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James Kindler

Mental Health Recovery Coordinator,

TEDCRED 20+

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How do we get corporations out of government.

Large corperations run our government, thay donate huge amounts of money for which they are rewarded. The government no longer represents the people but rather the corporations. We are supposed to be a representitive republic but our needs are not being represented, the corporations are. This is why I'm in the occupy movement, to try and return to our constitution and excercise my rights. We want the government to represent us and not the corporations, they are not people. Everyone thinks we are there to get money from the 1%, while this may be true for many what I have just written is true for me and most in the movement.

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    Jan 14 2012: The source of corruption is money and scarcity, if you have abundance for all there would be no point for corruption,
    Here is some videos Explaining Exactly how you solve this problem.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3932487043163636261

    http://zeitgeistmovie.com/

    http://www.thevenusproject.com/

    http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/
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      Jan 20 2012: The Venus Project. Another intriguing theory with a high level of coherence but no actual working model to prove it right.
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        Jan 20 2012: I actually disagree there. I've been down that rabbit hole, right to the bottom, and found nothing but hot air. It's just another one of those "if we can just get everybody to do things our way we can solve all the world's problems" scheme. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?
        • Jan 20 2012: There is something that Venus Project address but doesn't fully articulate to my satisfaction and that is the power of collaboration in an Open Source platform in the transition from our current system. I am certain that a cohesive and objective global Open Source movement by volunteers has the power to grow into the Venus Project. And here is why: 1. The technology to create Civilization 2.0 is possible, and will be developed from the voluntary collaboration of scientist and engineers that attempt to solve issues with greater efficiency, fewer resources, and with faster technological development than that which develops in our current free market capitalistic model. - Groups like Open Source Ecology (GVCS), R&D-I-Y, Omega Garden, are already developing the initial technology to make it not only possible but a necessity because they have proven that greater Industrial productivity can be achieved with fewer resources and faster concept to prototype speed. 2. If the technology exists to supply the need of an ever-growing population in the public domain - entrepreneurs that "do more with less" will lead the forming economic model with profits feeding the Open Source Model and fueling ever-greater collaboration. As profits increase enough, Open Source Universities and more and more Open Source communities will emerge until they blossom into cities. I am entirely convinced that collaboration is the product of communication, that the Open Source Movement is the product of collaboration, that the Open Source Village will emerge from that movement which will evolve through the efficiency of scale and access to knowledge into a City which will inspire innovators and scientist until all scientific advancement is conducted in on an Open Source platform for the benefit of all man kind. VP is not a model to be proven or "hot air" it is the logical product of collaboration with compassion for humanity at its core.
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        Jan 20 2012: Joshua my main philosophical objection to the Venus Project is that it commits the typical fallacy of imagining one big central system with (no doubt) the guy who came up with it at the helm.

        As to the practical, the thing about Peter Joseph Merola and his big zeitgeist/VP speeches is that he doesn't actually know what he's talking about, as anybody with software or engineering backgrounds could probably tell you. Surrounding himself with people who do is great, but it will require abandoning some fantasies he has (and as I understand it, it has already done so). Likewise Jacques Fresco, who makes a lot of big claims, particularly about having a mysterious algorithm that will solve the economic calculation problem and usher us into a new age of perfect efficiency.

        Once you've been in the software industry for a while you get a nose for vaporware, and he stinks to high hell of it. An algorithm that a single human being is capable of keeping and modeling in his brain is certainly not a difficult thing to implement. A basic programming language necessary to create a proof of concept takes weeks to learn. The fact that he has not, in his 30 years of telling tall tales, done so tells me he doesn't have it and hasn't the faintest idea how to get it. To a software engineer, let alone a student of economics, this claim of his is the same as people who claim to have invented infinite free energy devices or faster than light travel. If he did know how to do what he says he can do, he would have done it, because such an algorithm would be enough to make him rich beyond his wildest dreams (which, one presumes, he would expend on making the Venus Project a reality). I must assume he's a charlatan until he does what I know from experience is not complicated to do, if he has the knowledge he claims to have.
        • Jan 21 2012: You are mistaken in your assertion that any one man would be at the helm in this system, on the contrary, Fresco asserts that the scientific process itself would govern the decisions of the community as a whole which would be simultaneously centralized and decentralized with democratic overview. Also the Venus Project has distanced itself from Peter Joseph and the Zeitgeist movement, because as I understand it, ZM focuses too much on the pitfalls of our current system while Fresco is primarily concerned with how a post scarcity society would function. Keep in mind Fresco is an Industrial designer and Social Planner not a software engineer; I think he is in his 90's, as far as I know anyone over 40 has a tough time with software in general including futurists. Kidding aside; Fresco has spent a lot of time building relationships with scientist and engineers and I would assume that they have already roughed out how a algorithm to manage supply and demand would work. Very little attention was given to how the transition would occur. Fresco asserts that collective suffering and the absence of purchasing power would cause a Global Implementation. I find Open Source a better candidate for this. Finally if society were to develop a post scarcity society it could most defiantly operate without any so called "free energy" devices; there is enough energy in GeoThermal to supply the world with energy possibly indefinably not to mention Thorium research that would undoubtedly develop out of a scientific community. We are already seeing technology emerge with efficiency magnitudes ahead of what has been currently adopted globally. My assertion is that as technology and communication improve civilization will take on a form in which a monetary system is obsolete, and the needs of society will be met with such great efficiency by technology requiring very little human attention. And, I believe that this technology will emerge out of an Open Source, collaborative effort.
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        Jan 20 2012: All that wouldn't be a big problem except that the whole Venus Project is hung around the assumption that the calculation problem is solvable. Without that algorithm you cannot have a central AI or database or "cybernet" (haha) which can perfectly regulate production. Without that, all you have is a lot of very cool projects (like OSE) that have nothing to do with VP but which have been inexplicably claimed by it.

        When you say the VP is the "logical conclusion" of all this stuff, I say that's an interesting claim. I think the more likely logical conclusion of all this stuff is the distributed, decentralized, individualized world I imagine, not the shining megacities of the VP with their benevolent AIs and post-market economies. But I don't know that for a fact and I don't have the arrogance to claim that I do. It could be something in between, or something altogether different.

        Venus Project members (and I meet a lot of them in the circles I travel) frequently demand that, if I have a better solution than they do, I should join the Venus Project and convince everybody of it. They create a dichotomy between "the Venus Project or nothing". As if they're the only people thinking about any problems, let alone solving them. This I find a little disturbing, to be honest. At best it sounds masturbatory; after all, if my way is the best way, will not the Venus Project discover this in time through reason and logic? Isn't that their whole thing? Why do I need to go chat about it with a bunch of people that, as far as I can tell, have yet to deliver a single product? At worst it sounds (and I know you guys hate this) a little culty.

        In the meanwhile, I intend to get on with it. A few afternoons spent chatting is good now and then, but it's warming up and soon enough I'll have a garden to plant, and I always have more code to write and gadgets to tinker with. I'm sure if I come up with anything useful to the VP they'll claim it as their own soon enough.
        • Jan 21 2012: I really love the Jeffersonian Ideal of a completely sustainable Agrarian model with cybernetic fab lab factories that can reside in a tool shed that are decentralized and individualistic, but I genuinely feel that what you imagine would exist in parallel with the Venus Project type cities, but as someone who lived outside the cities you would have some stewardship/revitalization responsibilities. And, as transportation technologies develop you would be able to go anywhere and choose however you wanted to live.
        • Jan 21 2012: Justen,Allow me to first convey my feelings of Peace, Love, and Respect for you and all of your opinions and ideas. By reading your posts I wouldn't call it a stretch to assume that you a very well read, intelligent, and competent human being. That being said, you may soon find that your theories on property and society are no more than just that... Theories. Such is the way of Einstein's theory of relativity, your theories, and therefore any assertions thereafter cannot hold up to scrutiny when you start to dig a little deeper.

          You say that when it comes to land and ideas, and other such "abstractions" one has no right to claim ownership. I agree. However, you go on to say that when it comes to physical objects that one has created, or objects that one has "obtained through voluntary exchange with others" ownership then becomes a right. I disagree. How can one own property without the ownership of land? Does not everything we use in order to create anything come from land? Are our ideas not manifested through means of communication? Who decides where you build things such as gardens, and houses, and wells if nobody owns the land upon which they are built? Where do you gather the material needed to build such things? How do your theories hold up after these inquiries?

          I feel like these are just some of the inconsistencies that negate most of your arguments in this conversation. Please feel free to correct me if I'm just misinterpreting what you are trying to convey.
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        Jan 21 2012: Anthony: I don't think that the ownership of land need actually be at issue in your questions. Certainly the things we have come from earth and air and water, but those are physical. A piece of "real estate" is a square drawn on a map, an abstraction that describes everything within a two- or three-dimensional geographical space as belonging to a person.

        How does one gain ownership? Ordinarily, not simply by pointing at it and saying "that's mine", much less by pointing at a picture of it and saying "the thing that picture represents is mine". Most theories of property don't start that way. The Lockean view is that one must "mix one's labor" in order to gain ownership of something. You have to take something that hasn't already been taken by someone else and *do* something with it for it to be yours. That's at the root of most theories of personal property and many theories of real property. Other theories of real property start with an ultimate or default owner - usually the state or the church - from whence the chain of ownership begins. Obviously I reject that entirely.

        I say dispense with the abstraction. It's easy enough to establish a claim of ownership through Lockean means without resorting to drawing squares on maps. If you want to do something with a rock, go do it. You don't need to "put it on reserve" in case you want to do something with it later. If you're not the first to do it, no biggie. There's lots of rocks out there, lots of plots of dirt, plenty of trees. Take it when you're ready to use it, and not before. If you get into one of those rare situations where you and somebody else show up at about the same time to take the same thing for immediate use, try finding a way to peacefully compromise. Sounds a little hippie-dippie? Maybe, but what's the alternative? Every other alternative involves one person attacking the other, which is what we're trying to avoid. If avoidance of violence is not the object, why bother with the pretense of civility?
        • Jan 21 2012: Justen,
          Lol, where do I begin..? First, what is the difference between what you propose and the lopsided system that we're all so fond of, and that society is still perpetuating today? This is the kind of greedy, selfish, egotistical line of thinking that led settlers to America, and countless other lands over history to stake claim to what was not already being used. I doubt you need to ask American Indians or any other natural inhabitant of any land, how they felt about other people coming to the land and doing what they wanted with it. Why can't you see that private property of any kind will inevitably lead to conlfict?
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          Jan 21 2012: I agree Anthony, it is the private property principle which leads to conflict. Out of thumbs up excellent post.
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        Jan 21 2012: Anthony: It's funny that you say "their land" in regard to the natives, and then condemn the concept at the same time. There was actually quite a lot land (and still is) that nobody claimed or used on the continent. I unequivocally condemn the actions of colonists, U.S. government and private individuals in confiscating property and ousting natives from the land, as I do any such actions.

        I think there's always going to be conflicts. Whether or not you choose to use words like ownership or property, the fact is that it is in our nature to hold certain things precious, and to want to have on hand and at our convenience useful things. It is in our nature to take responsibility for objects and to care for them; and to do a poor job caring for them if we are not given responsibility over them. So I'd turn the question on you: how do you expect to avoid conflict in a world where the concept of property is abolished? Do you really believe that tabooing the notion is going to suddenly transform human nature and culture? You'll be able to walk into the home that another person built and take the things that person made and gathered for himself without opposition?

        I don't think this is realistic, or necessarily desirable. I'm concerned with a commitment to peaceful resolution to conflict, not changing fundamental human nature. The fact is that most of us abhor violence and wish to avoid conflict, and most of us feel compassion for the suffering and naturally want to render aid to each other where we can. This has been with us for probably as long as we have been a species, if we're to judge by prehistoric evidence.

        I want to break down the obstacles to aiding ourselves and others, so as to minimize the causes of conflict in the world and make these sorts of conversations mostly obsolete. I doubt we will find a time when scarcity has been completely abolished, such that anything that could possibly be desired is within reach of any person; but we need not go hungry.
        • Jan 21 2012: Justen,
          I never mentioned anything about "their land". You might want to re-read what I wrote.

          Why do you believe there will always be conlfict? Is it only because the society that you envision can't be without conflict? I can agree with you that it is in our nature to hold certain things precious. I don't agree however, that any of those precious things you speak of are tangible. Alas the only reason for these tangibles is to produce that which is intangible (i.e. you can't eat money).

          RE: "So I'd turn the question on you: how do you expect to avoid conflict in a world where the concept of property is abolished? Do you really believe that tabooing the notion is going to suddenly transform human nature and culture?" I argue that the very opposite is, and has been happening for a very long time, as we have a perfectly good example of how a shift in human nature and culture has already lead to one form of property abolishment in very recent history. Do we really need to be reminded how the majority of Americans viewed slavery a couple of hundred years ago?

          I find it ironic and a little disconcerting at how we talk about the 1% in this country, and how they are taking all this wealth and greedily hoarding it to themselves, like there's some kind of small group of bankers scheming around a conference desk behind closed doors. REALITY CHECK: WE ARE THE 1%! Those of us who don't live in a third world country. Those of us who have access to electricity, and the internet. ALL OF US who post comments within the TED community. WE ARE THE 1% We continue to be indifferent and emotionally unaffected by the problems around the world, and that don't have a direct affect on our lives. Who are we to expect any different from anyone else? Who are we to complain about corporate influence in our government? Only when we understand that our individual morality has very far-reaching affects, will we be on a path to a world with no conflict.
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        Jan 21 2012: Sorry Anthony, I misread you, you are correct.

        "Alas the only reason for these tangibles is to produce that which is intangible (i.e. you can't eat money)."

        I disagree with you strongly here. Money isn't precious to me, nor to many (probably most) people. It is merely a means to an end, a way to abstract value in order to facilitate trade. To suggest that all my ends, or the ends of the vast majority of people anywhere on earth, are toward the accumulation of money is to misunderstand humanity very deeply and cynically. We very rarely ever want money for the sake of money; most of us want the things and privileges that money will buy, for better or worse.

        There are, however, many things I own that improve my life, and that I would be very upset about having confiscated - my tools, furnishings, workspaces, those things which hold sentimental value to me. For that matter, I feel ownership over the food I grow to feed my family and I would be deeply offended if someone else, having not bothered to grow their own, came along and took it, leaving us hungry. I don't think you'll ever change this, although I do strive toward a world where the motivations to take from others are minimized by making abundant those things which are most needed (food, water, shelter, etc).

        "Only when we understand that our individual morality has very far-reaching affects, will we be on a path to a world with no conflict."

        I agree strongly about this statement. I spent a lot of time, probably too much time, trying to extrapolate the far reaching effects of different behaviors. I'm not wedded to the conclusions I've drawn, but I'm fairly confident in them (even though they change over time as new information comes to light). Whereas many people are concerned about this idea, very few apply it to their day-to-day lives. It's all fine and good to worry about how your actions affect others, but are you changing them according to your conclusions?
        • Jan 21 2012: Justen,
          You're a little confused as to what is tangible and intangible. Money is something you mention as being tangible and therefore not precious to you. "It is merely a means to an end, a way to abstract value in order to facilitate trade." You go on to say, "[t]here are, however, many things I own that improve my life, and that I would be very upset about having confiscated - my tools, furnishings, workspaces, those things which hold sentimental value to me." Justen... These too are all tangibles which produce that which is intangible. Why do you need tools? what do you build things for? Why do we eat food, drink water, or need shelter? All for intangible reasons... I'll say it again so it sinks in... "Alas the ONLY reason for these tangibles is to produce that which is intangible".

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