most religions throughout the world. What sets The Venus Project apart, however, is that it proposes to translate these ideals into a working reality.
Phase 1: Center in Venus, Florida
The first phase of The Venus Project’s long-term plans has already been completed. Jacque Fresco, futurist, inventor, industrial designer and founder of The Venus Project with his associate and co-founder Roxanne Meadows have completed the construction of a 21-acre Center in Venus, Florida where they built 10 experimental buildings within a lush landscape to help present the proposals of The Venus Project. Videos, CDs and DVDs, posters, brochures, models, renderings and books, such as The Best That Money Can’t Buy: Beyond Politics, Poverty, & War, have been created to help raise awareness about this project and its many proposals.
Phase 2: Documentaries and Transmedia Production
Phase Two includes the production of documentaries to help introduce this direction to the world. Two major documentaries have already been completed: Paradise or Oblivion and The Choice is Ours.Phase Two also includes a collection of stories told across a range of text, audio, and video media that will depict how a world embracing the proposals advanced by The Venus Project would work. These stories provide a positive vision of a peaceful society in which all human beings form a global family on planet Earth. A civilization in which all people are engaged in the pursuit of a better understanding of the world they share. These stories are designed to be an entertaining and educational experience for all viewers.View Project Progress
Phase 3: Center for Resource Management
The Venus Project has begun development of its third phase: the Center for Resource Management. This facility will showcase The Venus Project’s vision and will act as a stepping stone towards the development of our proposed network of cities. One of the primary goals of the Center for Resource Management is to create an evolving and scalable social blueprint which future cities can be built upon and further develop. This will be done in collaboration with worldwide partners and with input from many diverse parties. View Project Progress
Phase 4: Experimental Research City & Network of Cities
The next phase of The Venus Project’s goals includes the construction of a research city. This new experimental research city would be devoted to working towards the aims and goals of The Venus Project, which are:
- Realizing the declaration of the world’s resources as being the common heritage of all people.
- Transcending the artificial boundaries that currently and arbitrarily separate people.
- Replacing money-based nationalistic economies with a resource-based world economy.
- Assisting in stabilizing the world’s population through education and voluntary birth control.
- Reclaiming and restoring the natural environment to the best of our ability.
- Redesigning cities, transportation systems, agricultural industries, and industrial plants so that they are energy efficient, clean, and able to conveniently serve the needs of all people.
- Gradually outgrowing corporate entities and governments, (local, national, or supra-national) as means of social management.
- Sharing and applying new technologies for the benefit of all nations.
- Developing and using clean renewable energy sources.
- Manufacturing the highest quality products for the benefit of the world’s people.
- Requiring environmental impact studies prior to construction of any mega projects.
- Encouraging the widest range of creativity and incentive toward constructive endeavor.
- Outgrowing nationalism, bigotry, and prejudice through education.
- Eliminating elitism, technical or otherwise.
- Arriving at methodologies by careful research rather than random opinions.
- Enhancing communication in schools so that our language is relevant to the physical conditions of the world.
- Providing not only the necessities of life, but also offering challenges that stimulate the mind while emphasizing individuality rather than uniformity.
- Finally, preparing people intellectually and emotionally for the changes and challenges that lie ahead.
Within the experimental city, a theme park is also planned that will both entertain and inform visitors about the possibilities for humane and environmentally friendly lifestyles planned by The Venus Project. It will feature intelligent houses; high-efficiency, non-polluting transportation systems; advanced computer technology; and a number of other innovations that can add value to the lives of all people – in a very short period of time. A circular city would be a transitional phase and could evolve from a semi-cooperative money-oriented society to a resource based economy. This could be the prototype for a series of cities to be constructed in various places throughout the world. The rate of progress will depend on the availability of funds raised during the early stages and the people who identify with, participate in, and support the aims and direction of “The Venus Project”. As these new communities develop and become more widely accepted, they may very well form the basis of a new civilization, preferably through the process of evolution rather than revolution. No one can actually predict the future. We can only extrapolate on present information and trends. Population growth, technological change, worldwide environmental conditions, and available energy and resources are the primary criteria for future projections. There is no single philosophy or point of view, whether religious, political, scientific, or ideological, that someone would not take issue with. We feel certain, however, that the only aspects of The Venus Project that may appear threatening are those which others project onto it. The Venus Project is neither Utopian nor Orwellian, nor does it reflect the dreams of impractical idealists. Instead, it presents attainable goals requiring only the intelligent application of what we already know. The only limitations are those which we impose upon ourselves.”
Why Do We Not Hear More About The Venus Project?
Politically entrenched economic entities, namely oil and industrial companies have fought tooth and nail to repress this information to humanity’s detriment. Unfortunately, our economic system in the industrial world is largely based on companies making money in the next quarter (three month period). This is so critical for corporation nowadays that there is tremendous pressure on: CEO’s, managers, and workers to produce profit in order to secure investment. Looking long-term in any way is something to be scoffed at by many of these large corporations, unless it is the future of the survival of their company.
Billion-dollar corporations and billionaires themselves have become the new nobility in our society, only their share of wealth is much higher than any monarchy that ever existed under feudalism. The money these organizations can put into elections greatly outweighs the voice of the average person in most democratic countries to a degree that is unprecedented due to instance gaps in income inequality on issues that they need to “Win” on.
What Series of Events Lead To These Types of Shifts?
Unfortunately, Dr. Fresco thought that a major collapse would have to happen for these possibilities to be seriously considered. Perhaps severe climate change (such as when Florida disappears) would be a catalyst factor for these types of policy changes to take hold. Over the next 100 years it is estimated that 3 billion people will need to be relocated due to climate change.
What are the Historical Precedents for This?
History is the best guide when trying to compare what is going on today to what could happen in the future, or when it might happen. A good historical example for this would be when World War II was going on, it was imperative for everyone involved to win, so governments put all available resources into war production. It became the “norm” for everyone.”
What Conditions Prompt This Type of Action Historically?
Why are we not Reacting this way to Climate Change?
The problem with climate change is that it moves almost imperceptibly slow to most of us. Most people walk outside and they do not feel like civilization is about to collapse, quite the contrary. Despite our personal feelings and well wishing, we continue to march toward a very scary future, especially for the next generation and beyond. At the moment, the countries most effected by climate change are not the most powerful countries, so little is being done in response.
The best thing we can do, in my view, is find models for viable solutions. I know there are many of these types of plans out there; the pragmatist in me thinks there is probably some value in all of them, however, in my experience. this is the one I would point to because no one else is saying it. I have dissected it, repackaged it, broken it apart and put it back together and the theory still holds up pretty well, but I am not saying it is the only way, it just makes sense to my economic as well as historical learnings.
What Can We do to Help?
Roxanne Meadows and her team at “The Venus Project” are lobbying countries to begin adopting these practices. Individuals within the movement are trying to get traction on it, but until the fox is in the henhouse, the reception of these ideas will likely be very limited. Advocacy online and in person is the most helpful, but monetary donations can be made to “The Venus Project” itself. Voting for candidates that have some moral backbone when confronting this issue also helps. Human beings have almost limitless potential, the answers are in the room…..somewhere. Vote with your dollars, don’t buy things that support the status quo. Get off the grid, make it a goal to be carbon neutral, show others that it can be done. Ripples today become tidal waves tomorrow! To follow the Venus Project, click here.
What if I The Venus Project Has It Wrong?
Maybe I am wrong and the time is coming for these ideas to circulate, but I encourage you, dear reader, to engage with some of these ideas, if nothing else they make for interesting conversation. See what other people think, ask some of these questions to your leaders, so that when (if) the situation spirals out of control, we have some sort of direction to go, otherwise, history does not point to good things happening to resolve this. At worst, your advocating for greater equality for all people of the world, which is sorely needed.
What I Fear Will Happen as a Student of History
As land becomes more scarce, food more difficult to grow, war will become inevitable. Civil War, rioting, starvation, armed conflict, perhaps nuclear conflict may lurk around the corner. If there is anything left, perhaps we can build a better world, or maybe….just maybe, we will stop it before it happens.
Right now we are allocating a small fraction of our resources to confronting climate change and instead spending massive amounts of resources to fight one another. At some point, perhaps things will get bad enough that humanity will begin to see that the system itself is the problem and perhaps go down a road like this in the future. This could of been started twenty years ago, we have the technology, we need to seriously start addressing these issues or…bye bye most of Florida and 1/3 of the landmass of the planet…hello insane temperatures and mass extinction.
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