The False Left-Right Paradigm vs. A Resource-Based Economy
Those who criticize the so-called “capitalist” economic ideal are often pejoratively branded as “socialist” or “communist”, as though these were the only alternatives to an unregulated free market. This assumes that the only options for societal operation exist within a restricted political paradigm, somewhere between “left” and “right” wing. A Resource-Based Economy (RBE) shatters this narrow frame of reference to far extend the perspective of how Socio-Economics can be defined.
First, some definitions:
Capitalism: As defined by the Austrian School of Economics, the most extreme form of capitalism (not including Anarcho-Capitalism) would be an almost non-existent form government (or “laissez faire”) that would only serve to enforce the country’s competition policy, to preserve rights, and to uphold physical and intellectual property. (In other words, there can never be a pure free market – keep this is mind.)
Communism: As defined by Karl Marx, communism is a classless and stateless system where the means of production are state or commonly owned.
Neither of these extreme forms of government has ever existed in history – only degrees in between. Even if they had been implemented, these constructs have obvious flaws that would serve to corrupt the idealized form of these models.
For example, adherents to the Austrian School of Economics’ brand of capitalist philosophy claim that the US is not a capitalist nation today; rather, it is a form of “Crony Capitalism” or “Corporatism”, since the government and corporations have usurped so much power as to supposedly limit the role of the “free market”. However, this view ignores the mechanisms inherent in the economic structure and what this system truly is in terms of the behaviors it produces. If the free market were to be reset, it would only be a matter of time before cartels, lobbyists, and special interests took over. Remember, everything is for sale in the marketplace, and that includes politicians and legal legislation. This free market, contrary to the dogma spewed out by its near-religious adherents, is an unscientific organizational, “anti-economic” structure, which assumes that any person or group with enough money and hence power will be “responsible” in their actions, both socially and environmentally. The problem is that to be “financially responsible” in this system is to be socially and environmentally exploitative, manipulative and negligent. The reason: the main driver of this system is not peak efficiency (and hence sustainability) with respect to the optimized use of Earth’s resources, but simply the blindly self-serving pursuit of maximizing profit irrespective of the externalized consequences. Simply put, there is no life coordinate in this system – only an assumed outcome of prosperity guided by the “invisible hand”. There is only a private money coordinate, such that any time an obstacle arises within the capitalist structure that blocks the “turning of private money into more private money” (also defined as “freedom” in the capitalist lexicon), the defenders of the capitalist structure are outraged.
On the other side of the spectrum, the idealized form of Communism alluded toward an eventual moneyless society. However, Marx never provided a detailed description as to how communism would function as a social system, especially in terms of the decision-making process. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx generally advises on how to transition from a form of socialism to his envisioned model, but this has never occurred in history. Perhaps one of the reasons is because the corrupting forces that exist in any degree of market system were still present. Establishment views of socialism contend that the market system is inefficient with respect to its allocation of goods and services, and as such, requires government intervention in order to re-allocate resources more fairly or efficiently.
Eventually, it may be understood that the distinction between either ends of the political spectrum becomes blurred, since the incentive for corruption always exists. Even the revered Adam Smith warned of businessmen’s inherent incentive for “conspiracy against the public or in some other contrivance to raise prices”, as well as the collusive nature of business interests which may form cabals or monopolies. He also warned that a true “laissez-faire” (or purely capitalist economy) would quickly become a conspiracy of businesses and industry against consumers, with the former plotting to corrupt politics and legislation.
The left-right distinction becomes further obscured when we take a step back and view society from a completely different frame of reference, through the lens of science rather than politics.
With respect to sustainability, defined as a strategic practice for intelligently managing Earth’s resources for optimized collective benefit of all the world’s people, all of these ‘isms’ are inherently flawed and scientifically untenable.
A Resource-Based Economy, as first defined by Jacque Fresco, is a global system where all goods and services are made available without the use of money, credits, debt, barter or any other form of servitude or medium of exchange. The contemporary political notion of government would be replaced with an organizational structure which arrives at decisions based on applying the scientific method rather than arbitrarily making decisions through “democratic” processes. Production, distribution and management would be carried out based on what are the most efficient (and thus sustainable) processes that can be carried out with our scientific and technological knowledge of a given time.
The laws of nature are nonnegotiable, so it is the best queue from which to base our social operations upon. Any social system not in direct accordance with natural law will suffer the inevitable consequences. Providing access abundance to all people would eliminate most of the detrimental behaviors that exist from within a monetary system, such as property crime, corporate crime, and theft. Moreover, due to the system being global in nature, war, the most profitable business venture, would be surpassed.
The legal system would be transformed from one based on punishment and retribution, to a more rehabilitative and educational system that studies the social environments that are responsible for socially offensive acts.
A Resource-Based Economy is holistically aimed to raise society to present-day scientific knowledge, utilizing the best technologies to enhance and optimize the lives of everyone. This is an impossible under our current socioeconomic system or any system in which money is pursued for the sake of money alone, independent of the social and environmental repercussions.