Gabriel Ray

Student, The Venus Project

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A new global economy with relation to the natural world, rather than the fluctuation of 'value'.

In order to validly support the human race, we have to understand that our economy can not be based on something as trivial and abstract as value. Value is relative and has no true manifestation. While one person may be attracted to this particular golden rock, another may be just as captivated by a lump of coal. Our economy must reflect what we have on our planet, what we need for our planet, and how we can make the very most of what is available. With our current system of value, that which there is little of holds the most value. In this sense, if all the oranges in the world were to go extinct but one, it would be an incredibly valuable orange.. but what good would it do. It does not make sense to power our homes and our machines (vehicles and otherwise) on finite, limited resources such as hydrocarbon fuels. In a true economy, based on the principles of sustainability, we would focus more on what there is a lot of and what can easily be renewed and updated. Our cities, our homes, and our very way of lives, must evolve constantly with the introduction of new information if we ever hope to survive and spread through the cosmos.

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    Aug 16 2011: the entire goal of the economy is to provide value. value is personal, relative, subjective. as we, humans are different, our values are different. pursuing our on goals, based on our own values, that is life. and when people engage in social cooperation in order to get that, that is the economy.

    economy based on anything but values is probably a nonsense, but if somehow someone would be able to make it, it would be evil. it would deprive mankind from everything that is human, to replace it with something artificial, mechanical, inhuman.
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      Aug 18 2011: Just as our current economy is based on values, so too would the proposed resource based economy. The values of the resource based economy are equality and freedom. You may say that in this economy you do not have the freedom but if it goes as planned, you would not have to work in a job that you positively hate to earn "valuable" money. You could be free to pursue your passions and work towards a better world.
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        Aug 18 2011: then read the opening statement again:

        "our economy can not be based on something as trivial and abstract as value"

        i refuse to treat all of you, venus project fans as a hive mind, and think that whatever you say, it is just an echo of the project web page. i will continue to react to the exact words spoken. the cited sentence is wrong. so i corrected it.

        about that idea of everyone happily chooses something he/she likes to do: it will happen as soon as we have robots to do the dirty and boring jobs. until than, we have to work if we want to enjoy the fruits of our labor. and work is often not fun. denying this is purely infantile.
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          Aug 18 2011: 1. I've never been on the project web page 2. I believe that part of venus project is that we let technology serve us instead of serving technology 3. A fun fact is that with every technological advance we are working more and more parts of our day, while I cannot say that with a resource based economy we won't have to work, we definitely won't work as much or as hard as we do now.
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    Aug 16 2011: You can not possibly think that true lasting prosperity is possible through our current world economy, can you? It's focus is on that which there is so little of because that holds the highest profit. A true economy would work towards maximizing resources and distributing them where they are needed.

    Consider the following examples: At the beginning of World War II the US had a mere 600 or so first-class fighting aircraft. We rapidly overcame this short supply by turning out more than 90,000 planes a year. The question at the start of World War II was: Do we have enough funds to produce the required implements of war? The answer was no, we did not have enough money, nor did we have enough gold; but we did have more than enough resources. It was the available resources that enabled the US to achieve the high production and efficiency required to win the war. Unfortunately this is only considered in times of war.

    In a resource-based economy all of the world's resources are held as the common heritage of all of Earth's people, thus eventually outgrowing the need for the artificial boundaries that separate people. This is the unifying imperative.

    We must emphasize that this approach to global governance has nothing whatever in common with the present aims of an elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations at the helm, and the vast majority of the world's population subservient to them. Our vision of globalization empowers each and every person on the planet to be the best they can be, not to live in abject subjugation to a corporate governing body.

    Our proposals would not only add to the well being of people, but they would also provide the necessary information that would enable them to participate in any area of their competence. The measure of success would be based on the fulfilment of one's individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power.
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      Aug 16 2011: i don't know who is "you", but i'm going to add my thoughts anyway.

      i do believe that true lasting prosperity is possible using free market capitalism. more to that, i believe that only that can provide it and be ethical at the same time.

      so we have the US wartime measures as a positive example? let me see.

      the government realized that they want to spend like 50% of the production, but people would never authorize this with paying 50-60% tax. so the government implemented a whole array of "auxiliary" measures, like:

      1. massive borrowing
      2. price fixing of many goods they wanted to buy (in the name of "preventing predatory pricing")
      3. ticket system to prevent people from consuming (in the name of "fair distribution" and "stopping hoarding")
      4. nationalization of industries (to "provide stability") which made it easier to fix prices and stop people from getting goods
      5. drafting. people was enslaved and materials were seized for "the cause".

      all of these were surrounded by massive propaganda. the american people would not tolerate such atrocities without suppressing the opposition. japanese americans, born in the US, were put in concentration camps. freedom of speech was largely suspended. upton sinclair was arrested for reading the bill of rights in public.

      during wars, people worked much more, and consumed much less. the fruits of their labor were taken away by force, and dissent was swiftly punished. if you want to copy these actions, then congratulations for you. but please leave me out. i don't want to be a part of it.
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        Aug 16 2011: ..i'm sorry, sir, you misunderstand me. In no way would I suggest "copying these actions". What I aim to suggest is a completely new form of economy.
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          Aug 16 2011: no it is not. we saw that many many times. just it is disguised as new.
        • Aug 17 2011: I'd like to add, if I may. That the economy of which you so resent is the sole reason America maintained a solid 'economy' during the war years. As they were providing high demand, low supply weaponry to the Allies.

          "The measure of success would be based on the fulfilment of one's individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power."
          That is already the case, sir. You seem to be suggesting that we follow village economics and not city economics. I can tell you that following such a line in the large urban areas, is madness and unsustainable.

          Prehaps instead of posturing you could provide us with an example of a new economical structure as opposed to dismissing the current one as out and out wrong?

          Finally I must take issue with your idea on governance.
          You seem to be aiming to push economics and governance to a Communistic stylee, and yet refute this. Would you agree, I wonder, with the idea of the Transmutation of Morales, and the ideas expounded by Plato concerning the kalos kai agathos class?
  • Aug 19 2011: Any economy dependent on material wealth be it air, water or other inexhaustible supply will find itself lacking in the face of human expansion. The true value of things should be in the time it takes to get it. The value of a coconut would be just minutes for a man right underneath one, but for a man who wants a coconut from the North pole, its value would be counted in days. Of course the unit of currency would be the time it takes a normal person to do x amount of work. Experts would be able to do the work better and so would be paid more. Each level of physical skill or educational level would add a premium to the work done. In such a system there would be no inflation or bankruptcy. A person who works is a person who gets paid. Of course demand would still play a huge part in the pricing but at least this is a more practical pricing method that having no money at all. I do realize that it is not perfect. It is just something better than no currency.
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      Aug 19 2011: it is called the "labor theory of value". kinda outdated. money is a better tool to measure economic value.
      • Aug 20 2011: Yes, I think so too. It was just an example of another way to put value to things. The problem is that money isn't perfect either......
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    Aug 18 2011: I also want to mention a trivial hypothetical conversation among economists in our current paradigm.

    Economist A: "The Gross Domestic Product of the United States has risen tremendously this year."
    Economist B: "Indeed, it seems the money flow going toward medical care has doubled."
    Economist A: "If this trend continues, perhaps their monetary dysfunctionality will be solved!"

    Now let's back up. Our GDP goes up because more people are putting money into the healthcare system than ever before.. doctor jobs are becoming more stable.. the pharmaceutical industry is booming. All sounds good right? But what does this actually mean for America?

    More people are SICK and/or DYING.

    Let's also consider the following.

    I and an old partner of mine are in charge of all the worlds personal computer sales. In order to maintain the competitive edge, I naturally want to design a better product than my competition, however.. I know the best plan of action is to slowly introduce new features to my products year after year, my old partner has realized the same. Instead of putting tons of time and effort into creating the next big step in computing, I'd rather let the consumer experience the advancement of my products step-by-step, thus ensuring a greater profit margin. The same goes for vehicles, homes, etc.

    When the bottom line is "profit", industry will cut corners and cheat the consumer. When the bottom line is "efficiency" (like a resource-based economy) products will be easily updated and greater leaps would be encouraged.
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      Aug 18 2011: economics 101:

      you can not increase GDP by shifting money to a sector. because it requires taking money out of another sector. you can only increase the GDP by taking money out of nonproductive sectors, and put them in productive sectors.

      profit = efficiency. if you can produce more using less, that is, you are more efficient than the competition, you can earn profits.

      common sense 101:

      growing healthcare does not mean more sick people. it can be the case that we have more sick people, and thus we have to spend more money on healthcare. but it also can be the case that healthcare is getting more funding, and thus making people more healthy. you can't tell that by simply looking at the money figures.
      • Aug 19 2011: Agreed, it could also be that with advances within the medical sector require, as I have said, a higher production value due to man-hours and processes.

        And for what reason are you bringing this up? It does not serve your argument, Gabriel, as it detracts from your point. Why would you say the consumer is cheated? Do you not believe that, if for example, the technological sector brought out massive leaps the inability for human nature to deal with change would show through?

        Think of the older generations, I come across people every day in my line of work that are resitant to useing e-governance because they prefer paper copies and in a lot of cases can't handle the newer technologies. Such massive leaps would not be accomodating to those currently living whereas a slow-release allows accustomisation.
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    Aug 18 2011: I'll remind you all this is under 'idea' and not 'debate'. If you think that I am at all trying to talk anyone down, you are mistaken.. so please, do try to be respectful, understanding and clear with your words. To respond to Nicholas, 19 hours ago.

    A quote from Jacque Fresco, who coined the phrase "Resource-Based Economy"

    "What else would a resource-based economy mean? Technology intelligently and efficiently applied, conserves energy, reduces waste, and provides more leisure time. With automated inventory on a global scale, we can maintain a balance between production and distribution.

    With the elimination of debt, the fear of losing one's job will no longer be a threat. This assurance, combined with education on how to relate to one another in a much more meaningful way, could considerably reduce both mental and physical stress and leave us free to explore and develop our abilities.

    If the thought of eliminating money still troubles you, consider this: If a group of people with gold, diamonds and money were stranded on an island that had no resources such as food, clean air and water, their wealth would be irrelevant to their survival. It is only when resources are scarce that money can be used to control their distribution. One could not, for example, sell the air we breathe or water abundantly flowing down from a mountain stream. Although air and water are valuable, in abundance they cannot be sold.

    Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for the scarce resources. Money is a social convention, an agreement if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such."

    To explain, a resource based economy would focus on building up natural resources rather than acquiring monetary wealth. I THINK this is necessary for humanities survival.
    • Aug 18 2011: Oh that you would heed your own words Gabriel. Your opening statement is not clear, I am trying to deduce what exactly you mean still.

      A resource based economy is what we already have, i.e. a resource is in demand the price goes up. For example, Central Rand Gold, shares increasing from pence to pounds. The 'value' of gold as a resource has climbed to a phenominal high. Surely this natural resource is what you are on about building up within a new style economy?

      Secondly, any natural resource would have to be processed in order for use. Which would add man hours, now if a particular resource required technology to bring about (medicine for example) and more man hours, the cost of that resource would rise. So how would one then "barter" for such an item?

      Your idea on survival theory is intriguing but has no place in this debate and it is a fallacy to use it as a valid argument. We are not stranded on an island, we are part of societies. Even at the small scale, such as a hamlet, whilst people help each other out more, payment is metered out. Why?

      So, I ask you again, what system do you propose to replace? And please be thorough,
  • Aug 16 2011: "Value is relative and has no true manifestation."
    Wrong, the quantitive manisfestation is the economy. It is how we measure value through mediums such as supply and demand. Whereby that which is highly demanded with a low supply is worth more than that which is high in supply and does not have a high demand.

    "Our economy must reflect what we have on our planet, what we need for our planet, and how we can make the very most of what is available"
    Surely this is covered by supply and demand. Materials in high demand with low supply have a higher value placed on them than those with low demand and high supply.

    Whilst you may be right concerning the powering of homes with finite resources, the ability to do this on a large scale is currently not available to everyone for a low enough cost, why? Because the materials and construction is currently high in demand (Through green initiatives) and low in supply.
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      Aug 18 2011: I believe that there is a difference with our current economy and the one envisioned by Gabriel. Our current economy is highly wasteful in the practice of supply and demand. This is because a person creates the supply and then observes the demand for the supply. This is wasteful. In Gabriel's statement, the goal would be to do a more direct demand where the supply was initiated after demand was realized creating a quantity that would encompass everyone's needs fairly while not overproducing to the point of our current waste.

      Also when it comes to powering our homes, we have the materials and there are more than enough people out there to create the technology's needed. The problem is that in our current system, it pays to have demand high and supply low so that prices stay elevated and the demand runs out slower.

      I see this type of economy as a viable alternative to our current economy, we just need to have open minds and a little courage.