Where Is Our Technology

I remember as a child I use to watch “The Jetsons” in awe of the technology they had wondering if that’s how the world would be in the future when I became an adult. Well, many years later here I am, an adult and the world is more or less the same way it was when I was a child, from a technological standpoint. Sure we have little trinket technologies like iPhones and Tablet PCs but nothing truly revolutionary has come along that has changed our lives in a significant way. Where are the jet packs, flying cars and suction tubes that would take you from one end of the city to the next in a matter of seconds? If you’re over the age of 27 I’m sure we can all agree that we thought that by this time we would have at least had the hovering skateboard from “Back to the Future”. What happened? Where are all of our big technological breakthroughs we so anxiously anticipated as children? Is this laptop I’m writing on and “smartphone” in my pocket really the peak of our technological capabilities in our generation? No not at all.

We may not have flying cars but we do have Maglev technology, such as the Vacuum tube trains, that can take you from NY to California in (12 minutes). We have hydroponic technology that would permit us to grow food in abundance anywhere in the world from the Mohave Desert on its hottest summer day to Chicago in the dead of its coldest winter. As far as hovering skateboards are concerned I’ll do you one better, the Hoverbike by Aerofex corporation. So far, for safety reasons, the Hoverbike has been tested at 30 mph and 15 feet, although earlier versions of it traveled as fast as a helicopter! With this said we’re not even scratching the surface of our current technological capabilities. It is safe to say that we are living, conservatively, 100- 200 years behind what we are technologically capable of at this moment in time. If we put into consideration nanotechnology you can add on another 200 years on top of that. One thing you can bet on is that almost anytime you see so called “new” technology on the news or at a science convention more than likely it is far from new. The first solar power motor was invented in the 1860’s by August Mouchout. In 1877 Professor James Blyth built the first wind turbine that powered his cottage in Marykirk with electricity. It is only now within the last five or so years that clean renewable energy has halfheartedly come up in popular discourse, yet has been in existence for over one hundred years. Hydroponic farming as well has been known and understood since the 1800’s. One of the first detailed designed prototypes for a vacuum tube train powered by maglev technology was done by Robert Goddard in the 1910’s!

So, where is our technology? It is being held hostage by a monetary system that will not release it unless a profit can be made. The facts are that we’ll never see natural renewable energy such as solar, wind and tidal power come to fruition anytime in the near or distant future because that would spell the end of the power industry that exist today. For there is  profit to make off  of the sun. If solar and electric powered cars caught on that would be the end of the multibillion dollar oil industry. Here is a clear case of  how our profit driven monetary system is stifling are technical growth.

High-speed maglev lines between major cities of southern California and Las Vegas are also being studied via the California-Nevada Interstate Maglev Project. This plan was originally supposed to be part of an I-5 or I-15 expansion plan, but the federal government has ruled it must be separated from interstate public work projects. Since the federal government decision, private groups from Nevada have proposed a line running from Las Vegas to Los Angeles with stops in Primm, Nevada; Baker, California; and points throughout San Bernardino County into Los Angeles. Southern California politicians have not been receptive to these proposals; many are concerned that a high speed rail line out of state would drive out dollars that would be spent in state “on a rail” to Nevada.

(California-Nevada Interstate Maglev)

The fact is that we are actually drowning in “Jetson” like technology that would greatly benefit humanity but is bad for business. The profit driven monetary system has been the single greatest hindering force in preventing meaningful progress in human society. At this moment in time we are at a state of stagnation in which there are no tangible technological breakthroughs other than trinket technology like smartphones and iPads. Furthermore this stagnation has lead to countless deaths from starvation, preventable diseases, and preventable accidents all due to the fact that technology which could easily prevent so many of these issues are shelved because they are not profitable. It seems that we are truly in the second Stone Age. Think about it, if you live on the west coast but all your family lives on the east coast how great would it be to be able to hop on a vacuum tube train and make it to your mother’s 60th birthday party in 10-12 minutes, amazing. But instead, because we’re are not utilizing our technological capabilities and you don’t have the time to take off work to fly out to New York, let alone the money, your restricted to viewing the party through a web cam -_-

We must come to the understanding that our profit driven monetary system may have been necessary at one point in time but is currently obsolete and is holding humanity back on many different levels.  The time has come that we must update society to our current scientific and technological understandings (Resource Based Economy) such as is proposed by the Zeitgeist Movement and Venus Project. Failure to do so will result in the continues stagnation of our technological reality and perpetuation of the multiple societal issues which can easily be prevented through the application of the scientific method.

Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.

-R. Buckminster Fuller

I Hate My Job…And So Do You

In late October 2011 a very telling Gallup poll was released in regards to the state of American workers. In it, the Gallup poll revealed that 71% of American workers are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at their jobs. Though this is hardly a shocker for the common worker, what this poll does provide us with is the official validation of what we have known all our adult lives and that is, work sucks. With the overwhelming number U.S. employment being low wage service sector jobs, it is hardly a mystery to why workers feel this way? How “engaged” can one actually be from behind the cash register? Or from behind a cubical for that matter, spending day after day staring into a computer screen punching in numbers. As for myself, in regards to those who are “actively disengaged”, I have stopped being surprised at bad customer service. Bad customer service is to be expected when a 20 hour a week employee is given a 40 hour a week work load for minimum wage. Furthermore according to another, separate, Gallup poll “American workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace — known as “actively disengaged” workers — rate their lives more poorly than do those who are unemployed.” (Gallup poll by Jim Harter and Sangeeta Agrawal)

Once again this should not be shocking because to be unemployed and struggling is one thing. But to have a job and still be struggling is a completely different class of its own. The issue at hand is not a matter of laziness but lack of purpose at the work place. Day after day we enter the daily grind of work but for what?  Every day is the same, wake up, go to work, go home, go to sleep. Take that and combine it with the lack of work place autonomy and low wages and what you get is not just an unhappy worker but a very unhappy human being. Society is long overdue of a reevaluation of what it means to work, how work should be approached and if work, as traditionally practiced, is  even necessary at this junction in time (hint, Resource Based Economy) but one thing for certain is that 72% of the working population knows that something is wrong in regards to work. The question is what will we do about it?

The End of Money

It has been said that money is the root of all evil and for the most part that saying is correct. The number one cause of crime, divorces, arguments, fights and just about every problem that you have in your life boils down to one common denominator and that is money or lack thereof. This is not to say that money has always been a great evil that humanity has had to deal with. But when one takes the time to review the evolution of money and the role that it has played in society it then becomes clear that use of money has become obsolete and hence a problem in modern society.

One of the earliest forms of physical currency was commodity money. Commodity money were objects that had direct value in themselves (tobacco, corn, wheat, leather, alcohol, gold, silver etc..) and could be used as a medium of exchange for other goods. One of the key problems with commodity money was that, like bartering, it required a “coincidence of wants”. Meaning, if you walked into a shop with tobacco as your commodity money but the shop owner had no need nor use for the tobacco then you could not purchase anything in the shop. As time progressed more and more people began using gold and silver coins as a medium of exchange due to the inconvenience of storage, transportation and decaying of commodity money they possessed. This is a very important mark in the transition to take note of. The shift from commodity money to coinage made goods more liquid because the actual coinage had a single recognized unit of exchange.

Shortly there after, along side with coinage, came representative money (paper money, gold standard). Representative money (paper money, gold standard) was backed by an underlying commodity, in the case of the United States the underlying commodity was gold. During the time of the “gold standard” in the United States you could exchange you dollar for gold and that is what gave the dollar actual worth. This reduced the need of having to actually walk around with physical gold, it was simply a lot lighter on the pockets. The practice of purchasing goods with gold and other precious metals continued until 1933 when it was banned out of fear of hoarding gold during a period of economic depression in which maximal circulation of money was desired by influential economist. In 1971 the gold standard was officially banned by President Nixon due to foreign arbitrage during the Vietnam War (Nixon Shock).

(Example of Arbitrage)

Suppose that the exchange rates (after taking out the fees for making the exchange) in London are £5 = $10 = ¥1000 and the exchange rates in Tokyo are ¥1000 = $12 = £6. Converting ¥1000 to $12 in Tokyo and converting that $12 into ¥1200 in London, for a profit of ¥200, would be arbitrage. In reality, this “triangle arbitrage” is so simple that it almost never occurs. But more complicated foreign exchange arbitrages, such as the spot-forward arbitrage are much more common.

The elimination of representative money brings us to where we are today, Fiat Money. Fiat money is a form of currency that is without any intrinsic value. Essentially the dollar in you pocket today is merely a worthless piece of paper whose value is established by government decree. Fiat money is the current prevailing form of currency in the world today. One of the main problems with fiat money is that because it is not backed by a fixed amount of gold or any other commodity of worth it can be printed at will. Unregulated this eventually causes hyperinflation.

Upon the examination of the evolution of money there is one thing which sharply stands out. Which is, up until this point in humane history money has always been, essentially, a tool of resource management guiding the distribution of goods accordingly. During the time in humane history when scarcity of goods were real it was necessary for money to exist in order to prevent rapid shortages of goods that could not be quickly reproduced, due to the lack of scientific and technological understanding. Today, scarcity in the world is not actual but deliberate simply to maintain our old outdated social structure. Currently,we have the technological understanding to produce the necessities of life for everyone on the planet without the need for money,  it is merely a matter of applying it. Money is no longer necessary in human society.

At this point in time money dose nothing but cause problems. The next time you see a homeless man laying on the side of the road, stop and think about why he is homeless. Is because there is it because there isn’t enough housing. Nope, as you drive around your city there are plenty of vacant apartments and condominiums that you see everyday. Then ask yourself why is the homeless man hungry. Is it because there is a shortage of food. Nope, every time you walk into a grocery store the shelves, not including the stockroom, are filled with more food than they can sell that they eventually end up throwing out. Then why, why is he in such a horrible state, oh yeah, its because “he can’t afford” any of those things, that’s why. Well why doesn’t he stop being lazy and get a stupid job. Yeah, a stupid job, you know what I’m talking about. Kind of like the one you (the reader) wake up and go to everyday, standing behind a cash register or sitting behind a cubical in an office, that kind of stupid job. The stupid job that you hate going to everyday and then will call a homeless person lazy for not having when in actuality your just jealous because you wish you didn’t have to work like the homeless man. As a matter of fact why don’t you just quit your job and pursue that thing that your actually passionate about, oh yeah, “you can’t afford to”.

The End of History or Just the Beginning?

Since the fall of the Soviet Union many scholars have declared that the world has reached the end of its ideological debates and that there is no longer any viable alternatives  liberal democracies. No one has become more known for this argument than Francis Fukuyama who in the the summer of 1989 wrote an essay, published in The National Interest boldly titled The End of History

The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic  alternatives to Western liberalism….. What we my be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.

Since then many have opposed this view of “the end of history”, mainly proponents of communism, but it would appear that many more have accepted it. It is not uncommon to hear journalist, pundits, and politicians, when questioned on the state of the world, with all its problems, to answer by saying, “the system is not perfect but its the best that we’ve got”. Even the everyday common man, when posed with the same questions will simply through up his hands and say, “that’s just the way it it”. But is it really just the away it is? Looking upon the world with all of its poverty, disease, inequality and endless wars, is this really the best humanity can do? Have we actually reached the end of history? By no means. To say that we have reached the end of history is to break the number one law of the universe which is, the only constant in the world is change. It must be reiterated, nothing in the universe let alone the world stays the same forever. Humans have been wondering this earth for millions of years and have constantly evolved socially from hunter gatherer to agrarian societies, monarchies to representative democracy (Liberal Democracy). So with the understanding that nothing is forever, the question then becomes, what comes after Liberal Democracy. In the past, many throughout the world believed communism to be a viable alternative but history has shown that communism (as it has been historically practiced) does not work. But over the past few years a little known idea, introduced by Jacque Fresco, has been bubbling over the surface of the consciousness of the people which is slowly but surely beginning to take from and that idea is a Resource Based Economy. A resource based economy is an economy not based on the movement of money but rather the intelligent management of the earths resources through the utilization of current technological and scientific understandings.

Society is a technical invention and the most efficient methods of optimized human health, physical production, distribution, city infrastructure and the like reside in the field of science and technology, not politics or monetary economics. It operates in the same systematic way as, say and airplane and there is no republican or liberal way to build and airplane.

-Peter Joseph (Zeitgeist: Moving Forward)

The three short short videos at the bottom will help you understand the concepts and values of a resource based economy.

For more detailed information you can visit “The Venus Project” and “The Zeitgeist Movement

Don’t be afraid to learn something new.