A couple months ago I talked about this idea of a circular economy and how it’s important that manufacturers start placing more emphasis on innovation and recycling of products. We need to move away from cheaply-built and disposable and towards long-lasting and sustainable. Tying in nicely with this is the concept of a Resource Based Economy (RBE). It’s out there all right, but what if, just what if we could have a future ahead of us that involved distributing the resources we have on our planet fairly amongst all people, rather than letting the barrier of money get in the way?
One man dedicated his life to this very idea. His name was Jacque Fresco and he ran The Venus Project in Florida. Fresco passed away just a couple weeks ago on March 18th, 2017 at the ripe old age of 101. He was a futurist and industrial designer who envisioned utopia as a world that operated with a resource based economy, rather than a capitalist one. It’s an alternate future to the pathway we currently find ourselves on but one that he preached was not only possible but the answer to our problems.
To start with, it’s best to understand what a Resource Based Economy (RBE) is. All humans need access to essentials like clean air and water, food, education, shelter, healthcare, and all the other things that we don’t give much thought to day-to-day. That is, until we don’t have them. The idea is that modern technology–in theory–can allow us to utilize our resources better than we’ve ever been able to do in the past and distribute them to everyone, without anyone needing to possess anything as his or her own.
You see, at the moment we have two massive problems. One is that our world is divided into different countries, all following their own laws. The second is that the monetary system operates in such a way that obtaining maximum profit is the main interest and driving factor. That means that profit comes first and social well-being second. A RBE puts our wellbeing first.
We know that our environment affects our behavior. If our environment is screaming “you don’t have enough money,” this makes us feel stressed, and this kind of stress puts us in the fight for survival. If the only thing standing between a mother and feeding her children dinner that night is money, she will find a way to get some more. That way might be committing a crime or selling her body at worst case scenario, but she’ll do what has to be done. There’s also the the depression that comes from not having enough money and a whole host of other health concerns. You’ve got to stop and ask: why live this way if there’s an alternative?
If you’re at the top of the food chain, you are living the good life. Profits are up and you’ve got more money than you know what to do with. But these positions are limited, with the other 99% of the population having to make sacrifices and live by the notion that there simply isn’t enough to go around. Does that sound fair to you?
The Venus Project is a 21-acre site that was constructed in Venus, Florida by Fresco and his partner, Roxanne Meadows. It’s a research center that can be toured by visitors interested in learning more about this alternate reality that we could live in. It was featured in the Zeitgeist: Addendum documentary back in 2008 as well as in Fresco’s own documentaries: Paradise or Oblivion and The Choice Is Ours. I highly recommend giving all of these a watch for more information than I could possibly give you here.
Fresco argues that we should better utilize our technology to increase the standard of living for all. This would shorten work days and give us more leisure time to pursue those things that we most enjoy. Almost all of the jobs currently worked by people could be automated. That’s simply the truth of it. And computers would do it far better than a human who is prone to distraction, fatigue, and illness. But the reason these jobs are still going is because of our capitalist economy. A RBE would also use exclusively renewable resources to generate our power. There is more than enough wave, solar, wind, and geothermal to go around, and it doesn’t cause climate change in the process.
A Resource Based Economy uses the best of what our planet provides and combines it with our curious nature as humans to always explore that next thing; our next evolution in society that improves upon what we’ve already got going. I think we can all agree that it sounds like paradise. The only concerns I see is in the transition from our current economy to this potential new one. But with the power of social media to spread the message far and wide, enough determination to make life better for us all would get us there in the end.
Have you ever heard of a Resource Based Economy or seen the aforementioned documentaries? What are your thoughts?
Also by Kat: The One Simple Secret to Financial Success (& Fulfilling Your Life’s Purpose)
Related: What Happened When I Decided to Live on Less Money
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Photo: Pexels, Unsplash and The Venus Project