Explaining the Resource Based Economic Train of Thought

This is my second response to Graham Wright, blogger of Man Against The State. Graham has engaged with me in a dialogue comparing the understandings of the Austrian School of Economics, Libertarianism and the Voluntarist Position with the position of The Zeitgeist Movement –  what is termed a Resource Based Economy. Graham has responded twice to my position, once in the form of a critique of the Firing Back lecture, and once to my rebuttal of his critique. He is an able writer, the author of an entertaining video on the role of government explained, and well worth a read.

This reply takes the form of a few clarifications, followed by an exposition of the Resource Based Economic Model, adapted for his benefit and, hopefully, insight and understanding. Spelling errors, for which I apologize, will be corrected after going live, as I am now many weeks, if not months, in Graham’s debt.

Pre-amble

Graham’s last post includes several points which I have to address before launching off on my description of the train of thought which I am here to characterize.  For one, he launches immediately off by defining money as “a general medium of exchange.” In fact, in a comment on his own first post, he even calls money a “rationing system”. It might sound strange, but it is neither of these. This was the reason why I spent a whole section dissecting the thought-origins of the role of money vs. natural resources as defined by Locke (and all following who based themselves on his treatise, right through to modern economics.) Graham ignores this part of my post, not even seeming to have actually read it. So I’ll put the point into plain words.

Money is a form of private property. And in fact, if you re-read my section (“Money and Private Property”) you will see Locke’s thought process clearly – money, in its form as property, actually replaces and negates the original labour, resources and risk of spoilage factors that used to define “property” originally. What we have here is a new form of property that overrides and at once rescinds the value principles. Not only that, of course the more you have, the more can be overridden. Locke’s further reasoning that the fact that none might be left over for others to make do with is effectively undone by the apparent tacit agreement of participants. And yet what option is there to opt-out of the monetary system? Well, as Tom Morello once put it, you DO have “the right to starve” instead. As such, no “free” market can exist where people are born into an increasingly polarised game, a game whose end goal, by the way, IS polarization, is the very mega-accumulation of ever more money-property. Graham’s assertion (and presumably the generalised Austrian assertion) that money is a neutral exchange mechanism runs against the whole base of money’s conceptualisation for use. It’s not some academic point. This is what i mean by “framing” – it is acting as one agent (private property, a good in itself which grants power and access to one member of society instead of another), whilst being ideologically considered as another (a medium of exchange, as Graham repeatedly portrays it.) This assertion accounts for the first third of his lengthy post, and though I admire his speed in replying, it seems a shame he utterly neglected this point. This might be because it is entirely inconvenient to the fundamentals of monetary mechanics, which necessarily include the Austrian reflections on the matter.

Further, Graham is also employing the phrase “the science of economics”, one which is also presently being employed by the BBC’s series “Masters of Money”. Let’s marry this idea of a science up with two of Graham’s other points.

a) That resources would not be wasted in an Austrian system because it is government-controlled and would not be in another, more Austrian system and

b) that systems which are “too expensive” should not, or could not, be deployed, even if we knew that the deployment of such a system (be it global water treatment and supply, renewable energy arrays or sewage systems) would actually physically and tangibly solve a problem or provide a massive improvement to a social system. (Consider, for example, that Australia and the UK suffers from both “floods” and “droughts”, with huge physical and human damages every time. It could be solved, self-evidently from the statement of the problem. Try getting someone to “pay” for the actual resolution of this problem.)

Since money itself does not count resources into its values, but rather replaces them, annexes their preference in operation, I don’t see how deregulation would have any effect upon resources. Rather, I can see very easily how it would improve money production (the very opposite of valuing resources.) There is nothing scientific at work here.

More critically, his point b) (which he has presented in both of his prior posts as a “problem” with a Resource Based Economy) presents us with the following train of thought:

“The question that Ben fails to ask is what would be the cost of implementing such a system?  If the costs exceed the benefits, then by definition it is a waste of resources (the value of the inputs exceed the value of the output).  If the benefits exceed the costs then it is good use of resources (since it would be value adding).  Why hasn’t it been done yet?  ”

Quite. The incumbent monetary system does not value efficiency, or the freeing up of the populace to be precisely what Graham wishes for – free from state coercion, the need to participate. But what’s most interesting here is that Graham aligns usefulness with profitability, rather than function. In other words, if money can’t be made from it, a potentially life-saving system will be “consigned to the scrapheap”, as Graham puts it in a different context elsewhere.

If this does not sound scientific to you, that’s because it isn’t. Rather, Graham is characterising the exact problem with economics. It is a value system, not a science, in which profitability trumps use, function, service and access. THAT’S why it hasn’t been done yet. If we can;t profit from it monetarily, it’s not worth doing at all.

Additionally, he proves the point I make about money being a replacement for, and negation of, resources. Here, profit = resource efficiency. No – that’s “monetary efficiency”.  Resources haven’t even been measured in this “equation” (or should that be “axiom”?) What if we’re talking about a system which could, once implemented, increase the efficiency of physical resources by 9000% around the world? Or eradicate a disease? Sorry, too expensive for those who stand to make a profit. That isn’t a science, it’s a set of human values based on the assumption that monetary gain is the end goal. In this, Graham’s position is identical to mainstream economics.

What is interesting about Graham’s posts however, is that he actually understands this, on some level. After all, he is thrilled that the Austrian materials from Hoppe et al are, despite being in “copyright”, freely available online. Now why would that be? Nevertheless, despite this, I have bought them electronically. One should smile at the irony of an Austrian economist offering materials for free, and an advocate of an eventually money-free system purchasing these materials anyway. However, the overall point is made for me; this is an example of “freedom from exchange”, rather than “freedom to exchange”, and is the germ from which the ideas of a Resource Based system springs. It’s better to have it free, because then people can actually use it.

The Concept explained

Acute readers will notice that it has taken until post two of mine to actually define my position. I have not yet rounded upon Graham about his (not explicitly.) And this is because I am still researching it. Graham, in the meantime, has launched happily into one flawed critique after another, displaying the expected biases and misunderstandings. I will now outline this train of thought from the ground up, with several examples, some of which exist already in part, in today’s ever evolving life system. After this, Graham will be in the position of being able to reject this theory “correctly,” based on something more than the limited information he has hitherto been given.

The central question here is what an economy ought to mean based on the environment that all human beings inhabit. It is important to note that this description does not describe a transition to that socio-economic state,  but rather seeks to outline what characteristics, principles and hallmarks such an expression entails. Getting there is something quite different, and whether or not it is “hard” does not reflect on its viability, or its necessity.

It will also not be completely exhaustive. This is because the foundational building blocks of the system about to be described are the constantly refining insights and understandings of humanity’s greatest asset in all of prior history; the scientific method and their logical application to the earth, a concept which Graham has expressly defined as outside the Austrian method.

A Resource Based Economic Model (we will here abbreviate to RBEM) is composed of the following points:

a) The interconnected, intelligent management of resources accessible on the planet for the benefit, enrichment and preservation of all human life.

b) Said management also takes into account the effects of the system upon all animal, plant and geo-biosphere life, as all evidence points to the fact that humans cannot live apart from nature, but are a product of it, and rely on a life-supporting biosphere for the continued survival of the species. What are termed “negative retroactions”, the consequential effects of systems upon the environment are therefore factored in to modify, correct and increase the functional efficiency of the systems in place.

c) It is now understood by modern science that human behaviour is to a large extent a product of the environment. Thus, the goal of a RBEM is to nurture and pursue an environment which supports, de-stresses and encourages the cooperative social behaviours of humanity. A millionaire/billionaire today is not greedy because of “the State” as Graham suggests, but because of the entrenched value systems which must take precedence in a monetary game which requires, for survival, the leveraging of advantage over others. Scientific thought on behaviour would expect to see such behaviour in a system of divisiveness. And it is indeed what we do see, to varying degrees around the world, those degrees informed by the level to which the monetary implementations in those societies impose competitive pressures. This is rejected in the RBEM in favour of an open-source thinking, inclusive system of access, where your best interests are aligned with the best interests of everyone else. This will need development, and I will do so later.

d) Technology and science are made the tools by which we solve problems, rather than monetising the problems with temporary fixes. It is the actual resolution of ills which is the driving psychology of the social order.

e) Ultimately the system does not recognise the need for countries, borders, travel restrictions, values associated with what people still refer to as “race”, social class or other inherited baggage from when we didn’t know better. These notions belong to our social junk DNA, much like the appendix and the tail-bone belong to our human junk DNA. They divide and restrict for no really good reason other than to uphold the faulty function and attitudes we have now. Chlorophyll doesn’t have a country either – it is found everywhere on the planet, busily providing what Jeremy Rifkin calls “the basic economy of the planet”. Trees don’t follow borders either. Life exists where it can. So should human beings.

f) Education is the bedrock for humanity. New innovations and discoveries are immediately incorporated into teaching. School children are immediately informed about the nature of the planet they live on. Learning is life-long. After all, we are continually as a species making new discoveries, improving our knowledge, learning that we know more and more, about less and less, as the circle of darkness expands around the candle of our knowledge (to borrow haphazardly both from Carl Sagan and Dennis McKenna all at once.) In fact it is this education that will guide, improve and support our ever-developing humanistic, rational society more rapidly. This is the true “bank” in this system. The more you deposit in understanding, the better and faster you improve the life-lot of everyone.

Nor does the idea of a “state” mean anything to such a system. There is no “ruling class”, or small group of scientists that “run everything”, no “elite” which says what can and can’t be done. If you want one of those, just keep using money. They will eventually materialise out of the gaming and undercutting that is the demand of such a system. And they will call themselves “The State”, and make you think they are at once apart from it, and the rulers of it. So when Graham employs all of the above accusations, which he does in his first post, he is actually doing my work for me, in attacking the very problems we face now. The resolution of those problems is to re-build the great game of society to have different goals. Goals of actual sustainability, real human freedom (not “freedom through money” or “freedom to exchange”.)

A review of the points above should make it clear that this system is by definition an ever-upgrading model, self-revising in light of new scientific innovations and taking into account the dynamic scientific and technical knowledge humanity is gaining at a near exponential rate from environmental feedback and education. There are no axioms, except perhaps the self-evident axioms that if you treat a human poorly, you will get poor and violent results. That if you despoil the environment you will get negative health results and death of animal and non-animal life.

As such, future particular advocations regarding energy systems, educational models and real-world physical organisation are always going to be  evolving in line with what scientific understandings can teach us. Everything I am about to describe will one day be hopelessly out of date – and yet they too will bear the same stamp of their origin, in that they will also have been arrived at through the same scientific deductions that underlie the present writer’s efforts.

The ultimate realization is a society which no longer requires a ruling class, since “opinion” and power are scientifically invalid; it is the ideas and the brilliance of the systems that scientific discoveries inform and produce, which are pursued (and ultimately replaced and updated with equal enthusiasm), not the politician with the most votes. It is not money or profit that are considered the arbitrators of what should or shouldn’t be possible in society (or what Graham describes as “too expensive” at least twice, in both prior posts to me), but what behaviour and organisational efforts yield the most abundant and efficient results within the earth’s biosphere which are the active pursuit of the culture. It is the final understanding that humanity’s place on earth is always and forever guaranteed and enabled, not to say utterly dependent upon, the intelligent management of earth’s resources, which are the common heritage of all humanity, present and future. Not because of familial ties which guarantee “ownership”, but based on the very simple truth; that all who are born, live and are to be born on this planet, if they are to have any “rights” whatsoever, are granted those rights by the resources available, and the architectures which can functionally and successfully harness and provide those resources for survival and a rewarding, inspiring life.

And if you happen to be mouthing the word “utopia” at this early point, let me suggest one thing; that if you think, dear reader, that a society which provides basic life requirement, safe and abundant energy, efficient and powerful transport, healthy and varied nutrition, access to the best technologies for communication with, coexistence with, and and real meaningful interaction with the present family of 7,000,000,000 of which you have never even met a minute proportion, that this is your idea of “perfection” and “utopia”, then you have been robbed of all expectation, perspective and understanding of what is actually possible and achievable, by the very culture you exist in and which produced your value system to begin with (and which requires you to think as such for the further survival of the present system.) In fact the above is the bare minimum. It is breaking even. It is “normal” in the real sense of the word.

Not “Central Planning”

Since I am writing this specifically for an audience of one, I have to start out at a place I would normally reserve for a later portion. Graham, like a multitude of other economists, sees the only alternative to a pure free market (other than the Statist doctrines of coercive exchange) as “Central Planning”. My use of the words “systems”, or “global” has him already picturing uniformity, restriction, bottle-necking, low innovation, lack of choice in goods and all the other hallmarks of “communist” systems of the past. I would like to assure him and other readers, that this is exactly what I thought when I first came into contact with this particular form of thinking. This phrase “central planning”, which Graham rightly damns to the “garbage can of history” in his prior piece to me,  is meant to invoke, with no further explanation required, the historical pseudo-egalitarian, top down centralised dictatorships of the USSR and eastern Europe. Of course these were all “States”, in that the basic assumption that a ruling class presided over, and micro-managed, the operation of society. In the case of Gosplan, these were technologically backward, limiting, uninventive, colourless and arbitrarily controlled opaque structures. They were never meant to be generators of equality. They were never genuinely designed based on anything but even more control, in more areas, of their populace’s lives, leaving a ruling class at the centre, to restrict and enforce dogmas. In many ways, expressed like this, these old communist models look increasingly like many of today’s supposed “free markets”, which are rapidly becoming monolithic and highly uniform in their cultural expressions.

The real trap, however, comes in the following assertion, which often comes as an immediate corollary to the identification of central planning; that therefore no possible shared system could exist, which does not condemn its citizens to uniformity. That any “system” will inevitably lead to centralisation.

Well there are some systems which already exist which do not operate like this. In fact, Graham and I are using it right now.

The internet is home to proponents of the RBEM as much as the Austrian School of Economics. It is the bedrock which relays Jörg Guido Hülsmann’s assertions on cooperation and collectivism. It is the shared standards and protocols that have led not to “one type of website”, but to innumerable online entities and efforts, which would be technically available to almost all devices in all countries (were it not for the efforts for censorship from incumbent top down entities of all political persuasions – and by that I mean THE ONE political persuasion which really exists; the desire and belief of the right to rule over others.) It is an end-to-end system, where the innovation nodes are placed on the outside, at the user end, and from which we have in its tiny history produced its greatest achievements. Hotmail was created by an individual, thanks to the end-to-end, open shared structure of the internet, providing an enabling space for innovation. It was available to all because its conceptualisation and implementation occurred on the neutral platform of the internet.

The internet is the collective space where people rail against “collectivism”; the often freely accessible place where people demand “private property ethics”. It is the free blogging environment where many a voice has demanded that the problem with society is that some people get “too much for free”.  It is also the place of some of humanity’s most beautiful moments. It is the place where anyone can see a video of a 29 year old human being hearing for the first time, thanks not to God’s miracles or the free market, but to the ingenuity and technological innovation of human beings applied to a problem. It is the tool for whistle-blowers and prisoners of conscience. It IS the whole of alternative media. It is the system which, more than anything else, aided and guided masses of people to rise up against tyrannical governments, organising through cyberspace better than through any ballot box. It has no borders, no countries, and in many cases provides products and other second-order systems of information which just a few decades ago would have cost millions and would have been utterly restricted. And where content exists in other languages, the strength of networked intelligence has allowed us to develop automatic translation. Congratulations; for all practical purposes, you are only a few years away from speaking all languages.

It is quietly and often ironically, as in my listed examples above, a global shared system which by its own power, is used by all who might reject the idea of a global information system in principle, but find it too damn convenient and enabling not to use in practise. It is a system of information abundance. And every effort against net neutrality, privatisation and limitation, not to say censorship, undermines the very fabric of usefulness that its architecture speaks to.

It is this “systems syntax”, this way of connecting and organising, which is applied to every facet of society in an RBEM. What is not being advocated that we “live our lives on the internet”, but that the access, innovation and distribution Gestalt which is seen in the internet can exist and does exist. We are also not advocating that “everything be made the same” – as if that somehow has anything to do with efficiency.

Energy:

Make no mistake about it; current global civilisation runs on fossil fuels, most notably oil. A non-renewable resource made of prior life-forms that didn’t make it. Ironic, some would say. In a RBEM, since maximum sustainability is the goal, all possible efforts, by an enlightened, educated population are put into once and for all solving the energy crisis by technological means. This can take (using present scientific understandings), solar harvesting paints applied to every building where it makes sense (ie: the sun provides a meaningful “income” of energy in that area.) Wind turbines which turn, no matter which direction the wind is blowing. Wave and tidal energies, properly developed (not, as they are now, barely developing based on “lack of funding”) and deployed correctly to service the global population. The list of emerging possibilities grows as we learn more and more.

A key point to add to this advocation (which in itself feels “old hat”), is that net energy measurements are calculated as well. In other words, the energy-cost of research, building, deployment, transport and maintenance of the system are calculated into the whole energy balance sheet. The need for this is obvious when we look at some present systems such as the tar sands project in Alberta, or more egregiously, the poisonous and utterly negligent practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. Are the trillions of gallons (yes, you read that correctly) of water which will be permanently tainted and polluted with cancerous chemicals which do not break down factored into the equation? Are the hundreds of diesel-chugging lorries counted? Well, no. All that’s counted is money invested in these polluting elements, versus the sale of the 300,000 barrels of non-renewable gas at the other end. As long as THAT tallies, the pursuit is rolled out, with a little help from frantic and lying “lobbying”, using false science and weasel words. All of this is rejected in an RBEM because the negative retro-actions of this enterprise is null and void on a scientific, ecological basis.

In a sense, we advocate “the internet of energy”, where there is no “centre” to the system, in the form of an old top-down, monolithic company, but where every house and every structure can feed into a bidirectional energy grid. This prevents, or at least sternly mitigates, drop-outs, brown- and blackouts and other failings we see today in the old top-down system (cf. India in July of this year, where 680 million people were left in the dark.) End-to-end energy, renewable, available, abundant, and therefore free at point of use.

Ownership

Graham, in his first post to me, sneers at the example I give of ZipCars and Shopping Trolleys as signs of a slowly emerging alternative to the buying of an object to enjoy its use, accidentally calling a shopping trolley system “a rental model”, which of course it isn’t. In fact, in the intervening months, this general reorientation in attitude to ownership has been given a name by GigaOm – “The sharing economy”. They even wrote a paper on it, which, unfortunately, can only be purchased online (something which Graham, not I, will have to contend with as yet another example of monetary restriction of access. After all, GigaOm will have to make their dime somehow in THIS system.) In a global life model where ever-more people are requiring ever-more ways of support, it is slowly coming to the fore that non-permanent ownership, rather access, is easier on resources, more efficient in provision and can allow for less but better versions of almost everything. The example of cars I gave is key, and actually feeds back into the energy points above. Presently, we all leave work at around 5pm, all cluttering the highways with cars all at once. This leads to stress on the human (and actual ill-health as a result, when combined for years with all other stressors), massive wastes of fossil fuels, car crashes and polluted air. Buckminster Fuller noted in “Critical Path”, that it would actually make more sense, from a resource and energy standpoint, to pay everyone to stay at home. So absurd is this malformed and outdated practise, and so costly, in terms of real resources. Wouldn’t it be “cheaper” to correct this problem through technology, coupled with the value-reorientation that what works best generally will necessarily work much better for me than what I have now?

In an RBEM, everything from home-goods to cars are manufactured to be as safe, long-lasting and upgradable as possible. They will also be provided for free. Free access is the whole point of such a system. This is coupled with hyper-efficient mass-transit, which is also intelligently mapped as to be easily accessible for humans, and easily upgradable. Redundant lines across it mean that one set of tracks can be worked on, while another line is used to transport people. Presently this is “too expensive”, of course not counting into that sum the delays, frustration and wasted energy spent finding alternative routes.

Information and Knowledge – and what is NOT tracked

One might ask how all this knowledge is stored, or who has access to it. The acceptance of the answer here requires a reminder that we are describing a system that will exist with a hugely differently-orientated population, who do not display the  behavioural stamp of their present culture. In such a system,  by definition all this information is openly available to everyone. Planetary resources, energy systems, the most up-to-date understandings on any subject and all materials thereto are freely available (like Graham’s Austrian literature.) How else are we meant to understand how the world literally works, and how we should behave in accordance with our culture, to best look after ourselves and each other? What is not controlled, however, is individuals. CCTV, invasive policing and spying belongs to a system which has to coerce and control the population in order to maintain power. Rothbard is actually good on this point of necessary coercion by the State, in his essay “The Anatomy of the State”.) Bluntly, it is a waste of resources. Develop a social model which does not encourage crime, and you do not need to control people. You don’t need to hide the information about how society works. You don’t need “private property” because you are finally furnished with the abilities to access the best products, or even create your own if you want (I’ve banged on about the emerging paradigm of 3-D printing enough previously – this is how you enable humanity, not by “letting them buy things”.)

Violence

Graham likes to talk of violence a lot. Apparently the RBEM will be introduced “using violence, no doubt.” He likes to espouse “non-coercive exchange” without seeming to realise that the necessity for exchange for non-optional life-goods is violence. If the basics of life-requirement are not met, you have not bid farewell to violence at all. You’ve just given it a new name. The true resolution of violence is in asserting, and putting into practise, and building in, real human rights in your civilisation. Thus, if you submit that humans have a right to life, they have a right to the basics of life too, without necessary servitude.

And if prisons and “correction” is on your mind here, I bang on about it incessantly in this piece from March. An educated population needs no control. This is where true “security” comes from. And this is how you truly rid the planet of “coercion.” The only coercion that exists is the necessity to live within the boundaries of the environment. And if that’s still “violence” in one’s mind, one betrays a bizarre attitude to life itself that is literally unsustainable.

Work

Naturally, the most rapid, efficient and useful form of production is mechanisation. I have expanded on this elsewhere, but I will summarize it briefly here. In an RBEM, as much as possible is automated, with the goal of reducing labour to as low a point as possible in as many areas as are feasible. Since health technologies would rocket to previously unheard of levels (since we are also actually curing, rather than treating, diseases), many “jobs” that now exist in present day life would vanish (including, for example, charity work for healthcare. You don’t need it, if the society actually promotes the areas which charity effectively has to lobby now.) I am aware that Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson” simply doesn’t agree with this. The old rebuttal that “people will be freed up to work elsewhere” only makes sense if you look at the trends (which Hazlitt does not.) Human intelligence is growing slower than machine intelligence. Increasingly as we are required, by the ever more urgent problems of our environmental crises, to intelligently react using the best tools of knowledge (which will soon not be humans, but machine intelligence combined with humans), this “other areas” will either shrink in inverse exponentially in tandem with, and as a direct consequence of, technological developments growing exponentially. Graham in fact cites the following for this: what if we automated the position of a doctor.” This is a typical framing of the problem, a niche “job” view which is to be expected of human thought.

Graham doesn’t realise the wider impact. If we could automate the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients, that same technology, that same complex algorithmically driven Artificial Intelligence can also replace all physicians, all nurses, all pharmacists, drop reliance on “second opinion” (which is of course a technical problem of doctors – they are human, and therefore fallible), vets, global epidemiology (because all health-systems would be interconnected), drug development (because we’re now dealing with biologically skilled robotics and scientifically able machines) and we would, if we actually out it to good use, really replace most of society’s positions. Hazlitt, and Graham, instead focus on Adam Smith’s “pin” scenario. An RBEM employs automation in this fashion, to rid dull, repetitive and needless labour. Humans are then freed to actually have the time to educate themselves in the unthinkably huge education that would be immediately, freely and abundantly available. Presently we don;t even have the TIME to learn things properly.

In fact that’s a corollary point to Graham; the idea that millions of displaced workers (for example the million people who will be displaced next year at Foxconn) have the means or the time to retrain in ever-more complex jobs is becoming less and less possible. And education which is actually accredited in the current system is more and more expensive every year. The mythic belief that this does not pose a massive and complex, needless to say inefficient, problem is once again the product of ignoring the wider trends. Deliberate automation is necessary, and actually socially responsible to the valuable human brains which must be deployed more usefully if we are to truly develop an egalitarian, safe, clean society that might actually one day look at its surroundings properly.

Of course some work will still exist. No we don;t plan to sit around in a zen-like state. But imagine something much less than the practically mandatory 40 hours a week just to be able to feed yourself. Imagine the motivational power knowing that the work you do, for a few hours a week at most, would actually directly be benefiting the world, AND you. It is the enthusiasm of the inventor, who tests thousands of filaments before he finds the right one. Or the scientist who discovers a vaccine for polio and gives it away for free. It is something that money cannot even begin to touch. In fact, it is this very enthusiasm that money kills.

Conclusion

At near 5,800 words I have barely scratched the surface. That is why I now, for Graham’s benefit, as well as my own, and the 3 readers who have made it to this point, defer to a useful and free eBook by Jas Garcha called “The First Civilization.” This,at 81 A4 pages, more ably than I, and more concertedly than any blog post, will outline the above with more detail, and with greater depth than I can render here. It is easier reading than this month’s Zeitgeist Book of the Month book Critical Path by Buckminster Fuller, though I recommend that too (I will admit I am still working my way through it, but it has the benefit of being great from page 1.) It is also cheaper than Jacque Fresco’s “The Best That Money Can’t Buy”, although the latter has the benefit of being more lucid than Fuller. Or if that is not enough, sit and contemplate the internet for a few hours, and all it does by being the dynamically available information pathway that it is. Perhaps tomorrow, head over to ZeitNews and witness the torrent of amazing things humanity has just now invented, and allow yourself to imagine what it would be like if we truly put all of it into functional practise, and freed ourselves from the Dark Ages of the Now.

My hope with this is that Graham can free his discussion from the old “central planning”, “elite scientists running everything” “too expensive” attitudes which plague us all at the outset. He is, like all of us, a product of his environment. And as such these talking points, rampant as they are in the works of Mises et al, are naturally to be expected.

This is not the advocation of a utopian dream, nor of scientific fascism. It is not a regress to the pointless inefficiencies of central planning. It isn’t perfect, since perfection isn’t real, but a notion which is religious in its origin. It is using the technologies of today, for the benefit of tomorrow. It is the place of logic, rationality, and humanism, used as tools to better make sense of, and care for, our environment. It is the updating of the outdated, based on what works. It is the admission that if the only constant is change, that we are  rationally bound to shedding any system for one that is better, no matter how old it is, how much we are used to it, or how surprising its removal will be to us. It is the advocation of a method, not a static system. It is the social, cultural and societal product of the environment.

That is a Resource Based Economy.

Suggested Reading:

The First Civilisation

Critical Path

Value Wars (particularly “Unlocking The Invisible Prison” for the section on John Locke above)

The Demon-Haunted World

The Best That Money Can’t Buy

The Zeitgeist Movement Reading List – Essential

The Zeitgeist Movement Reading List – Further Reading