With each new passing day, the people that live on this planet become more aware of their own mortality, their place in the universe, and how their actions influence their future. Looking back at recorded history shows us a long struggle with who we have been as a people. The successes we have had are great and the failures epic. A new movement has come to fruition that takes a perspective of the entire world and how we may exist into the future. The dinosaurs lived for millions of years that were eventually wiped off the face of the Earth. Now humans are the dominant species and many have thoughts concerning how we will sustain that status for millennia to come. A grassroots effort called the Zeitgeist Movement takes this perspective and provides insights on who we are, what may be required to sustain our children, our children’s children and ourselves. Project Venus is a statement about what we can do for ourselves. It shows exactly how we can build a near perfect sustainable city. Project Venus is the lifework of Jacques Fresco and is gaining strong appeal worldwide (details below).
The Zeitgeist Movement is a grassroots effort that is in the early phases of its development. The underlying theory is the creation of sustainable societies through resource-based systems. There are fundamental and redundant problems with every different model of society including those that plague capitalist societies. Poverty, hunger, and economic disparity, which eventually lead to crime and societal degradation, are symptoms of inherent structural problems in capitalist societies. The Zeitgeist Movement is all about avoiding those issues with a different plan.
The resource based economy
A resource-based economy is a foundational theme of the Zeitgeist Movement and a viable solution to the problems facing capitalist societies. Many societies that are capitalist in nature, the United States included, function under a scarcity principle of economics. The prices that citizens pay for goods are not representative of that same item’s global availability or real value. The notion that everything has a cost of ownership and price causes greater supply than demand for many items because not all people can afford products or services and they are therefore not used. In fact, in a capitalist society it is acceptable to waste resources rather than let them end up in another person’s hands without generating a profit. For instance, grocery stores often throw out food that is still good but nearing its expiration date. A restaurant will throw out an order if a person cannot come up with money for their food rather than let the patron have it. At the micro level this may not make much of a difference, however at the macro level and as a collective society, resources are as valuable as money.
Jacque Fresco, founder of the Zeitgeist Movement, argues that the United States was pulled out of the great depression not by legislation enacted by presidents or congress but by the onset of WWII when the country pulled together, tapped into natural resources and won the war. The economy was rebuilt and a baby boom ensued.
The Zeitgeist Movement is in its early phases as an organization and movement. As mentioned before, the movement was founded by Jacques Fresco who is a futurist and social engineer. Born in 1916, Fresco is a self-educated architectural designer. He is also credited with being the creator of The Venus Project, a non-profit and research based project focused on the effects of poverty. Fresco has worked in a variety of fields concerning social systems and bioengineering. The movement is still in the phases of collecting members and forming chapters. Later phases include actions such as fundraising, social pressure, and other activist related activities.
The movement has a strong advocacy for automation in all aspects of life. It is argued that automation has been the cause of much of the world’s unemployment and economic woes. By definition, automation is the performance of tasks once reserved for humans by machines. Some of the earliest examples of automation are the cotton gin invented by Ely Whitney or the automatic pinsetter. Automation has been a huge cost saver for businesses who no longer have to pay the high costs of employee wages, benefits, insurance and retirement packages. For workers that are displaced by automation however, there is a different story to tell. Despite the obvious drawbacks for the economy and purchasing power of consumers, automation is not the largest culprit. In fact automation does more to lower prices, hold of inflation and works to create higher quality jobs.
The Zeitgeist Movement is another perspective on how we can operate as a society, perhaps on a global scale, in order to sustain ourselves for millennia. Some people have fears that revolve around the perpetual issues created by capitalist societies. Factors like poverty, crime, and other societal issues are exacerbated or that may become unmanageable as time progresses without change. A movement to a more efficient use of natural resources and steps to reduce or eliminate societal issues are the only way to achieve sustainability in the future. These are some of the guiding principles that the Zeitgeist Movement conveys.