Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Jacque Fresco, Futurist Who Envisioned a Society Without Money, Dies at 101

Jacque Fresco, a self-taught and passionate industrial designer who envisioned an alternative society where money would be eliminated and resources distributed equitably by computers, died on May 18 in Sebring, Fla. He was 101.

His death was confirmed by Roxanne Meadows, his partner, who said he had Parkinson’s syndrome and had recently broken a hip.

Mr. Fresco created the Venus Project on 21 rural acres that he and Ms. Meadows acquired in south-central Florida in 1980 to pursue his quixotic plan: creating a resource-based economy that would rescue modern society from the ills of failed political systems.

About two hours south of Orlando, he and Ms. Meadows constructed domed buildings and other structures to showcase his ideas for energy-efficient cities that would be built in circular arrangements. They supported the project with $200 tours of the compound and by selling books and videos.

“I would like to see an end to war, poverty and unnecessary human suffering,” he said in an interview on his website. “But I can’t see it in a monetary-based system where the richest nations control most of the world’s resources. I cannot see that happening. I see a constant repeat of the same series of events: war, poverty, recession, boom, bust and war again.”

He wanted all sovereign nations to declare the world’s resources — clean air and water, arable land, education, health care, energy and food — the “common heritage” of all people. In his so-called resource-based economy, he said, people would get what they want through computers. He looked upon his plan as a practical, even inevitable response to the inequities rampant in the modern world. But he conceded that only a catastrophe would lead to the adoption of his concept.

“Economic collapse,” he said, would demonstrate to people that elected politicians “aren’t competent enough to get us out of these problems, and they will look to possible solutions.”

Unfortunately capitalism is an extremely resilient social system and economic collapse in some sectors provide opportunities in others even unto war. He was quite correct though that capitalism itself was incapable of reform and required to be replaced with a production for use post-capitalist society, where access was free.

Robert Murphy, an associate scholar at the Mises Institute, which promotes the teaching of Austrian economics, wrote in 2010 that idealists like Mr. Fresco were “wrong to blame our current dysfunctional world on capitalism or money per se.” Instead, Mr. Murphy wrote, if property rights were respected by all, “humanity would become fantastically wealthy.”

Murphy and the Mises institute are more idealistic than Jacque Fresno could ever be and are quite incorrect. It is private, corporate and state ownership of property, specifically the means of producing and distributing wealth, which creates poverty, both relative and absolute, requiring an economically dependent working class (90-95%) to produce a vast array of commodities for sale for the profit of the economic parasite class (5-10%) in return for  a subsistence ration payment(wages).

Mr. Fresco, who believed fervently in science’s power to transform life for the better, said on Facebook: “We have the technology to build a global paradise on earth, and at the same time we have the power to end life as we know it. I am a futurist. I cannot predict the actual future — only what it can be if we manage the earth and its resources intelligently.”

Socialists can only agree.

Source New York Times

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