Resource based economy will ‘eliminate government as we know it’- Zeitgeist Movement advocate
Grant J. Kidney — The following is my exclusive interview with Douglas Mallette, author, systems engineer, and strong proponent of the aims and objectives of the Zeitgeist Movement.
Mallette pushes for the removal of money from human culture outright and the establishment of a global, ‘resource based economy’ (or ‘RBE’ for short). The following interview questions were custom tailored to deal specifically with how the implementation of a resource based economy would help to solve a good majority of the social as well as environmental ills felt round about the globe today.
GJK: Who is Douglas Mallette and what draws him to the Zeitgeist Movement?
DM: Sheesh, what a question. This may be a long reply. I am a husband, father, Star Wars geek, published author, public speaker, and a Systems Engineer that’s been formally educated with my Bachelors in Engineering Technology, Space Systems. I’m a former Systems Engineer with the Space Shuttle Program who has a strong passion for space exploration, all of the technologies that have been developed from it, and how those developments can be used to improved the lives of people in space and on Earth. To that end, I am also the CEO of my company, Cybernated Farm Systems, a company dedicated to using technology to help solve one of the largest problems we should NOT have in the 21st century, starvation.
As for what brought me to TZM (The Zeitgeist Movement), that’s a more detailed story. Grab a cup of coffee if you need too. When I was in college, I saw the first Zeitgeist film because of some random blog I saw online. I thought the film was interesting, it had some holes in it, it seemed to lean too much on Conspiracy Theory for my taste, but gave me enough nuggets to chew on for a while. It did not spark some major fire in me though.
Still, there was no Movement yet. The first film is not the Movement. The first film was an art piece by a guy who wanted to vent his frustration in a cathartic way. It just so happened that many, many people resonated with it. My real involvement with TZM started after I watched Addendum, the Zeitgeist 2nd film. It was more coherent and offered a solution option at the end…The Venus Project (TVP). As an engineer, more specifically a space geek engineer, what TVP offered as a solution option made complete sense to me right away. Why? Because what they described as a Resource Based Economy (RBE) is exactly how a Mars or Lunar base would HAVE to operate in order to maintain the lives of the astronauts that lived there. For me, it was a, “No duh,” moment, and that is when the light bulb went on.
TZM (mainly just a forum website at the time) offered a way to talk with other people who also understood the implications of what was being put on the table. It was called a movement, but wasn’t really a movement, if you know what I mean. It was basically just a forum, and that was a nice start. Then I started to notice that many people we’re not willing to try and digest a nearly 3 hour long film. So, I made my own, a 30 minute film called Awakening that boils down the idea in a very easy to understand way that is also short and to the point. I jokingly told my father when I posted it on Youtube that I’d be lucky if it was seen by 40 people the entire month. Well, it was viewed by nearly 400 a day for weeks. That film resonated in a way I never dreamed of, and that film is what made me somewhat “popular” (I hate that word, but it fits) around TZM circles.
Since then I’ve given lectures around the world on topics that link with the RBE mindset, mainly Global Sustainability. TZM people step up to help make those lectures happen, but I do not solely fly under the flag of just TZM. TZM is a group, a convenient label people can associate with, but I more prefer to lecture about the ideas TZM advocates, and give people the opportunity to see that there are many groups around the world (not just TZM) that are pushing towards a more sustainable future for mankind.
GJK: What is a resource based economy and how does it differ from other governing theories currently in practice today?
DM: Wow, that’s going to be a fun one to tackle without writing a book on it.
Step one, let’s look at what economy is supposed to mean, its definition. Economy: thrifty management; frugality in the expenditure or consumption of money, materials, etc. An act or means of thrifty saving; a saving.
Thrift and savings, things that are completely counter to what we actually practice today. All you hear about in the news is economic growth…growth…growth. And that growth is based on cyclical consumption, constantly buying things and using resources. Constant consumption on a finite planet doesn’t sound very thrifty to me. It sounds suicidal.
The RBE system makes use of one major thing, that we have technically outgrown our old world modes of operation. All of the old world ‘isms no longer hold relevance. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, etc. are representatives of an old age. We are past all of that now and have no need to revisit them anymore. The parameters have changed, but we’re still playing the same old game, throwing out the same old accusations and assumptions, despite the new conditions.
The RBE is designed to use the Scientific Method for human concern, as a means to address the Biological and Quality of Life needs for the entire human species, on a sustainable, abundant and ecologically sound level. When we address those needs using our amazing innovations, that has some serious consequences with the economic models we use today.
Okay, so what does all that mean? Biological Needs: Air, Food, Water, Sleep & Medical Care. These are the things people need to exist. Without these, people cannot live. Quality of Life Needs: Shelter, Clothing, Education, Energy, Transportation & Communication. These are the things that make life easier than just bare minimum existence. There’s a side bar to these that is just as important, but not as direct. These are indirect needs I call Necessities for a Sound Mind and Social State: Personal Purpose, Recreation & Community (Love, Passion, Hobbies, Pursuits, Family, Friends, Colleagues, etc.) Sometimes people forget about evolutionary biology, especially with regards to the fact that humans are independent yet coexistent creatures. We need each other to live. Mankind has never been so excessively independent that we can do everything alone and survive. If we tried that, we’d die off, plain and simple. We live in communities and we have friends and families for a reason.
Anyway, the operating procedures that give us all of our scientific and technical advancements (the Scientific Method) follow a specific set of rules and checks, ways to help get rid of bias and waste, and get right to solving problems using sustainable, long term solution sets that come from our scientific and technical knowledge. Science constantly pokes at itself to try and break its own understandings, hoping to find better understandings. In the same way, the RBE is an emergent style system that will constantly update itself as we grow and learn, unlike an establishment style system that holds onto things out of some nostalgic devotion, no matter how out of date they may be.
Now some people may say, “Hey, I don’t want technology running my life.” Not to be rude, but that’s a naive statement. Humans have been inventing technologies to make their life easier since the dawn of man. When it gets too warm in your house, do you run to the window and hand crank a fan to cool it down? Of course not. You have a piece of technology called a thermostat that has the ability to read the temperature of your home, and it will automatically turn on your air conditioner (yet another piece of technology) to cool your house to whatever temperature you set. And I could go down the list of technologies that provide the energy you need to run all that, but I won’t, suffice to say this one thing: There is enough sustainable clean energy potential on this planet to cover every human being and more at a “first world” level, but when classic old world energy is a multi-billion dollar boon to GDP and politicians, it’s no wonder that potential is not being tapped immediately so that the planet generates 200% more power than it actually needs. The RBE does nothing more than take what we already have and actually USE it in the right way so that all people have access and can benefit from those advancements.
The RBE is about maximizing the potential of our natural resources so that the things we need to live are made to be as sustainable and long lasting as possible, and at the very minimum, are easy to upgrade or recycle when we advance past their use. We don’t do that at all in today’s world. It’s NOT profitable to build a widget that can last 200 years and be easily upgraded in pieces, because then how would you sell next years “model?”
Then you have the amount of resources that are wasted making “dollar store” knockoffs of products simply to cater to a poorer demographic. The same natural resources that go into making a cheap cell phone also go into its expensive counterpart, but the cheap one is much more likely to break in a few months because it’s made to a lesser standard, or just made poorly. And when it breaks, it just gets tossed into a land fill to rot. Great use of resources. Or you have overt duplication. 100 different versions of phones when people would actually tend to gravitate to a basic 5 to 10 models. There’s a reason why the most popular phones are almost all exactly the same. The cell phone example is but one of thousands when you look at how many terrible products are made (or duplicated) that end up wasting resources on a magnitude that’s unconscionable. We don’t have a resource availability issue, we have a resource use issue.
Plus today you have marketing and advertising that work very hard on psychological profiling, dedicated to convincing people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, because they now feel insecure about themselves because they don’t have the latest and greatest “whatever.”
With all that said, the main reason why the RBE is even viable today is dominantly based in our technical and scientific advancement, specifically in the realm of computers and robotics over just the last 30 years. Yes, technological unemployment is real, whether people want to admit it or not. Why use humans who require breaks, lunch, can get sick, have families they want to spend time with, who need wage to live, when you can use a machine that can replace 10 people, and will be 10 times faster and more accurate than a human ever would? Yes, you need 1 or 2 technicians now to manage the machine every now and then, so you’ve gone from 10 to 2 on the “human labor requirement” scale. That’s a difficult pill to swallow when our entire socioeconomic system is based on human labor for income, income to buy things to live. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Sound familiar?
This train of thought leads to an inevitable conclusion. A more efficient operating system for the people on this planet will drastically reduce the need for human labor, making it impossible for people to make money, which of course puts a severe strain on how people are supposed to survive. The current economic system CAN’T be that efficient and sustainable, because if it was, we’d have 85% unemployment, but we’d still be able to make all the products necessary for people to live and live well. It’s just that no one would be able to afford anything. That’s a huge flaw we can no longer turn a blind eye too.
When you have a highly efficient system that can create an abundance of our Biological and Quality of Life needs, and it can operate mainly with automated technologies, you erode the need for wage slaves, thereby eroding the need for money at all. Do you pay for air? No. Why? Because it’s abundantly available and no one can hold it for ransom to sell it to you later. Thanks to our technical innovations, food, energy and everything else can also be made abundant, using local production and distribution systems, effectively DECENTRALIZING production.
Side note: Centralization is ridiculous. It’s a choke on society and is inefficient. The International Space Station does not have one central computer running everything. It has many computer systems spread out, working together, sharing information, so that if one error occurs, back up systems would be able to jump right in and prevent a serious problem. Decentralizing production and making things more locally abundant gives people more access, more freedom, and more knowledge as to where their “stuff” comes from. An educated public is the enemy to anyone who would want to control them. The RBE system is designed to maximize the education levels of every man, woman and child on this Earth.
GJK: Explain one way the common Joe would directly benefit from the implementation of a resource based economy.
DM: No bills, no taxes, drastically reduced crime (since about 90% of all crime is based on money), no financial problems, abundant access to food, shelter, clothing, transport anywhere in the world, energy…oh wait, you said just one? Sorry. Okay. Unlimited free access to an education, giving Joe the ability to do exactly what he wants to do with his life, knowing that his choice of “work” won’t have any impact on his high standard of living. Joe can now live to work, instead of work to live, giving him the ability to pursue his personal passion, whether it’s art, science, entertainment, or whatever. Joe is now a human being that lives to better himself, enrich himself, instead of being a slave to money, debt and the day to day hope that tomorrow “might” be better.
How many people out there are someone, or know someone, who goes to work at a job, or jobs, they don’t really like just to pay the bills, but then they come home and spend time and money on a hobby they truly enjoy. In the RBE, that hobby would BE what they do all day. They would be able to get the education necessary to be experts in their hobby, which in the long run would benefit themselves and society at the same time.
GJK: How would you convince those fearful of a ‘one world government’ to accept the basic tenets of a resource based economy?
DM: This one is easy, and I kind of eluded to it before. The RBE system would drastically REDUCE and all but eliminate government as we know it. The RBE system is about the open source sharing of knowledge and information to all people, all over the world, such that nothing is held back for differential advantage. Large government represents a failure to address the needs of the people. A law is a poor solution by uneducated people to try and solve a problem on paper, without actually trying to solve a problem in reality. As an example, laws against drunk driving…or why not have automated cars that drive themselves, using GPS, laser guidance and amazing computer systems to get people around without any incident at all…ever. Just google Autonomous Car and you’ll see how far that actually has come. Oh, and when your transportation is that efficient and you remove human error from the picture, bye-bye insurance companies.
A properly run society does not need some “big brother” over their shoulder (government or corporation) making sure they are behaving. A proper society will create a living condition that makes it stupid to steal, pointless to swindle and irrational to fight over that which is abundantly available to everyone.
GJK: Many suggest that overpopulation could ultimately lead to a collapse of human industrial civilization. How would a resource based economy manage rising population levels and at the same time, ensure that there are enough resources to go around?
DM: Excellent question. The overpopulation issue is one many people think they are experts on, but the real truth is that people don’t understand one vital point when it comes to overpopulation. First world nations do not overpopulate. The fertility rate of nations with a good standard of living, like medical care, educational systems, etc., roughly maintain a 2 to 1 ratio. Balance. Conversely, the fertility rates of poor regions of the world that have little to no medical care options, little to no educational options, etc. have a ratio of 7 to 1. The statistics on this are easy enough to find online.
Why is this the case? Well, it’s pretty simple really. When you have a good life, and you are busy advancing yourself, and you know that your children are all but certain to survive past the age of 5, then you simply have less kids. You don’t have to have 10 kids and hope some of them survive to take care of you when you get older. In fact, you may choose to have no kids at all. However, there are no safety nets in the impoverished world. There is only stress, strife, famine, lack of education, lack of medical care, and a severe mistreatment of women. The emancipation of women in the 3rd world would go a long way to quelling the population issues, because when a woman is in charge of her own body, she controls whether or not she wants children.
In the RBE, the entire planet will be at a high standard of living, even better than what the 1st world has even now, so the issue of overpopulation goes out the window when you realize what the actual causes are and you see that the RBE would passively remove those causes by default.
GJK: Explain how a global resource based economy would remove those currently seated atop the artificial social pyramid.
DM: I would not use the word ‘remove.’ No one would be removed. They would just be made irrelevant. We give people power in today’s world because we’re saddled with enough on our plates as it is. It’s hard enough to survive thanks to this system. Some people have gamed the system and used that gift of power to put themselves in a position where they probably think they are gods. In time, as the world moves towards a better way of life, those in control will find that their influence is eroding, their power is fading, and they will become a footnote in the history books. When people are educated, they cannot be controlled so easily. When people have open access to knowledge and information, they cannot be controlled so easily. When people see themselves as an active member of a community (local or global), working together, they cannot be controlled so easily.
We are all part of the human race. It is time to move past old, outdated ways of thinking. As we do that, as we move forward, we will become the real masters of our own destiny.