The Venus Project has addressed a lot of the frequently-asked questions about a resource-based economy (LINK). Here we answer as best we can the questions we often get asked (and criticisms) about establishing the community and changing our lifestyle in an attempt to exit the monetary system.


English

The current society we live in was never planned and certainly does not prioritise human wellbeing. Although our lifestyle is considered “extreme” by the mainstream, we feel that it is highly preferable to living within the monetary system which has many negative effects on our physical and mental health and our environment and forces the majority of the world´s population to live in poverty. We would prefer to raise our children in an environment that values holistic health and education and teach them skills that help them survive and thrive as individuals rather than be educated to become workers in a system designed to exploit them. There are lots of great parents within the system raising well-adjusted kids who are holistically-educated critical thinkers. However, this is a really tough job when there are so many external influences (from school, friends, media etc.). We believe the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is truer than ever in a time where most of us no longer live with extended family and the increasing pace of city life means we all have less and less time for our families. We believe integrating children into community life is valuable for both the education of the child (who can learn by seeing and doing everyday with their parents and others) as well as for everyone in the community. 

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya

It is unrealistic to believe that the current society can continue on its path of infinite growth on a finite planet. Our vision is simply to design a better society with human development as the metric of success rather than profit. This will be a long-term process, improving step-by-step as we learn as a community and more information is available. There is no end point or fixed goal or complete vision of what a successful/”ideal” society should look like. There may be thousands of solutions and ways of living that are better for certain groups of people. “If you think something is impossible, then it is… for you”.  

Jacque Fresco presents clear arguments on the Venus Project website about why a resource-based economy is neither a utopia nor another form of communism. In summary, “utopia” implies a fixed state of perfection, which is indeed impossible to achieve and assumes that one can know and define what “perfection” is. An RBE society that constantly grows and evolves with its citizens is far more realistic, desirable and achievable. Communism is simply an alternate political system operating within the monetary system, hence the resources distributed to the people and the social structure have the same limitations as the current society. Providing “equality” to all people is not necessarily favourable (equal parts of scarce resources is not ideal). In contrast, an RBE aims to produce abundance, values diversity and respects that not all people have the same needs.    

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya

There are indeed enough resources on the planet to cover the needs of everyone, there is just not enough money for everyone to “prove” they have a right to those resources. The monetary system operates on a model of scarcity where resources or money only have high value if they are rare and access is limited. We only have to look at the abhorrent system of planned obsolescence or the amount of food and usable goods that are thrown away every day in the developed world for reasons of taste, fashion or lack of care, to realise that we could do a lot better in efficiently managing our resources. The concept of ownership creates a lot of waste. Most of our possessions are either not really needed or only used for a very small amount of time. In an RBE, ownership will be phased out as all the required goods and products will be available to anyone who needs them. For example, cars will not be owned, instead used when needed and then returned for someone else to use (like a library). This will mean that fewer resources and products will be required allowing for the needs of all to be met and for everyone to have access to up-to-date products.

A class system where people are stratified into rich and poor may seem normal and natural to us because we are used to this form of social structure. The current system perpetuates the myths that the rich achieve their position because they work harder or are smarter and are required in order to provide employment for the people. No one chooses into which family or country they are born and this environment defines completely what opportunities we have for education, social mobility and employment which in turn affects our health and general wellbeing. Social inequality has been shown to be very harmful (particularly to those on the bottom but also to those on the top) LINK, so it makes sense to try to design a society that provides more equal opportunities for everyone.    

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya

This is a very common question, one of many based on the fear of losing the security and comforts provided (for some) by the monetary system. Unfortunately this is a challenge of life for most of the world´s population (even in a lot of developed countries). We believe that modern society in its current form contributes a lot to the degradation of health and offers more negatives than positives overall. Hence, by living in a conscious way with minimal stress, wholesome food and a supportive environment for physical and emotional growth hopefully we can live heathier lives that will require far less medical intervention. Prevention is indeed better than a cure. In addition we are continuously educating ourselves (and questioning our beliefs related to health) and learning techniques and alternatives (e.g. local herbal medicines) to look after our own health. Modern medicine is of course benefitting from advances in research and technology and there is much to take advantage of. However, like all parts of society, medicine is corrupted by the monetary system (that profits from extensive interventions, testing and medications i.e. treating symptoms, rather than finding cures). Of course there will be cases during the transition where we will need the support of external medical services and depending on the severity and options/resources available we will have to take a personal decision as is the case for most people. In a more developed RBE community we hope to have our own medical facilities.       

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya

It is impossible for a small community to be 100% self-sufficient, e.g. we will never be mining our own minerals or manufacturing computers. We will be operating within a transition period to a resource-based economy, meaning that we will continue to have some dependence on the monetary system for the foreseeable future. Of course our limited reserve of monetary funds will at some point be depleted, at which time we need to seek other means of funding (see “How is the project funded?”). Our initial budget should allow the basic needs of food, water, shelter and energy to be provided at which point day-to-day living costs are extremely low.

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya

We would like the initial long-term/permanent residents to be like-minded people with a similar vision in order for the community to be able to develop in the most efficient way. Eventually we would like to incorporate members of the surrounding communities (especially those suffering from poverty). All potential community members will come to live with us as volunteers (with no commitment on either side), to experience life in the community, get to know each other and explore how we can collaborate. Eventually the community will be listed as a “non-lucrative association” under Peruvian law which will allow us to sponsor people for residency. It will also mean that the land will be “owned” by the association and there will be no concept of personal ownership in the community. If people choose to live in the community their basic needs will be provided for as long as they are there. The community will never ask or expect community members to contribute money or resources, if they choose to do so it will be considered as a donation. We believe the concepts of ownership and money pollute community living and hence we prefer to obtain the resources we need externally so there are no problems between community members (e.g. if they choose to leave).

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya

Entirely for reasons of efficiency. The cost of land and living is much lower than in developing countries which means that it will be much easier for us to achieve a good level of self-sufficiency on a limited budget. Also the level of bureaucracy with respect to planning permissions, building regulations and off-grid living is considerably less than in the developed world where it is very difficult to build e.g. experimental housing or your own energy systems, and where it is even becoming illegal to live off-grid. We also liked the idea of being close to populations who have a lot to gain immediately from any developments in the project. In developing countries people are very comfortable, very embedded in the system and scared they have a lot to lose, and hence often less open to different ways of living. 

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya

Initially the project is being entirely funded by our personal savings. We are aware that we are some of a lucky few who were born into a favourable environment with the opportunities of education and the social mobility to improve our lives and earn a good income. In the early stages we are focusing on becoming as self-sufficient as possible in the shortest amount of time so we can spend time on the project instead of earning money. In the future we will consider applying for funding (government, private, crowd-sourced etc.) for specific projects. We also hope to collaborate with our contacts in the scientific field to provide resources (intellectual and networking as well as money) for research projects.   

on Tuesday May 12 by Kadagaya