Zeitgeist Information A Zeitgeist Movement general information site

19Mar/1114

Proposed Transition Steps to a Resource Based Economy.

By Mark Rogers, South Australia, Australia

Brief Overview

A Resource Based Economies (RBE) main goal is to use the resources of the planet, in sustainable ways, to raise the standard of living for all humanity, to help restore the biosphere to one that sustains not just the human population, but the remaining flora and fauna for generations to come.

Let’s look at some core challenges facing humanity today :

  • 'Shortages' and Equitable Distribution of Food.
  • Shortages and Equitable Distribution of Fresh Water.
  • Shortages and Equitable Distribution of Energy (Electrical/Oil).
  • Oil Production now constant, with rising demand, driving prices up and stalling national and world economies.
  • Rising Unemployment due to Automation reducing people spending ability and ultimately their ability to survive.
  • The Decline of the Global Monetary System: As Debt Mechanisms and Consumer Cycles destabilise, sometimes in dramatic ways with unforeseen results.
  • Development and Failure to Roll Out of Third Generation Renewable Technologies to minimise our reliance on oil/coal for energy.
  • Equitable Distribution of Safe and Healthy environments of second and third world states.
  • Corporate 'Ownership' of Genetic 'patents' & GM Foods that benefit only the corporation.
  • The Increasing Extermination Rate of global flora and fauna.
  • Green House Gases accelerating Global Warming.
  • The increasing amount of waste produced as a by-product of the Monetary System.
  • The destruction of the Biosphere, which humanity needs to survive.
  • Increased Population and population growth exasperating all of the above.
  • Increased wars and confrontations to forcefully take what is needed to survive.
  • The lack of political willpower, backed with long term vision and resources, to tackle all of the above.

One way or another we are all approaching a time of dramatic change. If we are to have any chance of surviving we need to examine what is failing us today and investigate what solutions we may have, even though if at first glance appear to be radical ideas. With this in mind I propose that a realistic look, research and evaluation of the RBE is highly advised as a way of tackling all  of the above, not just for survival, but elevation of the whole human race and the world we inhabit.

Info can be found here : http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com
and at: http://www.thevenusproject.com

Ok, so now you have watched tens of hours of video, a couple hundred pages of text and hopefully come to a few Zeitgeist movement meetings in your local area. That puts us at a similar level of understanding.

At this stage often one of the first questions is "what can I do to help?"

Well the most important thing we can do at this stage is raise awareness of a RBE, The Zeitgeist Movement, and The Venus Project. So simply talking to friends, family, acquaintances definitely helps. Even showing them Zeitgeist Moving Forward etc. should be even more informative to those interested.

28Dec/100

So you want a real democracy do you?

Written by Andrew Buxton on Monday, 24 May 2010.

Democracy:

A group of 12 people (Number will vary according to size of population - 12 is just being used as an example as i dont want to be typing this list forever)

2 Architects, 1 Bus Driver, 2 Cleaners, 1 Salesman, 1 Florist, 1 Banker, 1 Business Director, 1 Window Cleaner, 1 Art Student, and a Structural Engineer.

Their Task.. To design a bridge between two islands to connect the people and make transporting of resources, goods and services between the two islands easier.

They go through hundreds of designs, and at every stage the structural engineer says they wont work.. they may look pretty but they wont work.

The majority vote for a certain design, and go and build it (or others do)
and when its complete they decide to celebrate by being the first to travel across the bridge to celebrate with the inhabitants of the other island. As they go across it collapses and everyone dies, (Except the Structural Engineer - Who knew it wasn't safe)

I don't like the idea of democracy... do you?

Its important to understand that you have never lived in a participatory democracy, and you really have to think if you would want one. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you increase the agricultural yield in a country where the soil is high in nitrates?
  • How would you design the software to manage and distribute food within a total city system
  • How would you stop cars from hitting each other, or pedestrians?
  • How would you design the Heating & Ventilation system for 800 homes in a circular city design?
  • How would you regulate the production of any particular good based on the carrying capacity of the city?
  • How would you determine the best source of renewable energy for a city?

If you cant answer these questions, where do you think you will participate in the running and design of the cities and society as a whole? Where do you participate in your current system?

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5Oct/108

Tangible vs In-tangible and understanding peoples perception of the world

The information presented below is based on observations which I (Michael Kubler) have gathered over the last few years along with an understanding of the biology of human behaviour, psychology, motivation, and predictably irrational behaviour.

Note : By categorising different types of people it can be harder to see the subtle differences between the categories, however the knowledge below can hopefully help you understand why some people are more open to ideas than others.

People come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and types. Depending on their environment, their friends, family, experiences, genetics, and hormones they are also likely to exhibit different types of behaviour.

When I am trying to get to know someone there are a number of different types of categories you can think about which can help you tailor your concept or message to them.

  • Open Mindedness
  • Market Segment (Bell Curve)
  • Tangible/In-tangible
  • Time Perspective
  • Hunter vs Farmer
  • Consumerist mentality
  • Ways of Learning
15Aug/102

Innovation (and the Monetary system)

There are a number of types of Innovation.
Incremental innovation, Incremental Innovation with Side Effects and Transformational Innovation.
  • Incremental innovation -- Small changes which have small outcomes. Moving things closer, making things a little bit faster.
  • Incremental Innovation with Side Effects -- Small changes which have a dramatic effect. e.g growing of opposable thumbs, or the internet being made fast enough to view videos.
  • Transformational Innovation -- Completely re-designing the way things are done. e.g Changing from Hunter/Gathers into Farmers (agriculture and eventually civilisation), or organisms evolving out of the water and breathing air.
There will usually be a transformational change, followed by a period of incremental innovation (progressive enhancement), and eventually another transformational Innovation, and so on.
A video explaining this concept in far more detail is Douglas Merril's talk on Innovation at Google [50mins] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GtgSkmDnbQ#t=10m11s (unfortunately not a very high quality recording, let me know if you find a better one).

What is important to note about this is how it relates to the Monetary system.
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3Jul/100

Decentralised Oraganisations (The Starfish and the Spider)

I thought this was a really interesting article on the differences between centralised and decentralised organisations.

http://ugnchicago.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Starfish-and-Spider-Ori-Brafman-Summary.pdf

Personally I think that The Zeitgeist Movement is decentralised. Sure Peter Joseph is the main leader but as everyone can be empowered with knowledge of the movement there's other people that can take take over his role.
If you watch Zeitgeist related content and contribute to the Zeitgeist Movement, Media project, or other projects, then you yourself are a part of the movement.

Each chapter is somewhat independent but regular International Team Speak (VoIP) meetups, mailing lists and other forms of direct communication mean that we can be decentralised without being disorganised. Sites like thezeitgeistmovement.com and zeitgeist-info.com allow for centralised hubs of information.
We've already seen splinter cells form such as the RBEF. A group of people who were banned from the International Zeitgeist Movement website and went off to create their own group, the 'Resource Based Economy Foundation'. This shows how cutting off a limb (or at least a group of people) can cause the movement to turn into an offshoot.

Whilst this might mean the movement becomes somewhat splintered, it also means that like the magic broomstick in Fantasia, it's almost unstoppable.

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2Jul/100

Power Law and scarcity

I came across some interesting articles on the Power Law of distribution.

For those not aware, a power law distribution looks like the image below :

POWER LAW GRAPH
300px-Long_tail.svg.png

If you can't see the image then look at the associated Wikipedia article.
A power law is also sometimes called the 80/20 rule and is known in the media industry for the long tail effect that online video has allowed.
The power law can be used to model the number of words used in a text, the energy of earthquakes, links to a websites and much more.

As Matt Webb posits power laws arise due to scarcity.

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2Jul/100

Ethics In Science

Pure science vs Applied Technology

Pure science is the research done to determine how things work. Things like e=mc2, double helix structure of DNA, Newtons laws of physics, calculus and even things like what the Large Hadron Collider will hopefully uncover.

Applied science involves taking those findings and using them to create technology.
In the case of e=mc2 it brought about the nuclear era, with both Nuclear Bombs and Nuclear Power.
If you take Newtons work on prisms and light, then that enabled a whole range of things, from cameras to being able to tell a suns composition due to the specific frequencies that it doesn’t emit (ok that last one isn’t directly a technology but more of an analytical tool).

There are two main models when it comes to research and ethics. The Linear model and the Social model.

Linear Model

This model dates back to Francis Bacon and is about the search for knowledge. It uses the line of Pure Science -> Applied Science and Technology -> Products.
It’s the more classical model and is highlighted by the thought that “science progresses best when scientists are given free reign in what to research”.
The main points are that HOW they research is still done in an ethical and caring manner, and that while the raw science shouldn’t be restricted, the technology can certainly be governed by social and ethical norms.

Social Model

The social model says that society should have a role in deciding what research is undertaken. It also doesn’t make the distinction between pure and applied science.
This model is common when talking about techno-science.

Example 1 : AI

Under a linear model research would be done in Artifical Intelligence. Datasets would be created, experiments done, and the results would be algorithms and white papers on neural networking, evolving systems, and ultimately the ability of programs to learn, adapt and change (usually with certain restrictions and limitations).
These could be used for good, such as more advanced search, computers that are more personalised and easier to use, to control vast traffic networks and reduce or eliminate congestion, or even the central Venus Project computer system Venux, allowing the replacement of government.
Alternatively they could be used by marketers to try more targeted advertising, increasing cyclical consumption and materialism. Alternatively they could be used by the military to help create autonomous robots, and other killing machines.

Under a social model the research and development would be moderated and restricted.

In the current system the military are more likely to push for AI research specifically dealing with flying aircraft and targetting detection. Whilst that research could be used to make aircraft autopilots more safer and better than actual humans, it can also be used to create UAV’s that will automatically bomb ‘enemy threats’.

Example 2 : Nuclear research

Under a Linear model researchers would be able to research Nuclear fusion and fission technology, to the point their research could be used for zero radiological waste Nuclear power plants, or even handheld cold fusion powerpacks.

Under a social model such research would likely require heavy debate amongst the public before being rejected because of it’s affiliations with nuclear weapons, and the potential military applications.

There are 3 main types of ethics when dealing with science :
1. Those relating to internal research (e.g harm to the humans and animals involved, or the intellectual property rights).
2. What research should be undertaken (especial under the social model), and with what priorities?
3. The scientific responsibility (this is harder if there is no distinction between pure and applied research).

For all the emphasis on the material benefits of science, we should not prevent recognition of it as an essential part of human culture, just like painting, literature, and music are“ – Sir Ian Wark

Tension points in Ethics include :

  • The scientists sphere of responsibility. E.g How responsible is Albert Einstein for the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
  • Risk – What are acceptable levels of risk? Who is at risk? Why are people willing to accept that risk? Do they have a choice? (E.g are they being coerced by monetary or health reasons)
  • IP rights and restrictions – This is especially an advantage for developing countries.
  • Industry funding of research – A company is much more likely to fund applied sciences which has obvious monetary reward, whilst government research is much more likely to fund fundamental pure science.
  • Criteria for selecting research projects – A lot of the selection process in regarding research projects is determined by which ones will be funded. Currently 90% of research funding is done in the 1st world, not 3rd world countries, which are the ones that actually need it.
  • Risk vs Benefit – In a number of cases the people at risk aren’t the ones who benefit, which can add extra strain to maintaining ethics.

One saying mentioned was that ‘I don’t care what you do, as long as you worry about it.

Zeitgeist Movement Specific

Personally I think that the best approach for the Zeitgeist Movement regarding ethics in science is a hybrid approach. Using mainly a linear model, but with priorities set by Venux.
Hopefully there would be very little restrictions on pure research (except maybe in the types of experiments, and possibly the amount of resources available for super large projects).

Thank you for reading. If you have any ideas, comments or concerns, feel free to post them into the comments, or email michael@zeitgeistsa.com

NB : This essay was initially posted by Michael Kubler to the South Australian ZM mailing list on Sun, 22nd Nov – 2009

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