The friendly way
I've been watching the Zeitgeist movement for quite a while now and I am wondering about one thing: Why haven't we already left the market and created the new society?
I've found some attempts to get things going, but most of them were either just for self supply or hobby projects. The new cooperative society which is required to maintain the high-tech resource based economy still seems to be missing. So why isn't this great idea already causing a world-wide transition?
Let's look at the requirements for the new economy:
To create and maintain the resource based economy for the whole of mankind we need 5-10 percent of the people volunteering to do the work, some more at the beginning, because we have to develop technologies and build facilities for automated production. 10 percent are about 700.000.000 (700 million) people willing and capable to work. Additionally we need full access to all resources of the planet.
I don't think we are close to matching either of these two requirements in any way, so the major reason we don't apply a new society is because we lack resources and volunteers. Unfortunately I haven't found in any article or video a way to solve these two problems. The usual comments are: “There will be enough volunteers because they know this is better than the market” and “Planetary resources are enough for mankind.” Those refer to a time when the new economy is already up and running, but they are pretty worthless for today, when we have to start from scratch.
You can see this from a positive and a negative point of view:
The negative is that we cannot build the system unless everyone wants to create it. So let's wait and inform everyone until the whole population wants to create the new economy.
The positive point of view accepts this as a great challenge. If we can successfully start and maintain the new economy in the current situation, it will for sure be better than the actual market economy. Also this will prove that the economy will overcome any crisis because we would have overcome the lack in almost anything, which we have to face right now.
I prefer the second way because if the new society and economy shall be an improvement, they have to work even when facing bad circumstances. So let's just start a better society with our own economy, so people can experience, not just hear or read that there is a better way to live.
The Basic Rules
Leaving the market is way harder than you might think. No matter what you do, as long as you have to spend money, you depend on the financial market. And as long as you depend on the market, you are supporting it. So the major task of this way is not to produce or to inform, but to create a society where people can live without spending money and still have a similar or even better life than those who work for money. I have four rules which are required in order to create a stable society and economy right now.
1. Everyone is free
The most important rule first: Everyone is free. This is more a duty than a privilege, because everyone has to respect each other's freedom. This means people don't “have” to think this way, or have “the duty” to do that thing. If they decide to join, they are free to join. If they decide to leave, they are free to leave. This is quite a change, because people are used to joining a group with certain rules that everyone has to follow. But to invite literally every single human, we have to accept everyone. Our only real demand is that you have to accept each other as they are, no matter what you think of their way of life.
This also affects the reason why people join our society. It doesn't matter whether they join because they want to save the world or mankind, because they want to improve their live, have more spare time, or because they want to practice weird stuff that doesn't harm anyone who doesn't want to be harmed but isn't accepted by their current community. No matter why they want to join, they can join.
In the same way, be honest about what you want. There is no use if you sacrifice yourself for a new world. You will scare people who just want a way out of their personal misery and additionally start to expect others to offer a similar sacrifice, which would be neither required nor possible. We want to create a better society, not just replace “for money” with “for the greater good.”
Of course, you are free to work as much as you want, just keep in mind – and remind other people – that you do this just because you want to, not because there is any duty or rule to do so.
Why freedom first?
Because if any rule, even the most harmless and reasonable one, is set above freedom, you just open the door for oppression. Please don't ever dare to put something before freedom, not a “Greater Good” or even survival. It won't lead to any better situation than right now. Remember, almost all of the industrial nations have been created as free nations for free people. What we experience right now is the fact that many people think it is more important to save the market than to preserve freedom. And the reason why many people obey is because they think it's for survival - that mankind cannot survive without the market.
2. Granted supply as the new “salary”
There are many people who see salary as a source of our problems. Maybe they have forgotten the original purpose of salary: To grant supply for working people. You can spend the money you earn to get things you need. If our society just cuts salary without any replacement, right now workers would risk starving on the streets. Or they have to work in the market for money, which supports the market. That isn't a real option for most people because working in two economies at the same time is way more than they are willing and capable to do.
So there are two rules to grant supply for those who do the work in our economy:
a) If you work, you will get the things you need.
We aim to supply everybody, but if there isn't enough, those who work will get their share before anyone else. If the new economy is fully running, both workers and those who don't do anything productive will get the same, because there will be more than enough. But if there isn't enough, working for the economy grants you a supply at least as good as just living on your own.
b) If you produce, you have first choice.
This means if you produce something, you are free to take your share before the product is packed and distributed. This way working will always grant you what you want faster than simply waiting for others to produce it. Again, if everything is available immediately, there is now real difference between working people and others. This is a simple extra motivation to get people working, because it will be the fastest way to get what you want.
Why is this second, even though salary isn't seen as a good thing?
Because there is a very basic rule in any economy: You work to survive. This isn't just a human rule, this is the basic principle of animal life. Even a sea anemone which normally just sits at the same location will work and move to find a better place if the current place becomes unhealty.
If the resource based economy is the main economy and everything is available almost immediately, these rules will fade, because there isn't a real difference if you just order them or work a few hours and get your share directly.
Maybe at that time we can remove this rule, but not as long as there are humans starving. Right now there are people starving, and as long as we haven't changed this, we need to care for those who spend time to build the new economy instead of working for their own demands.
3. Focus cooperation
The most obvious part of cooperation is to share your knowledge and your capacity with every other group of our society. I recommend increasing this, so people can easily find solutions and help, even if they don't have much time to search. A better connection grants a faster way to solve problems and organise high-technology production more efficiently.
Also, if there are two ways to do something, don't just try to praise your own way. Give both a try and decide on the results to get the better or a mix of both. Although today we hear “this or that” so often, there is almost always a way to test multiple options.
Another important part is to act in a responsible way. If you are running a big food production and supply a town for free, you will cause trouble for the local farmers, because they can hardly compete with free food. Help them, even if they hate you. You are responsible for their misery, so don't abuse this to force them into anything. We want to preserve freedom, so help those who suffer because of your actions, no matter what they think about you and without any demands.
Why is this the third?
Because the more people are working together, the greater the result will be. Also, copying from each other is one of the greatest abilities of mankind. If you have a solution, it won't do much on a global level unless millions of people become aware of it and start to copy it. The restrictions on copying knowledge for free (patent and licence) are currently the greatest handicap of our society, so please share whatever you learn and team up with whoever you can.
In addition, some technologies require quite a lot of specialised work. It might be good to divide tasks between several groups. Remember, we want to create a global, highly technological economy, not a lot of small, self-sufficient communities.
If you just share with your members, you're just following the old religion/politician way of gathering people for your sake. If you demand something in return, you just follow the way of a normal trader. We want to get rid of these things, so try to help and share knowledge with as many people as possible.
4. Aim for the world
We may be no more than a few freaks when we start creating the new society, but our aim is to supply the world. So there is not much use if you create a small community that just produces for its own demands. Try to get as much as possible without money and share it with everyone in range. This way people will experience that there is a way to live without money and that the market isn't that important and irreplaceable. Try to produce as much as you can, so there are more people who benefit from your group than who are working in it. I don't think that we will reach the optimistic goal of 5 percent working (that means producing 20 times what you need) right now, but if you manage to reach 10-20 percent for food (5-10 times what you need) and 40 percent (more than twice as much as you need) for technical goods would be a great success.
That also means that we want to create a real alternative for the monetary market. There are tons of goods and hundreds of services which we have to provide if we want to create a real replacement for the current economy. For this reason there should be some people in any group who don't use money, but completely rely on the new economy. They will experience what's still missing and therefore have a good view on what has to be done. A great economy does not just produce tons of goods, but grants full supply of everything the people need, like and want. So don't just look for things you can produce; try to find solutions for things you need to provide.
Why is this even in the list?
Because this is the main reason I wrote this article and (hopefully) you are still reading. I don't want so set a sign, talk about how much better everything could be or simply try something, so I can say afterwards, “At least I have tried.”
I want to change the world. Really, literally, physically. And I think if enough try this way, if just one group is successful, it will spread. And if it spreads, more people will become aware of it, not because of some nice articles or videos, but because they see people living a better life and getting goods just for free. This will make them try our way, too, so we will grow faster and faster. At first we may be just some fools trying hard on something foolish, but if this is successful it will create a movement which nothing and no one can stop, capable of literally changing the way people live.
But that won't happen if no one tries to or if the first successful group is just supplying itself and lives happily at an isolated place. It also won't be successful if you don't let everyone know your solutions or if you just help for demands, such as lifetime membership or trade agreements. This would simply turn you into a merchant, who just wants something different than money, scaring people away. Everyone is free to join and free to leave. This way people may join for a week of vacation to test our way, without any risk to sign anything suspicious. A few groups who cannot offer anything useful might be able to start with your help and maybe one of them will be the one to find a solution you are desperately looking for.
A way to start
So, if you want to start, but haven't got any idea how to start, here is a possible way to get things going. This isn't the way to go, you may find better solutions or other important tasks; it's just a hint of how things may get going.
At first, you need to find several people who also want to try this. Divide into two teams, the first will still earn money, while the others leave the market. The first team grants basic supply for the second, that means some cheap food, a place to sleep, some goods. The supply should be as cheap as possible, because you might also need some money to get the first materials and machines.
Now the second team has time to look for technologies to produce what they need (to replace the cheap stuff they get right now), some place to produce it and other groups nearby, which can help. As soon as they find some place, try to get food production going. Aim for multiple times what the whole group needs. This way, the money team can spend more money for material instead of food. If you earn more money than you need, increase the size of the second team. Remember, although at first you have to use money, the target is to spend as little money as possible. You can also start to give away a great share of food to the next town. This way you might find some new members or at least show some people that there is a lifestyle beside the market.
Find a way to get materials. A good way is to recycle old stuff. There are tons of garbage created by our current economy, which we do have to face anyway. If you can use this to get material, you also reduce the current waste. In addition, you have a way to recycle broken things and garbage you create yourself. This way every bit of material which you acquire won't ever be lost for our society.
If you are the first group in the area, try to create machines for building construction. This way you and other groups nearby will have it much easier to construct buildings if you find a place without a suitable building. If there is a group with such machines nearby, try to focus on a production that is still missing in your area. There is a great variety of what we need, e.g., cloth, computers, furniture, transportation, etc.
Another important issue is to create your own energy and water supply. Try to get some apartment buildings, so all members of your group and new members have a place to live for free.
We will also benefit from a free Internet node. Right now the Internet is the major way to share and find technologies, solutions and help. If we have several nodes of our own, we might be able to keep connected with each other even if some government or company tries to limit our Internet traffic.
If you are this far, you've done a great job. If you need to reduce the money you spend, try to get win-win agreements with the government. When you share what you produce, that's welfare, which people usually like, and therefore gets support by most governments. It doesn't even cost any money; it's enough to let you work without charging money for taxes or fees. Another example would be to build and repair roads just for the cost of the material; this helps the government save money. But don't forget to help those people whose jobs you are replacing. You throw them out of business, therefore they need help to stay out of misery.
If you already are a group with your own production, try to find what's still missing and look for other groups that might need some help and share your knowledge as much as you can.
If you do pretty much what I am talking about, find out why the heck I haven't heard of you and your techniques yet. Such a success should be easy to find, so everyone can copy it.
The Friendly Way
So why is this called “the friendly way”? Because this way you will help people, instead of fighting the market. If this is going pretty well, we may be able to avoid the Day Z event (the market collapse), because people will join our society and leave the market. This way the market will just shrink and become less and less important - until there are just some buildings and equipment left, without any people using them. The market won't crash, money will just become worthless, because no one needs it anymore.
The name is also a reminder of the fact that this way does not exclude anyone. If you are in the first group and distribute the first truckload in a town, there might not be much of a difference if you refuse to give a rich banker some food. But when we will have been successful and the food supply is totally for free, refusing someone his food seems to be a simple act, but it will force him to fight for his food or to starve. We don't want to fight. The resource-based economy is meant to enable a minority of people to supply the whole of mankind; there is no reason to be greedy when you have enough to share. In addition, if you give 100 bankers food for free, maybe a few will join and help. That would be totally worth it.
Also it doesn't demand anything without any benefit for those who do the work. At first this may be just a little more spare time, but the bigger the new economy grows, the better your life will be, without any stress and money.
This is just the basic idea of how to change the world by helping people instead of fighting the market. A way to simply turn your back to the market and live the way you want to live, just by relying on the people who want the same instead of money or rules.
Most people won't bite the hand that feeds them (which currently is the market), so they won't support you as long as the resource-based economy isn't up and running as a real alternative.
So now it's up to you. If you like the idea, try it. If you don't like it, post that and – much more important – why you don't like it. If you think some parts are bad, post a better way to do so (and why it's better). The intention isn't to build exactly what I wrote, but to create an economy which can start and exist beside any other economy while depending as little as possible on them.