Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Vision of the Future: Possibility or Mere Fantasy?

Philosophy & Religion

Goods, services, and information will be free, and war, waste, poverty, crime, and corruption will be non-existent. Such is the Venus Project's vision of the future, a vision conceptualized by Jacque Fresco in the mid-80s and currently being revived via YouTube. The project's goal is to improve society through a resource-based economy buoyed by science and technology. The basic assumption is that we have the technological and scientific capability to build a great civilization and that we have sufficient resources to make life in this world better for all. Is this just another utopian idea? Not according to Jacque Fresco. He sees this an emerging and evolving culture.

According to the Venus Project, to make this new culture a reality, what is needed is a redesigning of culture and an application of more appropriate values to solve our problems. Applying old and outmoded values and institutions to solve current problems will simply not work. One such institution, war, is not pragmatic but is violent and crude, and an inefficient approach to resolving our problems. It seeks to control resources and in no way advances the dignity of humans. Its goal is essentially profit. Further, the Venus Project maintains that our social problems such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, and unemployment will remain insurmountable as long as a few nations control most of the earth's resources, with the bottom-line being profit over the well-being of people.

Also contributing to our problems is our current economic system. Our economic system relies on scarcity as a system. To ensure a full functioning economy products must be constantly sold.  Products must be designed to break down on schedule (planned obsolescence) in order to maintain demand. This results in waste of resources and energy and in the plundering of the planet.

The Venus Project's analysis of the current situation in our world is indeed excellent, and the vision of the future it presents is both palatable and captivating, but I wonder if this is not just another impossible-to-achieve utopia.  What is not quite clear is how that vision can become a reality. The "how" is presented with sweeping brush strokes and generalities, with little specifics. Nonetheless, that which the Project presents is indeed compelling. Click here to watch the YouTube documentary.

[Photographic Art by Dr. Clyde Morrison]