We’re going to need money to make the resource-based economy (RBE) a reality, though not as much as you think.
I’m perplexed when social activists scoff at the idea of needing money to make something happen. Where do they think we live?
Others get puzzled into inaction or apathy by the amount of money they think necessary. I’m perplexed by these people too, until I realize few people actually know how things go from “idea” to “overnight success”.
Here’s why the RBE will not happen until the idea is “fed” money.
You need people working on it full time. I’m equally perplexed by people who think volunteers are going to make something as substantial as the RBE our global reality.
The path to the RBE is easy, but complex. The path to the RBE must wind through capitalist society as well as mental paradigms billions of people have about society. Human society is full of people, like you, who may believe the RBE can be our reality.
It is overflowing though with far more people who don’t believe the RBE is possible, who believe capitalism is just fine, who believe that while capitalism is terrible, it’s the best we have.
There are far more people who would prefer watching a baseball game, reality television, or enjoying dinner with their kids than considering some new idea. They’re too busy living, making a living, paying bills.
Reaching all these different people requires people working full-time, focusing all their energy on reaching these people. Volunteers alone don’t have the time, energy, or sophistication to make this happen, which brings me to my next point. Like everyone else, volunteers have families, bills and other financial needs. Many volunteers, while well-meaning, don’t possess relevant skills, let along dispositions resilient to long timelines and short-term disappointments.
Which brings me to the next reason:
You need SMART, CAPABLE people working on it full time. Hear me out. I’m not saying people currently working in The Venus Project (TVP) and The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) are dumb. The sophisticated nature of the transition path requires effectiveness in critical skill areas.
Promotion, branding, outreach, communication, design, leadership, salesmanship, persuasiveness and grace under fire are just some of the tangible skills. It also requires people who have a sufficient emotional quotient to operate with others at peak proficiency (see the Tuckman Model for more on this). Nearly all these people are either gainfully employed now, want to be, or going to be.
They have mouths to feed, including their own. They won’t put their life on hold while working for free or meager wages when they could command good-paying salaries working for The Man. They may not like the work, but such work pays the bills and then some.
If you want these smart people working full-time, dedicating their skills and aptitudes, you’re going to have to pay them.
Another reason the RBE needs money involves choosing. The options are . . .
Fast, cheap, effective—pick two. Wonder why it’s taking so long for the RBE to happen? Here’s why: you can’t EFFECTIVELY make something happen QUICKLY, on the CHEAP, let alone free. Oh, don’t get me wrong, you can reach a ton of earlyvangelists by word of mouth.
But if you want to reach average people, overcome their apathy, get them off the couch to do something, you’re going to need smart people coming up with effective ways to do that. That doesn’t come cheap. Money used well can (but not always) shorten the time it takes to make something happen.
You need great leadership. Not only do you need skilled people in the trenches making things happen, you need a core group led by a really great leader, preferably the Servant Leader variety.
That person must, among a large amount of other things, understand where things are going moment-by-moment and how they relate to the larger transition picture. That person needs to be able to lead a group in a way so that people don’t jump ship because of poor leadership style, communication, organizational stagnation, or what-have-you.
That person must build a succession plan and a resiliency plan all while driving forward the transition plan. She must be able to read the global environment—the way things are—accurately and continually modify the transition picture to stay on course. And he or she must also be able to calmly, confidently represent the entire movement before a wide variety of audiences while honoring all people on the planet.
It’s going to take everyone to make the RBE happen—Jew, Christian, Moslem, Sikh, Japanese, women, trans people, gay people, young people, atheists, the one percent, conservatives, liberals . . . everyone! The transition needs someone who gets all these people, sees them as they see themselves.
Such a leader aren’t waiting for a phone call opportunity. Nearly all of them are already in action on their own thing, driving that thing’s success as a reflection of their passion, or they’re making millions leading large organizations.
You need resources. Our transition plan at Copiosis requires a tremendous amount of resources that will not be given for free. We’re going to need printing, IT services and equipment, pens, paper, musicians, actors, playwrights, stage directors, technical writers, editors, photographers, tables, office space, and more. As I have said on our social page on Facebook the transition to the RBE is SERIOUS BUSINESS.
Every business needs money.
You may cringe at the idea of business making the RBE happen. That’s your prerogative. What I know is that the majority of things that happen in capitalism happen because someone has a great idea, then creates an organization to make that thing happen. More often than not, successful things are made via commercial enterprise. All commercial enterprises are businesses of one form or another.
You need to convince those in charge. In my opinion, volunteers, mass demonstrations, passive resistance, and all that will in no way make the RBE happen, because to make it happen, you must convince those in charge (the 1%) to go along with the plan. Convincing these people is actually easy, but that’s another matter.
The challenge with that “easy” task is it will take a LOT of money (but not as much as you think). That’s because part of the convincing means you can demonstrate that a sizable minority of the global population is behind you. You can’t get a sizable minority behind you unless you can reach Joe and Jane Average. And you can’t reach the Averages unless you can catch their attention. You can’t get their attention unless you’ve got something entertaining and worth their time, something proven. You need smart people with sharp skills to create something worth their time.
Beginning to see the circular picture?
Is profit evil?
Before I get to explaining just how little money is needed to make the RBE happen, I want to address a knee-jerk reaction some RBE supporters express about business and profit.
Let’s talk bout what “for profit” means. It means the organization is organized to maximize a specific outcome in a particular way. That outcome is “profit” or, more accurately, net income.
Net income is money left over after all accounts and expenses of running the business are covered, including taxes.
Just because an organization is organized for profit doesn’t mean it always generates net income, nor does it mean the company is inherently bad.
Employee-owned, for-profit companies, for example, distribute all their net income to the owners (the employees). There are other for-profit companies that plow all net income (aka “profits”) back into the operation.
If you hate business because of the profit motive, it may interest you to know that “nonprofits” also generate net income. Many of them don’t because they’re run inefficiently, lacking the discipline of a business. Those that do generate net income use it to benefit nonprofit shareholders (the public) when net income is used to expand programs, add staff, and acquire assets.
“Profit” isn’t negative or inherently bad. It actually indicates something quite valuable—that the organization’s leadership is running the organization (nonprofit or for profit) so efficiently that there’s money left over after all operations are paid for. That is a good thing.
It is my experience that for-profit companies are the best at efficiently using their resources for producing value for customers and shareholders, usually in that order. So to knee-jerkingly say “for profit” is inherently bad says more about the person having the reaction than anything accurate about what for profits do or what “profit” is.
Landmark Education, is a highly successful, global for-profit company. It operates quietly behind the scenes, with little fanfare. However Landmark Education pretty much single-handedly transformed human relationships and boosted human potential since the 70s. It’s graduates literally changed our reality as a result of the “technology” Landmark Education offers for a fee and at a profit.
The founder, Werner Erhard, organized Landmark Education as a for-profit because he knows what I do—that it is the most efficient organizational structure for accomplishing a commercial objective. And since money sits at center of capitalist societies, all objectives are commercial.
Some RBE supporters and social activists “fighting” the status quo, argue nonprofits are the preferred organizational structure. I don’t understand why they say this. Because they don’t generate “evil” profits?
But what about accomplishing the mission? Who cares if people earn a good living if they actually solve hunger, poverty, drunk driving, child abuse, or human trafficking, rather than perpetuating a bunch of jobs “addressing” these problems?
Name five nonprofits off the top of your head that have gone out of business because they have actually accomplished their social mission. I doubt you can.
Nonprofits are woefully inefficient. Very few have viable solutions, so they focus instead on advocacy, treating symptoms, or making matters worse in some overseas nonprofit initiatives.
I make no apologies for Copiosis being for-profit for many of these reasons. My commitment as the founder of this organization is any net income will be celebrated, then used in a way that benefits the mission. That could be unique performance bonuses for employees, or increased spending for mission-oriented needs.
We’re going to need billions
Speaking of spending, let’s get back to the money. How much money will be needed to make the RBE a reality? It’s hard to say. Probably billions. But here’s the thing about this number, and many don’t realize this because they don’t understand how things get done in capitalism, and especially in capitalist America:
You don’t need billions of dollars all at once.
Any well-run organization serious about making the resource-based economy a reality will have as a main strategy becoming a self-funding operation. That means the organization will offer something to the public they are willing to pay for which perpetuates the mission (making the RBE happen), while generating revenue to run the organization. This is a tricky balance, and it’s what we have built into our transition plan.
There’s a chasm, however, that all young organizations operating in capitalism face. It’s getting from where the organization is now to the point where revenues from its operations sustain the operation. Usually in business, this chasm is bridged by investors.
People provide money to the organization to fuel the business’s “start up” costs, in “return” for a share of the profits (there’s that word again!) down the line. The trouble with organizations like TZM, TVP, and Copiosis, is that most traditional investors aren’t willing to give their money for something which offers no share of the upside.
Did you catch the key word there? The key word is “most”. In reality, some people will make such an investment, with no expectation of a return other than the good feeling of having invested in something they believe is worth the money. Some is all you need. So the key here is offering these people something that’s worth their money.
Another way to raise the “start-up” money requires more effort. That approach requires going to everyday people, people who will benefit tremendously from the RBE happening and getting them to see and then believe the promise.
Rather than asking a few rich people for a lot of money, in this approach you ask a lot of people for a little money. This bears repeating: You have to offer something they believe is worth the money.
At Copiosis we’ve set up a page on Patreon.com. We chose Patreon because it allows people to become patrons of the work. For as little as $2 a month, anyone can support the real progress we’re making as we head down our transition path to the RBE. That “real progress” includes demonstration projects which proved Copiosis can work, an algorithm and software that distributed Net Benefit Rewards to actual participants, and growing numbers of people who believe so strongly in what we’re doing they’re willing to give us something more important than their money: their time.
There are advantages Patreon has over other crowdfunding sites I won’t get into. The point is, our transition plan includes this site for specific, strategic reasons that support everything else we’re doing to make the RBE a reality, including everything in this post.
So how much money will it need?
In the short term, defined as the first five years post-money (post-money means after the money is “in” the organization), about $5 million dollars. I’m laughing as I look at that sentence I just wrote. I’m laughing because I know already that many readers don’t have a clear understanding of what $5 million is. They think it’s a lot of money.
It’s actually not that much at all.