Much attention is being paid to the resource-based economy (RBE) these days. With websites such as www.moneylesseconomy.com, and a plethora of Facebook pages and Facebook groups, Google Chats, and more, more people seem to be looking at the resource-based economy. Or maybe I’m just tuned into these conversations more today than before I started Copiosis two years ago. Whatever the reason, it seems clear the RBE as a concept has received global emotional support.
It should receive widespread support, if only for its longevity—it’s been around twenty years or so. The RBE, as far as I’m concerned can be the future of humanity—where we are living free of poverty, most crime, governments, money, pollution, war and such, and where colonizing planets is commonplace as is space travel. Any future like that must include an economy similar to or identical to the RBE. It’s just too expensive to do such things in an economy where we always have to ask how much it will cost and where the utopian activities listed above must compete with other short-term priorities—putting food on the table, paying debts, seeing that next blockbuster or sporting event, or buying a new boat.
That said, I see major challenges getting from what we have today to a full-blown RBE. I know many RBE supporters are frustrated by existing plans and a seeming lack of action. Maybe that’s why there are concerted efforts by former Venus Project (TVP) volunteers to kickstart a transition at the grass roots and why some Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) members are scratching their heads wondering why it’s taking so long to get something happening.
Having read transition plans laid out by TVP (you can read their transition plan yourself at Question 12) I disbelieve society can go from what we have today straight to a resource-based economy as envisioned either by TVP or The Zeitgeist Movement. I believe both Jacque Fresco and Peter Joseph agree that we can’t take the direct approach. Even though TVP has a plan that includes movies, demonstration cities, and amusement parks, and even if they do successfully raise the money to build those things, their plan doesn’t include specific steps for dealing with many challenges, challenges that can not be glossed over or addressed by such major initiatives, challenges we have solved in Copiosis, to whit:
Reducing all debt to zero and compensating debt-instrument holders for the value of that debt. The value of world debt today is about $230 trillion. That debt represents a lot of wealth and value to the note holders. How will the holders of such value be compensated when RBEs don’t account for such value (as far as I can see)?
Clearing debtors of the debt obligation once debt is eliminated. Except for special cases such as Jubilee and bankruptcy laws, it is difficult for people and entities to free themselves of debt, especially asset-secured debt, when that debt represents wealth to others. Many of our large consumer purchases, at least in Western countries, are secured by such debt. Our debt for our houses, cars, boats, planes, business assets, and land are all secured by that thing we incurred the debt for in the first place. “How can I keep my farm,” asks the farmer, “if in reality my farm is owned by the bank as a secured asset to the debt I owe?”
Compensating asset owners for the value of those assets as they are employed to benefit humanity. How do we, in transitioning to an RBE, compensate people’s investments in assets we’re going to use in making things for people for free? “I am part of a conglomerate of investors who have collectively invested $130 million in a business park in Menlo, Calif., and two high-rise luxury apartments in Manhattan. The investment creates an income stream for me and my fellow investors that will partially fund our retirement quite nicely. A prime component of RBEs is there is no income. Do my co-investors and I have to forego that future income to support transition to an RBE? What about our original investment? What about our standard of living?”
Motivating generations of people who have learned to derive value (in terms of wealth) in return for work, work that is life-threatening and hard, to now continue to make such contributions in an RBE world or near-transitioned RBE world even though they will not receive compensatory value. Imagine a brawny man in a miner’s cap approaching you: “I’m a coal miner. I don’t love my job all that much. It’s shit, it’s all I know, and my family has done it for generations. I do love the people I work with though. They’re more than family. The job puts food on the table. Now you say the work I’m doing has no value anymore because ‘alternative energies’ are better for society? Fuck you! There are still plenty of families here that depend on what I pull out of the ground to heat their homes. How are you going to heat those family’s homes, the schools, the libraries over the years it takes you to ‘transition’ to your fancy fucking new economic system? Especially with these more intense, colder winters??? Good luck, pal!“
Successfully soothing business owners who have put their lives into building their existing empires. Next, in comes a well-dressed CEO type: “Wait. You’re telling me something I can’t believe. My dad built this oil business after taking it over from his dad and his dad before. So you’re telling me you want me to give control of my family’s company over to a bunch of dreamers so that you can make the world a better place? You gotta be nuts! And I’m saying it that way because I’m wearing a suit, and you’re in my boardroom, in New York. If we were back in Texas, instead of talking, I’d be getting a rope!”
Successfully preserving the value of the wealthy one percent so they enthusiastically go along with such plans. Imagine someone like Russian minerals tycoon Roman Abramovich coming in next: “So what you’re saying is all my money is worthless? So how do I acquire that next generation Boeing Business Jet I want? Or the M/Y Eclipse 2 I’m planning to commission this summer? Sorry, I’m not going for that at all. I don’t care how many people you feed.”
There are a lot more challenges than these six. Since the RBE, as far as I know, does not include any kind of objective value exchange, there is no way to accomplish these six challenges before, during, or after the transition short of telling people like these to suck it up for the good of the whole. Unless something like Copiosis is implemented between where we are now and the transition to a fully blown RBE world, I’m not certain RBE proponents can get people like those parodied above on our side.
Understand, I am a strong proponent of the resource-based economy. As I have said many times in public, in private, and in my writings, I believe Copiosis is nothing more than a bridging technology, enabling humanity to successfully transition to the RBE through a deliberate, total, systemic evolution. But it is a critical bridge. In my opinion, it is the only reasonable path that fits the context the majority is familiar with.
I think the majority of people in the world today are not able to grasp the ideas of an RBE as a real, potential reality. I think this may be because they are used to exchanging their effort for value, and they love the dream of becoming rich that sustains them. They are used to some standard measure of value represented as a currency they can use to buy things they need and want. Copiosis, while offering everything an RBE offers—and in some cases more—offers all the things people are used to, but does it in a way far better for society and the planet than capitalism.
Here are six reasons why Copiosis (acknowledging my bias) represents the best transition strategy for making an RBE our global reality:
Copiosis is specifically designed to get us there. As I said, Copiosis is a bridging technology. It naturally, easily creates the context for humanity to evolve to the point where a global RBE is an “of course” outcome. Because necessities—food, clothing, education, housing, and healthcare—are provided at no cost to all, people no longer need to work as hard as they do now, freeing up more time for leisure and self-exploration and advancement. For those who believe in the idea that technology is destroying jobs, Copiosis offers an outstanding solution to questions about how we’ll meet our needs if we can’t earn a living due to automation. Copiosis is not waiting for a future event or land acquisition. We are rolling out demonstration projects right now in ordinary communities. Those projects are already causing people to change deeply held beliefs that must change if humanity is going to adopt RBEs in the future. That doesn’t mean they’re willing to give up money in favor of the future. For better or worse we still value how money works in our lives. Copiosis’s net-benefit reward, which represents a systemic way of motivating people to do things for others, is an excellent replacement of all forms of currency on the planet. It performs far better than money because of its inherent design, and it still gives people the experience of a medium of exchange. Explaining this is beyond the scope of this post. This post I wrote explains NBR in pretty good detail if you want some background.
No one loses financial wealth in Copiosis. This is extremely important and overlooked by nearly everyone calling for the RBE. While the 99 percent is numerically superior, the one percent pretty much controls everything we need to make the transition happen. If a transition to the RBE occurs, it must have the support of the one percent. Any other approach is bound to be not fun. Copiosis benefits everyone, including the one percent. It actually makes the one percent (and everyone else) richer, while making that wealth and any existing wealth they have powerless. A major, but false, complaint about Copiosis is making the one percent richer will enable them to gain more power through asset acquisition. This outcome is not possible. Neither is it possible to hoard things to the degree such acts deprive others. I can explain why, but it would be too detailed for this post.
Transitioning is gentle. You keep your house, your boat, and your car, and your debts disappear. Copiosis promises no government, no financial sector, no corporate entities, while innovation is unconstrained by laws, regulations, or lack of capital, there is almost no crime, and debt holders are completely and totally compensated enabling asset owners to retain their assets free and clear. We have plans in place to work with government agencies, the financial sector, and political leaders so the transition path is smooth and enjoyable for everyone. The transition is a never-before-attempted endeavor and will require participation by everyone to succeed. Copiosis has plans underway right now to engage every member of society, including religious believers, bigots, right-wingers, and people on the left. Everyone benefits from a transition to Copiosis. No one is excluded. This is a major advantage of moving first to Copiosis instead of trying to go straight to an RBE.
Copiosis can be implemented in stages. In the years leading up to the transition and in the years after the transition begins, life must go on. People will still need a way to obtain what they need and want. Copiosis allows life to continue, but in a far better way and with relatively little disruption to going directly to an RBE. Unlike the RBE, Copiosis can be done gradually, allowing, for example, many necessities to be provided for everyone (in a single nation) without having the full-blown system in place. I’m particularly thrilled by this, as I didn’t believe it was possible, but now I’m seeing it beginning to emerge. Such incremental implementation can be HIGHLY motivating for people who don’t see possibility until is happening in their backyard among their friends and neighbors.
People are more familiar with Copiosis conceptually than an RBE. Elements of our solution—NBR, luxuries, necessities, the payer administration, volunteerism, stigmergy—are either part and parcel of capitalism or are new emerging aspects of it. There is far less culture shock considering stepping into Copiosis than making the leap to an RBE.
Our innovation is working right now. All of the above conclusions are not speculation. They are conclusions from watching how our now three demonstration projects are coming together. While we wait for the RBE to emerge—in intentional communities, hopeful amusement parks, or demonstration cities in which feasibility will be tested—Copiosis’s demonstration projects are happening now, run by ordinary people in ordinary communities. More will be coming online as our success builds on our success.
I will reiterate in case you’ve forgotten: I am all in favor of the RBE. I see it as the natural step for humanity. But I see it coming after Copiosis succeeds. For me, it’s not about Copiosis competing with TVP, TZM, or the RBE as a concept. It actually is enabling the future vision so many people have said they want. If you’re in favor of the RBE, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be in favor of Copiosis as the transition strategy both TVP and TZM have been looking for. If you aren’t in favor of what we’re doing, I’d be interested in hearing why.