Sunday, 18 May 2014

Critique of The Venus Project.

http://www.thevenusproject.com/extras/faq#faqnoanchor


"If we really wish to put an end to our ongoing international and social problems, we must declare Earth and all of its resources the common heritage of all of the world's people."

Agreed! So far so Anarcho-Communist.

" within a Resource Based Economy we will utilize existing resources - rather than money - to provide an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner. It is a system in which all goods and services are available to everyone without the use of money, credits, barter, or any other form of debt or servitude."

"It is a right of every person to be able to have access to the necessities of life,"

So far so Anarcho-Communist.


"

What are some of the detrimental effects of The Monetary System?

There are many disadvantages to using this old method of exchange for goods and services. We will consider just a few here and let you add to this list on your own.
1. Money is just an interference between what one needs and what one is able to get. It is not money that people need, it is access to resources.
2. The use of money results in social stratification and elitism based primarily on economic disparity.
3. People are not equal without equal purchasing power.
4. Most people are slaves to jobs they do not like because they need the money.
5. There is tremendous corruption, greed, crime, embezzlement, and more caused by the need for money.
6. Most laws are enacted for the benefit of corporations, which have enough money to lobby, bribe, or persuade government officials to make laws that serve their interests.
7. Those who control purchasing power have greater influence.
8. Money is used to control the behavior of those with limited purchasing power.
9. Goods such as foods are sometimes destroyed to keep prices up; when things are scarce prices increase.
10. There is tremendous waste of material and strain on available resources from superficial design changes for newer later fads each year in order to create continuous markets for manufacturers.
11. There is tremendous environmental degradation due to the high cost of better methods of waste disposal.
12. The Earth is being plundered for profit.
13. The benefits of technology are only distributed to those with sufficient purchasing power.
14. Most important, when the corporation's bottom line is profit, decisions in all areas are made not for the benefit of people and the environment, but primarily for the acquisition of wealth, property, and power."

So far so Anarcho-Communist.



Criticisms:

  1. "Even with the election of men and women of impeccable character into government, without available resources and advanced technology, war, poverty, and corruption will prevail no matter how many new laws are passed or treaties signed." --- misunderstands the causes of social problems.
  2. "Even with the election of men and women of impeccable character into government, without available resources and advanced technology, war, poverty, and corruption will prevail no matter how many new laws are passed or treaties signed."--- Appeal to the rich.
  3. "as they lose their purchasing power, the very industries that depend on them can no longer function. This will bring an end to the old outworn monetary system. It is not a question of them giving up their industries; it is that their greed will eventually render them obsolete." and "

As the old monetary system begins to displace more and more people by its reliance on automation, these people will cease to respect the authority of industry. The time-honored pattern of living in all industrial countries, the balancing of work and family interest, would become impossible to maintain for the majority of people displaced by automation. As artificial intelligence develops, machines will be assigned the tasks of complex decision-making in industrial, military and governmental affairs. This would not imply a take-over by machines. Instead, it would be a gradual transfer of decision-making processes to machine intelligence as the next phase of social evolution."
" Venus Project can not be put into practice on a global scale until the economic systems of the world fail to provide for the needs of people.
What will bring about the collapse of the world's monetary systems is the infusion of automation and the outsourcing of jobs. This includes not only assembly line workers but also doctors, engineers, architects, and the like. As workers and professionals lose their purchasing power, the industries that depend on them can no longer function. This will bring an end to the monetary system. It is not a question of owners giving up their industries so much as the fact that people will not have the purchasing power to sustain this system. Even the motion picture industry is generating computerized people who will replace many TV announcers and personalities. This breakdown is already well underway on a global scale."
- Naive view of social change
4. Technocratic and techno-utopian. No consideration of negative effects of technology. Naive. "When computers eventually have sensors extended into all areas of the physical and social complex, we will be able to achieve centralization of decision-making." or "Computers and artificial intelligence will serve as catalysts for change. They will establish scientific scales of performance. It is doubtful that in the latter part of the twenty-first century people will play any significant role in decision-making. Eventually, the installation of AI and machine decision-making will manage all resources serving the common good."  Basically an unber Taylorist Technocratic State Capitalism?
5. "An interdisciplinary team of qualified personnel, in line with the project's requirements, will work on automated systems to produce and supply goods and services on a massive scale. These can be the armies of the future, a large peaceful mobilization to restore and preserve the earth and its people. This has never been done before and can only be done when money is no obstacle. The question is not do we have the money, but do we have the resources and means to accomplish this new direction"
6. "The decisions of a transitional government in this environment would be based upon what is needed to reach the goals of a humane, environmentally sound, and technically sustainable society."---- So it will have government then!
7.  A very Technocratic State Capitalist one it seems,  "as to the need for government, only during the transition from a monetary based society to a cybernated high-technological resource based economy of common heritage would it be necessary to utilize the services of systems analysts, engineers, computer programmers, etc. They will not dictate the policies or have any more advantage than other people. Their job will be to carry out the restoration of the environment to near natural conditions as possible on land and in the sea. They will also economically layout the most efficient way to manage transportation, agriculture, city planning, and production. " or "Rather than decentralizing I now believe it is possible, through computer technology and advanced cybernetics, to return to centralization with some advantage." or 

Who makes the decisions in a resource based economy?

No one does. The process of arriving at decisions in this economy would not be based upon the opinions of politicians, corporate, or national interests but rather all decisions would be arrived at based upon the introduction of newer technologies and Earth's carrying capacity. Computers could provide this information with electronic sensors throughout the entire industrial, physical complex to arrive at more appropriate decisions.
8.  Conflates Communism with Leninism and State Capitalism- "

How does The Venus Project Compare with Communism?

Communism being similar to a resource-based economy or The Venus Project is an erroneous concept. Communism has money, banks, armies, police, prisons, charismatic personalities, social stratification, and is managed by appointed leaders. The Venus Project's aim is to surpass the need for the use of money. Police, prisons and the military would no longer be necessary when goods, services, healthcare, and education are available to all people. The Venus Project would replace politicians with a cybernated society in which all of the physical entities are managed and operated by computerized systems. The only region that the computers do not operate or manage is the surveillance of human beings. This would be completely unnecessary and considered socially offensive. A society that uses technology without human concern has no basis of survival. Communism has no blueprint or methodology to carry out their ideals and along with capitalism, fascism, and socialism, will ultimately go down in history as failed social experiments."

9. No theory on the state or on hierarchy or understanding of Technocracy and it's dangers 

What are the safeguards against abuse of power in the society you envision?

In a resource-based economy, we surpass the need for money which is the basis for most corruption. The society we envision makes all goods and services available for everyone without a price tag. This is what the function of government could be, by surpassing the need for politics in the management of human affairs. At present, governmental decisions have always been subject to the influence of the power elite. The cybernated complex would only manage and improve the distribution of resources, to provide clean air, clean water, and all of the amenities that enhance human life. Again, it does not control people or manage the lives of individuals -- on the contrary, it could encourage the development of individual initiative and creativity far beyond that of our present-day money- oriented culture.
There are many who fear the installations of cybernated systems. This fear is unfounded. It is not technology that is to be feared. Our concern should be with the abuse of this technology, rather than with the inanimate technology itself

In this new culture, do you propose to utilize a technical elite that would decide the direction for society?

No. The Venus Project calls for a cybernated society in which computers could replace the outmoded system of electing politicians that, in most cases, represent the entrenched vested interests. Technology will never dictate or monitor individuals' lives, as this would be considered socially offensive and counterproductive. Motion pictures such as 1984, Brave New World, Blade- Runner, and Terminator 2 have spawned fear in some people regarding the takeover of technology in our society. The Venus Project's only purpose is to elevate the spiritual and intellectual potential of all people while also providing the goods and services that will meet their individual material needs.
It has been said that many people employed by private corporations feel they serve in private dictatorships from the moment they step though the door and punch the time clock. The Venus Project, on the other hand, would utilize the best of technology to better the lives of everyone. In the proposed system, the workday will be shortened, thus providing individuals with more leisure time, a healthier life-style, and a stress-free environment.

Fails to answer who would run the technology.


10.  Naive views of Technology


Isn't technology very often detrimental to people and the cause of many of our problems?

Regarding your concerns about technology bringing out aberrant behavior, note that whether we like it or not, we are depending more and more on technology. Our concern is about whether technology will be used in a society like the one we have now, which is abusive to people, or in one where it can free people and provide them with more constructive options. The scenario you gave sounded like the dictatorial futures artists put forth when they know little about technology. If The Venus Project does not generate a warm, loving, and supportive environment, it will not work. Society would not be organized so as to be subservient to machines but rather, machines would enhance people's lives. We view machines as extensions of our human capabilities. You don't see people getting mad at their washing machines or refrigerators because they are afraid they might take over. Massive construction machines eliminate the need for thousands to toil with low-tech hand tools. I don't think anyone would object to that unless it meant, as it does today, that some may lose their income.
The system we advocate may never be perfect, but it would be a tremendous improvement over the way we organize the provision of goods and services today. It would be an emergent system continuously improving and developing new resources for research to further the process.




Anarchism: 
 No hierarchy especially no States/ no capitalism/ no patriarchy etc.
Revolution not reformism.
Direct Democracy.



Venus Project:
The problem is the monetary economy.
The solution is Communism(?) or something like it.
This can only happen in the breakdown of society.
Assumes social breakdown will only be positive.
No consideration of hierarchy or capitalism etc.
No theory of the state.
No theory of revolution.
Seems very much like Utopian Socialism that Marx criticized. Sounds like Fourier or something.

Conclusion:-  The Venus Project is an unsophisticated naive weak watered down version  of something like  Anarcho-Communism or more similiar to the Utopian Socialism of Fourier.

I agree with maybe about 30-40% of it's critique of existing society and agree with about 10% or so of it's proposal for a new society but Anarchism is better.

The Venus Project has confused goals, misunderstands the problems so has misunderstandings in what solutions we should seek. It will be ineffective insofar as it does not advocate revolution.




Anarchist Critiques of Zeitgeist/ Venus Project:-


http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/anonymous-the-problem-with-zeitgeist



The Zeitgeist Movement - A Libertarian Socialist Critique -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SZT7MZop44


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