In the first important work written by an Austrian economist, Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics, Menger makes the observation that Communism will work when resources are unlimited. (Peter Joseph‘s resource based economy is already assuming that resources are currently unlimited.) What Menger overlooked, and Joseph couldn’t even realize to begin with, is that LAND is not unlimited. In other words, in Joseph’s “unlimited resources” world, assuming that by some as yet developed technology he can build pre-fab houses for everyone on the planet, what if I and about a million other people want to live on Malibu Beach? How is the resource based marketless economy going to determine who gets to live where on the limited land on Earth?
But, as Menger did point out, and Joseph does not know, is that all value is subjective. What if many people don’t want to live in the pre-fab houses that the “caring” Peter Joseph envisions are to be built?
I know! I know! I know! In this “it’s not socialism” resource based economy, either people will selflessly choose to live in the sterile (in my subjective view) pre-fab houses that the machines (because there is no labor in a resource based economy) will build—whether or not each person likes or even wants a house (as opposed to an apartment), or they will be forced to live in the pre-fab house so as not to be “selfish” toward their fellow human beings. (Sort of like those outfits that everyone was forced to wear in China during the halcyon Mao years so as not to display any materialistic individuality. Of course, we already know what the individual Peter Joseph thinks about individuality.) Is a resource based economy starting to remind you of anything? (HINT: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”)
If you look at the Zeitgeist website, you can see that someone (the egotistical Peter Joseph, perhaps?) must determine what goods will be built with the alleged “unlimited” resources. Like a command economy, it must be that way because unless each person can determine his or her subjective taste in the products he or she wants through a market economy, the production of goods in general still has to be limited by a person or persons if there is no market to determine the subjective material preferences of individuals.
To prove my point, here’s a quote from the Venus Project (which is the blueprint that Joseph is working from):
“Considerable amounts of energy would also be saved by eliminating the duplication of competitive products such as tools, eating utensils, pots, pans and vacuum cleaners.” [By the way, if, according to the Venus Project, there is “a limitless supply of renewable…energy,” then there would be no reason to be concerned with saving energy. Duh.]
Also, is no one going to be running the machines or even supervising the computers that run the machines in this resource based laborless economy? Since even the best machines won’t last forever, I want to know who are the “selfless” designers, engineers, technicians, etc. who are going to build new improved machines or repair the old ones for nothing—while the people who used to work at MacDonald’s flipping hamburgers or packing groceries at my local store can now (according to the “caring” Peter Joseph) sit around in their free pre-fab houses waiting for the new machines or the repairing of the old machines?
I do believe that as technology advances, more and more people on Earth will see their standard of living improve. That’s the way it’s been since the Industrial Revolution thanks to the system that Peter Joseph says doesn’t work: capitalism.
And don’t forget: According to the economically-ignorant Joseph, there will be great, free healthcare for everyone. (Can’t wait to see my great doctors breaking their necks for free while I sit home catching up on my as yet unseen Sergei Parajanov films. By the way, are my great doctors a limitless resource? I think not. There goes that pesky need again for a market and money to sort out this particular limited resource.)
Paging ‘Samantha Stevens’!7:10 pm on October 26, 2012 Email David Kramer