This past Saturday I visited the Venus Project and was lucky enough to have a conversation with Jacque Fresco. Below is the email I sent right after the tour:
Hey Joel, thank you so much for everything this past Saturday. It was such a pleasure getting to meet everyone and to take the tour. I absolutely love the work Jacque Fresco has produced and respect him more than anyone else I have been able to meet so far. There are two areas in his approach that I think could be improved upon however. Since I want to see the Venus Project come true more than anything else, I feel like I should share my thoughts with you guys. Especially when something is only as good as its weakest points, and after this maybe they could become the Venus Project's strongest points.
The first area comes from the problem of "motivation." For obvious reasons, a person must be motivated to work harder and innovate better than anyone else before him, otherwise the system fails. "Reward" is always needed as Jacque has said before. When I asked what would motivate people, the answer was the feeling of "good" that they would receive after knowing they've created something that may improve society for everyone. The end of poverty and war is of course enticing after-all. I imagine people would feel good about being able to leave their name behind for future generations to remember or to just purely help those in their community or maybe they even rationally conclude that by helping others they are in fact helping their own situation as well. While I can understand that throughout history there have been a handful of great people that were motivated by that more than money, and I myself am also motivated by that more than money, I still question if the majority of the so-called "civilized" world would accept that or if they have been too far removed from the concept of the community. In other words, for every Jacque Fresco how many John Smith's are there that would only be motivated by personal incentive to produce great work? Now I could imagine people in the future being able to thrive within this resource-based / money-less economy, where they would have their own honor system and standards so that no one abuses the society. But people living in today's class-based society would most likely need a huge shift in their thinking before that could happen. In which case, an intermediary advanced society may be needed before a complete money-less economy would be accepted by the majority. Sort of like taking baby steps to encourage the concept of community living before this could be successfully implemented.
Another problem with this is when I think back to when I was in college and had to work in group projects. I would be the only one really doing any of the work, and although I understood that I would benefit from the experience and my group would benefit artificially from my hard work in the end, I would still feel like our grades shouldn't be the same . I felt like that because I wouldn't want to promote a culture where it's acceptable for people to become lazy and slack off, which is what that does. Having equal starting points / opportunities from birth for everyone is what really counts (otherwise we can't claim that we believe in equality), but not to have equal outcomes. That's the biggest thing to note. Any system would fail if there was no sort of reward / punishment inherent in it. People would inevitably abuse the system, ruining it for everyone else. It wouldn't be sustainable, just like how a welfare state places a huge drain on the community's resources with people understandably becoming comfortable not doing anything at all. Growth in society then becomes stagnant. Which is the main reason why Communism fell. There was no incentive for people to work hard, or to innovate beyond what they were given. People need to see the difference between a person who worked hard all their life and a person who did nothing. Also, intelligent, healthy competition is necessary in any society. There always has to be a dialectic implanted in every aspect of society... one side that's pro, one side that's against, and a third party that takes the best from both, creating a newer and higher synthesis, which gets constantly tested and improved upon. That's the definition of growth.
Not to mention that if we all did have equal outcomes in life, regardless of what we did to contribute to the community, then life would quickly become incredibly boring. Just like how Jacque described what Heaven would be like if everything we ever wanted was just handed to us. Receiving something without toil destroys the value of it. A person's outcome in life must be based upon their own merit, meaning their hard work and talent combined. Not the merit of their parents, friends, or community. For that reason, I don't think capitalism is the problem. It's just that in today's world we don't experience true capitalism. Capitalism means to "sink or swim" based upon one's own efforts. The problem is that the system is rigged by a small number of global "capitalists" who are "too big to fail." As it was mentioned in the book that was given to us from the tour, unrestrained free-enterprise allows for excess and greed to occur... but not intelligently restrained free-enterprise. A balance is what's needed, not the abolition of it... at least at first.
Also, history tells us that there existed an ancient city in present-day Italy, which was incredibly similar to the Venus Project. The people living there owned very little and even ate together in communal dinning halls, very similar to Jacque's proposal of removing the kitchen from the home. The outcome of that city was that it was so successful it attracted the attention of the "power elite" and they ended up stamping it out before it grew too large. My question would then be what mechanism / law is going to be proposed to remove the "power elite" while the first few Venus Project cities are being built so that they don't sabotage them?
After a ton of research, the best answer I have been able to discover for these issues is to demand a Meritocracy... which survives on one main law, 100% inheritance tax. Not only would this law and new form of government be able to slowly change the consciousness of humans to become more community oriented, but it would also act as a sort of "Robin Hood Tax" in the beginning, targeting the rich to re-distribute their extreme wealth, not to their children, but to the world's children, creating a fair and equal chance in life from birth finally for the first time in human history.
(Also, in the future instead of the economy being based on the exchange of "fashionable items" that are designed to break and/or become obsolete once the next release comes out, what if the exchange of "ideas" and "knowledge" took the pride of place on every Main Street?) To learn more about what I'm describing (and for much more), please read the website that I will include at the end of this email. I know that if the ideas from this website were introduced to the Venus Project community then it would flourish.
The second area that I felt could be improved comes from Jacque's view that our lives have "no purpose." Things now start to become very bleak. Not only is there no personal incentive proposed in a resource-based economy (unless one had the ability to rationally conclude helping others helps himself, which few can at this stage), but now there is no sense of any personal salvation/hope in the afterlife. So what's the point of anything at all? Is it all just meaningless? Now don't get me wrong, I agree and disagree with Jacque's views on religion. A "creator god" actually contradicts itself when thoroughly analyzed and becomes an impossibility. Not to mention that "mainstream religion" has caused far more bad (selfishness) than good (altruism), promoting a lazy, superstitious, anti-rational, intolerant, obedient, slave-like culture throughout history. The truth is that the three Abrahamic faiths are not real religions, but the best systems of mind control ever devised. But at the same time, there is one single religion that exists that relies not on faith, but on knowledge. An entirely new definition is attributed to the word "god," one that no rational, materialistic, scientifically-minded atheist could disagree with, once properly understood believe it or not. A new understanding of quantum mechanics, black holes, light, and even a grand unified theory gets addressed. It's known as "Illuminism," and is considered to be a "Mystery Religion," which is the opposite of today's popular "Revealed Religions." To understand what I'm talking about please read this website:
http://armageddonconspiracy.co.uk/ (From my own personal opinion, this contains literally the most intelligently written content available on and off line, with over 2 million words written for free, without anyone ever asking for any money or personal gain of any sort.)
I'm beyond positive that if someone from over there would give this entire website a critical read (it took me 10 months while working a 9-5 job), then you could enhance the Venus Project and realize it with far better chances of it not disappearing to the annals of history. There's nothing I want more than to dedicate my life to the Venus Project and the ideas behind Meritocracy and Illuminism as described on the website I've shared. If at anytime anyone would like to give me a call to explain more, since I have read the entire website already, then please feel free to call or text me at:. That is my personal cell phone number.
All the best to you and the team!