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‘Resource Based Economy’ an essay by Jacque Fresco

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Presented here is a straightforward approach to the redesign of a culture, in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but totally unacceptable. This new social and economic design works towards eliminating the underlying causes that are responsible for many of our problems. But, as stated previously, they cannot be eliminated within the framework of the present monetary system and political establishment. Human behavior is subject to the same laws that govern all other physical phenomena. Our customs, behaviors, and values are byproducts of our culture. No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry and hatred – they are learned. If the environment is unaltered similar problems will reoccur.

These aspirations cannot be accomplished in a monetary based society of waste and human exploitation. With its planned obsolescence, neglect of the environment, outrageous military expenditures and the outworn methods of attempting to solve problems through the enactment of laws, these methods are bound to fail. Furthermore the belief that advanced technologies would lead to an improvement in the quality of life for most people is not the case in a monetary system. More and more companies are adopting the tremendous benefits of automation, resulting in increased production with fewer employees. Corporations’ short-term concern with profit will ultimately result in the demise of the world monetary based economies. If the monetary system continues to operate, we will be faced with the condition of more technological unemployment, today referred to as downsizing. From 1990 to 1995, companies dismissed a staggering 17.1 million employees, many of these due to automation. Automation will continue to replace people well into the foreseeable future, resulting in the lack of purchasing power for these displaced workers. Despite expanding global markets, the human cost in terms of displaced workers and a disenfranchised populous, will inevitably bring about massive and unmanageable social problems.

During the 1930’s, at the height of the Great Depression, the Roosevelt administration enacted new social legislation designed to minimize revolutionary tendencies and to address the problems of unemployment. Jobs were provided through the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, National Recovery Act, transient camps, and Federal Arts projects. Ultimately, however, World War II pulled the U.S. out of that worldwide depression. If we permit current conditions to take their natural course, we will soon be faced with another international recession of potentially greater magnitude. At the time of this depression the US had only 600 first class fighting aircraft at the beginning of World War II, we rapidly increased production to 90,000 planes per year. Did we have enough money to pay for the required implements of war? The answer is no. Neither did we have enough gold. But, we did have more than enough resources. It was the available resources and personnel that enabled the U. S. to achieve the production and efficiency required to win the war. Unfortunately, such an all-out effort is only considered in times of war or disaster.

We live in a culture that seems to work collectively only in response to a crisis. Only in times of war do we call upon and assemble interdisciplinary teams to meet a threat from human aggression. Only in times of national emergency do we do the same to resolve a natural or man-made threat. Rarely, if ever, do we employ a concerted effort to help find workable solutions to social problems. If we apply the same efforts of scientific mobilization toward social betterment as we do during a war or disaster, large-scale results could be achieved in a relatively short time.

The Earth is still abundant with resources. Today our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter-productive to the well-being of people. Today’s society has access to highly advanced technologies and can easily provide more than enough for a very high standard of living for all the earth’s people. This is possible through the implementation of a resource-based economy.

Simply stated, within a resource-based Economy we will utilize existing resources rather than money, and provide an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all natural, man-made, machine-made, and synthetic resources would be available without the use of money, credits, barter, or any other form of symbolic exchange. A resource-based economy would utilize existing resources from the land and sea, and the means of production, such as physical equipment and industrial plants, to enhance the lives of the total population. In an economy based on resources rather than money, we could easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a high standard of living for all.

To further clarify the concept of a resource-based economy consider this example: A group of people is stranded on an island with enormous purchasing power including gold, silver and diamonds. All this wealth would be irrelevant to their survival if the island had few resources such as food, clean air, and water. Only when population exceeds the productive capacity of the land do problems such as greed, crime, and violence emerge. On the other hand, if people were stranded on an island that was abundant with natural resources producing more than the necessities for survival, then a monetary system would be irrelevant. It is only when resources are scarce that money can be used to control their distribution. One could not, for example, sell the air we breathe, the sand on the beach, or the salt water in the ocean to someone else on the island who has equal access to all these things. In a resource-based economy all of the world’s resources would be held as the common heritage of all of the earth’s people, thus eventually outgrowing the need for the artificial boundaries that separate people – this is the unifying imperative.

We must emphasize here that this approach to global governance has nothing whatever in common with the present aims of a corporate elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations in control, and the vast majority of the world’s population subservient to them. Globalization in a resource-based economy empowers each and every person on the planet to be the very best they can be, not to live in abject subjugation to a corporate governing body.

All socio-economic systems, regardless of political philosophy, religious beliefs, or social customs, ultimately depend upon available natural resources, e.g. clean air and water, arable land, and the necessary technology and personnel to maintain a high standard of living. This can be accomplished through the intelligent and humane application of science and technology. The real wealth of any nation lies in its developed and potential resources and the people who are working toward the elimination of scarcity and the development of a more humane way of life. A resource-based economy would use technology to overcome scarce resources by utilizing renewable sources of energy; computerizing and automating manufacturing, inventory and distribution; designing safe, energy-efficient cities; providing universal health care and relevant education; and most of all, by generating a new incentive system based on human and environmental concern.

Unfortunately, today science and technology have been diverted from these ends for reasons of self-interest and monetary gain through the conscious withdrawal of efficiency, or through planned obsolescence. For example, it is an ironic state of affairs when the U. S. Department of Agriculture, whose function is to conduct research into ways of achieving higher crop yields per acre, pays farmers not to produce at full capacity while many people go hungry. Another example is the choice of some companies to illegally dump solid waste into oceans and rivers to save money, when more ecologically sound disposal methods are available. A third example is the failure of some industries to install electrostatic precipitators in their factories’ smokestacks to prevent particulate matter from being released into the atmosphere, even though the technology has been available for over 75 years. The monetary system does not always apply known methods that would best serve people and the environment.

In a resource-based economy, the human aspect would be of prime concern, and technology would be subordinate to this. This would result in a considerable increase in leisure time. In an economy in which production is accomplished primarily by machines, and products and services are available to all, the concepts of “work” and “earning a living” would become irrelevant. But if the human consequences of automation are unresolved, as they are today, then it renders all the advances of science and technology of much less significance.

The utilization of today’s high speed and large capacity computer systems, otherwise known as the “Information Superhighway” or Internet, could assist us in defining the variables and parameters required for the operation of a resource-based economy that conforms to environmental needs. Over-exploitation of resources would be unnecessary and surpassed.

Many people believe that there is too much technology in the world today, and that technology is the major cause of our environmental pollution. This is not the case. Rather, it is the abuse and misuse of technology that should be our major concern. In very simple terms, a hammer can be used to construct a building, or to kill another person. It is not the hammer that is the issue, but how it is used.

Cybernation, or the application of computers and automation to the social system, could be regarded as an emancipation proclamation for humankind if used humanely and intelligently. Its thorough application could eventually enable people to have the highest conceivable standard of living with practically no labor. It could free people for the first time in human history from a highly structured and outwardly imposed routine of repetitive and mundane activity. It could enable one to return to the Greek concept of leisure, where slaves did most of the work and men had time to cultivate their minds. The essential difference is that in the future, each of us will command more than a million slaves – but they will be mechanical and electrical slaves, not fellow human beings. This will end forever the degrading exploitation of any human being by another so that he or she lives an abundant, productive, and less stressful life. Perhaps the greatest aid in enhancing the survival of the human race is the introduction of cybernation, the electronic computer, and artificial intelligence, which may very well save the human race from its own inadequacies.

A resource-based economy includes the redesign of our cities, transportation systems, and industrial plants so that they are energy efficient, clean, and conveniently provide the needs of all people both materially and spiritually. These new cybernated cities would have their electrical sensors’ autonomic nervous system extended into all areas of the social complex. Their function would be to coordinate a balance between production and distribution and to operate a balance-load economy. Decisions would be arrived at on the basis of feedback from the environment. Despite today’s mania for national security, and subsequent intrusions into everyone’s personal affairs, in a world-wide resource-based economy where no one need take from another, it will be considered socially offensive and counterproductive for machines to monitor the activities of individuals. In fact, such intrusion would serve no useful purpose.

To further understand the operation of cybernation in the city system, for example, in the agricultural belt the electronic probes imbedded in the soil would automatically keep a constant inventory of the water table, soil conditions, nutrients, etc. and act appropriately without the need for human intervention. This method of industrial electronic feedback could be applied to the entire management of a global economy.

All raw materials used to manufacture products can be transported directly to the manufacturing facilities by automated transportation “sequences” such as ships, monorails, trains, pipelines, and pneumatic tubes, and the like. All transportation systems are fully utilized in both directions. There would be no empty trucks, trains, or transport units on return trips. There would be no freight trains stored in yards, awaiting a business cycle for their use. An automated inventory system would be connected to both the distribution centers and the manufacturing facilities, thus coordinating production to meet demand and providing a constant evaluation of preferences and consumption statistics. In this way a balanced-load economy can be assured and shortages, over-runs, and waste could be eliminated.

The method for the distribution of goods and services in a resource-based economy without the use of money or tokens could be accomplished through the establishment of distribution centers. These distribution centers would be similar to a public library or an exposition, where the advantages of new products can be explained and demonstrated. For example, if one were to visit Yellowstone National Park, one could check out a still or video camera on-site, use the camera, and if they do not want to keep it, return it to another readily accessible distribution center or drop-off point, thus eliminating the individual’s need to store and maintain the equipment.

In addition to computerized centers, which would be located throughout the various communities, there would be 3-D, flat-screen televised imaging capabilities right in the convenience of one’s own home. If an item is desired, an order would be placed, and the item could be automatically delivered directly to a person’s place of residence.

With the infusion of a resource-based, world economy and an all-out effort to develop new, clean, renewable sources of energy, (such as geothermal, controlled fusion, solar heat concentrators, photovoltaics, wind, wave, tidal power, and fuel from the oceans), we will eventually be able to have energy in unlimited quantity that could serve civilization for thousands of years.

To better understand the meaning of a resource-based economy consider this: If all the money in the world were to suddenly disappear, as long as topsoil, factories, and other resources were left intact, we could build anything we chose to build and fulfill any human need. It is not money that people need, but rather it is freedom of access to most of their necessities without ever having to appeal to a government bureaucracy or any other agency. In a resource-based economy money would become irrelevant. All that would be required are the resources, manufacturing, and distribution of the products.

Take the automobile. In order to service conventional automobiles today we have to remove a great deal of hardware before we can get to the engine. Why are they made so complicated? This reason is simply because ease of repair is not the concern of the manufacturers. They do not have to pay to service the car. If they did, I can assure you, they would design automobiles that consist of modular components that could be easily disengaged, thus facilitating easier access to the engine. Such construction would be typical in a resource-based economy. Many of the components in the automobile would be easily detachable to save time and energy in the rare case of repair, because no one would profit by servicing automobiles or any other products. Consequentially all products would be of the highest quality, and they would be simplified for convenience of service. Automotive transport units engineered in this way can easily be designed to be service-free for many years. All the components within the car could be easily replaced when needed with improved technologies. Eventually, with the development of magnetically suspended bearings, lubrication and wear would be relegated to the past. Proximity sensors in the vehicles would prevent collisions, further reducing servicing and repair requirements.

This same process would be carried out for all other products. All industrial devices would be designed for recycling. However, the life span of products would be significantly increased through intelligent and efficient design, thereby reducing waste. There would be no “planned obsolescence,” where products are deliberately designed to wear out or break down. In a resource-based economy technology intelligently and efficiently applied will conserve energy, reduce waste, and provide more leisure time. During the transition, the workweek could be staggered thus eliminating traffic jams or crowding in all areas of human activity, including beaches and recreation areas.

Most packaging systems would be standardized, requiring less storage space and facilitating easy handling. To eliminate waste such as newsprint, books, and other publications, these could be replaced, for example, by an electronic process in which a light-sensitive film is placed over a monitor or TV, producing a temporary printout. This material would be capable of storing the information until it is deleted. This would conserve our forests and millions of pounds of paper, which is a major part of the recycling process. Eventually, most paperwork would no longer be required, i.e. advertising, money, mail, newspaper, phonebook.

As we outgrow the need for professions that are based on the monetary system, such as lawyers, accountants, bankers, insurance companies, advertising, sales personnel, and stockbrokers, a considerable amount of waste and non productive personnel could be eliminated. Enormous amounts of time and energy would also be saved by eliminating the duplication of competing products. Instead of having hundreds of different manufacturing plants and all the paperwork and personnel that are required to turn out similar products, only very few of the highest quality would be needed to serve the entire population. In a resource-base economy planned obsolescence would not exist.

http://www.thevenusproject.com/

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The Socioeconomic Guardians of Scarcity by Hagbard Celine33

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We live on a planet with finite resources, however scarcity is relative to the way we manage those resources. “Scarcity” as a condition is artificial in the 21stcentury. Scarcity is artificial in the sense that it literally has to be enforced by a socioeconomic system of structural and behavioral authoritarianism. To quote the sociologist Philip Slater “Inequality, originally a consequence of scarcity, is now a means of creating artificial scarcities.” Anti-authoritarians have traditionally defined themselves as opposed to socioeconomic hierarchy. However, by defining oneself as opposed to socioeconomic hierarchy, one is really saying that they want free association as a means to organize society. Free association means freedom to associate, freedom from association, as well as freedom within the association(decision making power being held by people within an association, as well as equality of voting power for people within associations). The words “free association” mean nothing if there is not an environmental context that allows for such behavior/systems to prosper via meeting people’s needs and minimizing abuse. Under capitalism, the necessities of life are commodified. However if food/water/shelter/energy can be commodified, humans can be commodified. Capitalism is the buying and selling of people forced into contracts due to economic conditions of artificial scarcity. The state serves as the enforcer class of the economic warfare inherent in capitalism (protecting the upper classes from the lower classes). The state is based on the selective application of law and punishment. We reflect values of our social and economic systems which are interconnected. Rather than punishing people for reacting to a system that deprives people of their needs and creates abuse, we should focus our energy towards prevention/education/restraint of those harming others IF we want to create a non authoritarian society. Capitalism and the state are both different yet interconnected incarnations of authoritarian top down organization that inhibit well being and protect scarcity.

Capitalism is an authoritarian economic system, based on private property rights (the private ownership of the means of production) and economic competition in a market system. This creates a network of top down organizations that people are forced into by market pressures in order to survive. If we want to stop theft we need to meet people’s needs (which can’t be done in an economic system where scarcity in regards to the basic necessities of life keeps the economy going). Freedom from association is meaningless when your options are starve or associate within an association where there is no freedom within the association. To quote Noam Chomsky, “The idea of “free contract” between the potentate and his starving subject is a sick joke, perhaps worth some moments in an academic seminar exploring the consequences of (in my view, absurd) ideas, but nowhere else.” Capitalism is antithetical to free association, for the contracts that are occurring within capitalism are based on unnecessary work for a boss or suffer economic conditions; especially unnecessary given that we live in an age where the majority of labor relevant to meeting human needs can be automated. Denying the necessities of life to anyone turns life into a privilege instead of a right.

We live in a system where 85 people have more wealth than 3.5 billion people. Around 20,000 people die a day from starvation. Somewhere between 30–50% of food humans produce on the planet is not eaten. In 1976 a study done on structural violence (avoidable impairment of fundamental human needs from hierarchical socioeconomic structures) found that 18 million people die a year from structural violence (and wealth inequality has doubled since then). David Pimentel’s research shows that 1.2 Billion people lack access to clean water, 57% of people are malnourished, and Around 40% of deaths on this planet are from water/air/soil pollution. Yet we have the resources and technology to meet everyone’s needs. We have clean energy technology such as wind/wave/solar/tidal/geothermal energy. We have the knowledge of hydroponic/aeroponic/aquaponic skyscrapers to ensure free clean food for all. We have the technology to purify water via water desalinization and rain water collection and purification. Then there is hemp which has thousands of industrial uses including eco friendly plastics/paper/housing/clothes/etc. We have 3d printing, and contour crafting which is the 3d printing of buildings. We can combine 3d printing with open collaborative design defined by the website Adciv.org as a process that “involves applying principles from the remarkable free and open-source software movement that provides a powerful new way to design physical objects, machines and systems. All information involved in creating the object or system is made available on the Internet – such as text, drawings, photographs and 3D computer-aided design (CAD) models – so that other people can freely re-create it, or help contribute to its further evolution.” We have the knowledge of using techniques like mycorestoration, which is “the use of fungi to repair or restore the weakened immune systems of environments” definition given by Paul Stamets in his book Mycelium Running. We have Maglev train technology for transportation, making transportation faster, more resource efficient and more energy efficient than current outdated modes of transport. Then there is the internet and the educational resources that it provides. And last but not least our ability to automate the vast majority of toil. You cannot argue with the fact that this technology exists, which is why our technical reality is consistently sidestepped by most people who critique post scarcity economics. This technology exists, but it is not being fully implemented because of inhibiting factors. It is important to note that “the scientific method applied to social concern” is a process constantly changing with new relevant information/technology.

We have the technology and the resources to live in harmony with the global ecosystem and each other, but socioeconomic hierarchy prevents this technical reality from being actuated. For scarcity is a precondition of profit. The more scarce a specific resource/good/service is, the more one can sell the resource/good/service for. And this means an access abundance of a particular resource such as shelter or food is actually bad for profit maximization (which is the law of capitalism). Scarcity is literally reinforced due to the basic incentive system inherit within the market. Throwing a moral imposition of non violence onto an economic system that is based on the artificial scarcity of the basic necessities of life is about as much good as the laws “thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not steal”. Historically, rulers who enforce “thou shalt not kill/steal laws” tend to be exempt from their own laws. These verbal/written proclamations do nothing to alleviate the root causes of murder and theft. People consistently conflate a law with conditions that actually prevent authoritarian behavior. There often needs to be other rules in place to allow other rules to be followed. Ethical behavior we wish to see needs to be reinforced by other rules. Authoritarian behavior is tied to a dialogue of unmet needs/abuse/ignorance/malevolence and the systems that enforce unmet needs/abuse/ignorance/malevolence. There is an attempt to trow the moral imposition of “thou shalt not privately own the means of production” on to the market by mutualists. And when worker owned co-operatives exist in a market, they must be subservient to market pressures such as cost efficiency and competition. The best way to maximize money within a market system is to privately own the means of production and extract surplus value from workers. Worker ownership over the means of production can exist to certain degrees within a market system, but the very incentives of a market system reward private ownership over the means of production.

All ideas have been given to us by our environment. We are standing on the shoulders of giants who have stood upon the shoulders of giants who have stood upon the shoulders of giants. Yet we fight over the fruits of labor given to us by dead and living humans. Private property is not based on needs, nor is it based on use. Private property is based on privately owning/managing that which others use. Personal property(items intended for personal use) involves claims to that which one uses, whereas private property  involves ownership claims to that which is used by others. If you don’t want people to steal the ___ you are using from you, declaring ___ your property does not stop theft. If you want to stop theft you need to create an access abundance of the necessities of life. The way we manage our resources needs to be based on needs, use, gift, and environmental concern rather than centralization of economic/political power if wellbeing is our end goal. And from the viewpoint of wanting to meet human needs and adhere to ecological principles, the more we share resources in library-esque access centers the better. And of course we are dependent upon our global ecosystem. If we destroy our global ecosystem through the inefficient and violent use of resources, we destroy the foundation we are dependent upon.

When society deprives any community or individual of the necessities of life, there is a form of violence happening. When society commodifies the bare necessities of life, they are commodifying human beings, whose labor can be bought and sold. Underneath the pseudo-philosophical rationalizations for capitalism is a defense of wage slavery. For if your labor is for sale then you are for sale. To conflate capitalism with free association is to ignore the context that the market transaction occurs within (which is a context of the artificial scarcity of the necessities of life). And to ignore the context is to ignore reality altogether. Market pressures force people to join associations they do not want to join, and force people to stay in associations they want to leave, and any decision making power given to workers can be vetoed by the upper levels of the hierarchy. Capitalism is not about meeting our demands with supply, it is about maximizing profit (which enforces artificial scarcity). Capitalism is nothing more than well dressed economic warfare backed up by the physical warfare of the state. Within the quest to maximize profit is the very incentive structure that would inevitably create the state or some institution that performs the same functions as the state (for the state protects the privatized commons with violence, protects the rich from the poor, allows corporations to avoid liability, and the state applies “the law” selectively which makes those who control the state exempt from the state’s laws). When market economists use the term “Efficiency” they are speaking of cost efficiency, which is a phrase that really means “maximize profit at every level of production”. This really translates to “maximize profit” at the expense of liberatory technical potential and life whenever possible. Underlying our current ecological crisis is an outdated hierarchical socioeconomic structure. Cost efficiency/economic growth are better measurements of ecocide than efficient use of finite resources. It might be resource efficient and technically possible for us to give everyone on the planet a clean energy supply/houses/clean food free of monetary charge but that does not maximize profit, and under capitalism profit must be prioritized above human needs. The root problems aren’t the microcosms of corruption we see, but socioeconomic hierarchy itself. However the microcosms of corruption often help to reinforce/accentuate the system that created such corruption. We must critique and abolish branches of corruption, but we ought to also critique and abolish root causes.

To quote Alfie Kohn “The more “means interdependent” the task, the more cooperation helps. In some instances, it is claimed, competition may produce better results—but only if the task is simple and not interdependent at all.” Economic Competition is inherent to capitalism, yet competition is inferior to cooperation in regards to task completion (and under capitalism the task is maximize profit). This is why there are certain degrees of cooperation even within hierarchies or amongst financial and political elites. The market is able to channel cooperation into competition. Competition does not just happen between competing businesses. The buyer/seller relationship is a form of competition, for the seller is trying to maximize profit and the buyer is trying to minimize cost. The employer/employee relationship is a form of competition, for the employer and employee haggle over the cost of the employee’s labor. Quoting Alfie Kohn’s summary of David and Roger Johnson’s meta analysis on competition vs cooperation: “65 studies found that cooperation promotes higher achievement than competition, 8 found the reverse, and 36 found no statistically significant difference. Cooperation promoted higher achievement than independent work in 108 studies, while 6 found the reverse, and 42 found no difference. The superiority of cooperation held for all subject areas and all age groups.” The idea that society needs competition (and the punishment/reward system inherent in competition) in order to be productive is completely backwards. Competition also enforces scarcity. Quoting Alfie Kohn again, “Structural competition usually involves the comparison of several individuals in such a way that only one of them can be the best. The competition itself sets the goal, which is to win; scarcity is thereby created out of nothing.”. Competition is based on punishing the losers and rewarding the winner (or winners). Which brings me to a quote by the former director of Harvard’s “Center for the Study of Violence” Dr. James Gilligan,“Punishment is the most powerful provoker of violence that we’ve yet discovered”. Capitalism punishes people for being victimized by capitalism. And the inability of many to trace the symptoms back to root causes leads parts of our society to blame victims of the system rather than the system itself. And this socioeconomic punishment only causes more violence which creates more punishment. In order to solve the problem of violence we need to look at violence from the perspective of “preventative medicine” rather than symptom suppression.

Capitalism is based on plutocracy concealed under the clever disguise of “voting with your money”. Under capitalism everyone votes with unequal amounts of money (and there is inequality in regards to how much people make per hour). “Philosophical” Capitalists will often criticize democracy as if it is a monolithic term that only has authoritarian forms ignoring participatory democracy based on freedom of/from/within within associations (based on free association but not necessarily consensus). And by freedom I do not mean freedom from context such as various definitions of free will, nor do I mean the freedom to exploit others and freedom to perform acts of ecocide. I mean freedom FROM structural violence, behavioral violence, and freedom from ecocide(and various other ‘liberatory freedoms’ such as the freedom to have power with people instead of power over people). In the realm of the representative based systems, there is a form of pseudo democracy where we are given the choice to vote on rulers but not given the freedom from having a political ownership class. Ignorance of participatory democracy and any kind of anti authoritarian solutions to capitalism serves the status quo, influencing people to think that the only alternative to capitalism is some other authoritarian system such as Leninism/Stalinism/Maoism/etc. Saying that our options are either the state or the market is a classic false duality fallacy.

To quote David Graeber, “This is the great trap of the twentieth century: on one side is the logic of the market, where we like to imagine we all start out as individuals who don’t owe each other anything. On the other is the logic of the state, where we all begin with a debt we can never truly pay. We are constantly told that they are opposites and that between them they contain the only real human possibilities. But it’s a false dichotomy.” We are given a false duality in our current socioeconomic conversation, that the only way to run society is some ratio of statist/capitalist control. However at the heart of statecraft/capitalism is authoritarian top down organization. The feedback loop of hierarchy/ignorance/scarcity is at the root of the current socioeconomic system. We cannot solve violent top down social organization through violent top down social organization (and thinking that we can is tautological). The state/market duality is really just a more sophisticated form of the republicrat/demopublican duality and it serves the purpose of tranquilizing any actual solutions to socioeconomic hierarchy.

The state is a monopoly on the use of legal violence in a given territory based on centralization of decision making power. Obviously such an institution is antithetical to a liberatory society. The state includes administrators (politicians) and enforcers (such as the police and the military). The state, like capitalism, is based on socioeconomic hierarchy. The state includes a governor class and a governed class. At the end of the day capitalism and the state complete each other, like the most romantic of lovers. Capitalism controls the state, and the state controls capitalism. Where does one begin and where does the other end? For the police are the physical extension of intra-national economic warfare, and the army is the physical extension of international economic warfare. Here is an Adam Smith quote that explains the romance between the state and capitalism, “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.” Within a system of economic hierarchy and class warfare, there are going to be inevitable rebellions from those who have no property towards those who do have property. The state is what helps protect the inherent instability within a system of perpetual economic warfare. So according to the great priest of capitalism (Adam Smith), capitalism requires a monopoly on the use of legal violence in order to maintain it. A relatively recent University of Hawaii study found that democide (which is the murder of people by states) in the 20th century killed over 250 million people. The state is a product and co-creator of structural violence that requires behavioral violence as a mechanism to enforce the privatization of the commons. The political representatives in a statist society are for sale just like any other commodity. Political representatives in the pseudo democratic regimes like the United States serve as a middle man between people and their ideas. This is not true bottom up organization, for people vote on who has centralized decision making power. Subtract the structural violence from the state, and the state ceases to exist (or as Kropotkin said “It is authoritarian or it ceases to be the State.”). Capitalism needs some institution that performs the same function of the state (protection of private property) in order to function (so there is really no such thing as stateless capitalism, for stateless capitalists merely advocate completely privatized states((or states that dont pretend to represent anyhing or anyone but their private owners))). “Stateless capitalists” talk about how they want to privatize the police/the army/nuclear bombs/courts/and all bathrooms/and even have a free market of buying and selling starving children. Besides those solutions being absurd, they merely recreate the state under a separate name. The state is not authoritarian because it is influenced by capitalism and nor is capitalism an authoritarian system because it is influenced by the state. The state and capitalism are both structurally violent on their own, however state power and capitalist power tend to merge due to the basic power consolidation tendency of both systems. Not only are markets in love with states, but states are also in love with markets. This romance is mutual. For the market forces the subjects of the state to feed/clothe/house themselves by competing amongst each other for survival. The state and the market aren’t just married, they are practically inseparable forms of authoritarianism that work together to centralize decision making power. The worker is exploited by bosses and shareholders at work, exploited by the landlord at home, and exploited by the state through taxation. When the state takes money from owners of the means of production, the state is really taking the spoils taken from workers by private owners, guaranteed to the state for maintaining the system that allows for such conditions to exist in the first place. This is taken into consideration by private owners and worked into their general strategy for profit maximization.

Statecraft involves the argument from authority and /or non authority fallacy (which are fallacies that conflate experts or non experts in a field with evidence). Politicians do not know what is best because they are politicians. As we have witnessed in the controversial Milgram experiment, a shocking amount of participants were willing to electrocute someone to a point that would cause extreme harm because they were told to do so by a person in a lab coat. In the realm of the state people apply a double standard towards political representatives and the police who are not bounded by the laws they administer. The state is an institution that is defined by gratuitous violence yet enforces thou shalt not kill laws (selectively). If we want to maximize well being, then we need to subtract the state, subtract capitalism, subtract the market, subtract sexism, subtract racism, and all other forms of bigotry from society(systemic or behavorial), and use technology to automate the means of production and base production and distribution on human needs and environmental concern. We need highly organized non authoritarian communities that check and balance liberatory technical potential with ecological principles at every stage of production. We need highly organized decentralized yet federated communities that harmonize the individual and the collective and the environment, rather than states. An important difference between a state and a community is that states are necessarily authoritarian whereas communities are not necessarily authoritarian. Part of how the state survives is through people conflating the will of the state with the will of the community the state governs and claims to represent.

One important guardian of scarcity is the belief system that socioeconomic hierarchy is human nature. Private property, states and other forms of socioeconomic hierarchy are not inevitable institutions that arise when there are multiple people. Quoting Dr. James Gilligan, “Violence is not universal. It is not symmetrically distributed throughout the human race. There is a huge variation in the amount of violence in different societies. There are some societies that have virtually no violence. There are others that destroy themselves.” Competition and Behavioral Violence are reactions to environmental conditions, and mechanisms for survival under certain environmental conditions (for example under capitalism people are forced to compete with each other for jobs in order to survive). However different contexts bring about varied mechanisms for survival including behaviors such as free association, cooperation and even pan empathy. Quoting Robert Sapolsky, “It is virtually impossible to understand how biology works outside the context of environment.” Our true human nature is to adapt to our nurture. We are not genetically determined towards socioeconomic hierarchy. Quoting Gabor Mate, “The genetic argument is simply a cop-out which allows us to ignore the social and economic and political factors that, in fact, underlie many troublesome behaviors.” This leaves us with the question: what contexts incentivize mutual aid and compassion, and which contexts incentivize parasitic competitive behavior? Mutual Aid and competition can be seen as survival strategies that can be reinforced and even eliminated depending on the environment. And to what extent are we able to share and give when we are under perpetual threats of absolute or relative deprivation of resources? To what extent can we build a library society when the market surrounding the library society creates the incentive to steal from the commons and the sell the stolen resources?

To hoard resources to the point where you are harming other individuals/collectives by creating artificial scarcity is to recreate a system of abuse since scarcity/unmet needs and socioeconomic hierarchy/unmet needs/abuse are interconnected. Take 10,000 vegan pacifists and put them on an island with no food resources and watch a culture of peace turn into a culture of cannibalism. Our actions are reactions to context, which is why it is absurd to enforce moral laws upon a system that creates the incentive to break such laws.

In order for non authoritarian societies to exist, we need to meet everyone’s needs and minimize abuse/ignorance/malevolence. To create and enforce artificial scarcity is to create and enforce unmet needs and abuse. Yet the market forces us to act in ecocidal ways such as hoarding resources we barely use in order to have access to those resources, or forcing us to use the petro fascist economy in order to have access to relevant mobility, or forcing us to buy cost efficient goods (rather than resource efficient goods) through economic incentive, etc. Conspicuous consumption is a phrase that is used to define consumption for the sake of status rather than utility. It is a defining characteristic of the modern day market (especially the upper classes). If we subtracted this learned behavior from society, our global demand would go down immensely. But there is an incentive within the market to maximize this parasitic behavior, for maximizing consumption for the sake of status is a great way to maximize profit. The value system at the heart of conspicuous consumption is the exact opposite of the value system at the heart of post scarcity economics. Conspicuous consumption is both a result of scarcity based economics, and a mechanism that perpetuates scarcity. If we subtract conspicuous consumption from our society, while applying technology to meet the needs of humans and the environment that we are dependent upon, we can reach a post scarcity society. If people think they are entitled to have all of California as a backyard or other absurd demands such as 5 mansions and 5 cars we cannot (as much as that would be efficient in regards to market efficiency which shows how antithetical the market is to sustainability).

An important characteristic of a hierarchical socioeconomic model is the fact that some people can have the most absurd wants fulfilled while some people are denied their basic needs. Which ever routes can make the most money get priority. And unfortunately there is not a lot of money to be made in free food/free water/free energy/free shelter for everyone (not that there aren’t steps we can take within the current cage of state/capitalist power, just that the entire point of the hierarchical socioeconomic model is to make sure those steps aren’t made without resistance. To what extent can we build a new world within the shell of the old world when the old world prevents the new world from existing? That being said we still need to create the new world within the shell of the old to whatever extent is possible within the current socioeconomic context). Whether we live in a pure state economy or a pure capitalist economy, or some awkward form of love between the two, the same underlying problem of socioeconomic hierarchy persists.

Violent top down organization is damaging to collective and individual well being. For example, violent top down organization creates extreme stress especially within members of the lower castes. This extreme stress causes brain damage amongst other externalities such as increased risk of heart disease and cancer . Paraphrasing Richard Wilkinson’s research, bigger income gaps within economic hierarchies lead to more child conflict, more homicide, more imprisonment, less trust, more drug abuse, more infant mortality, more mental illness, and a decreased life expectancy. And since we are all interdependent upon each other and our environment this winds up harming all of society. So from a purely naturalistic standpoint the governed/governor relationship, the employee/employer relationship, the rich/poor relationship and other forms of socioeconomic hierarchy cause harm. To Quote Albert Einstein: “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” Which leads us to the question: What form of authority is legitimate? The philosopher Bakunin says “Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or engineer.” And most importantly the real authority is the scientific method and the natural laws we are all bounded by. Quoting Bakunin again “in recognizing absolute science as the only absolute authority, we in no way compromise our liberty.” Not only do we not compromise our liberty by accepting the scientific method as our authority, we extend our liberty (for the scientific method can tell us what causes well being/suffering). We need legitimate authority rather than authoritarian social relations.

When we understand that our behavior has environmental context we start to look at the world realizing that there is no person to blame, for it is to incorrect and counterproductive to blame someone for reacting to environmental stimuli. From no blame we can move into pan empathy, and from pan empathy comes the desire to maximize the well being/intelligence/compassion of all people. And there are certain rules we can follow to ensure contexts that minimize harm and maximize well being (such as lack of socioeconomic hierarchy, and the use of liberatory technology). Lack of socioeconomic hierarchy doesn’t mean uniformity nor does it mean chaos. It means differences in abilities unified by liberatory social organization.

Capitalism puts maximizing profit for some before the needs of all. Capitalism puts maximizing profit before human wellbeing, and before liberatory technical potential leading to artificial scarcity of the basic necessities of life, minimizing well being and forcing people into positions of economic servitude in order to survive. The state maximizes profit through rigging the market. Yet when you look closer the market creates the incentive system to rig the market, so the market isn’t being rigged at all (for breaking rules set up within or outside of the market in order to maximize profit is a natural outgrowth of the incentives within the market. The one rule that does not get broken is the law that governs the invisible hand which is “maximize profit”). Capitalism leads to inevitable class warfare because of economic inequality and the unmet needs/abuse/psychosocial stress/death/malevolence/ignorance economic inequality creates. The state then serves the function of protecting the rich from the poor. The state and capitalism are interconnected systems used to privatize the commons via state owned property, private property, and enforcement thereof. Capitalist power and state power merge via venn diagram (due to the power consolidation tendency inherent in socioeconomic hierarchy). All ratios of statist/capitalist power minimize well being via structural/behavioral violence (although some ratios provide comfier cages than others). Statecraft vs. capitalism serves as a false duality that distracts us from options such as post scarcity economics/libertarian municipalism. “Statecraft vs capitalism” is also an incorrect lens to view the world from because the state and capitalism are interconnected (for capitalism needs a state to enforce private property laws). We have the technology to automate the vast majority of toil yet it is not being implemented because human wage slaves are sometimes cheaper than automating a particular chore (for now). Within the market we compete with each other and our technology for labor in order to survive, while scarcity of resources/goods/services creates profit. When our technology is applied towards human needs and environmental concern rather than the maximization of profit the centralization of power we will be able to maximize well being and minimize suffering.