What is TZM? - Spur Magazine
The following content is a Summary of TZM which was published in May 2012 in issue#2 of Spur Magazine – Adelaide, Australia. Please view at http://issuu.com/spurmagazine/docs/spur_issue_2
People already familiar with TZM may find it useful for communicating a basic premise of what we are all about.
The Zeitgeist Movement - in short could be defined as a reference point to the train of thought required for people to understand so that humanity can transcend an increasingly destructive socio-economic model (that has negatively affected all areas of our global society) based on outdated traditional values that not only encourages; but in fact requires infinite growth, scarcity ,constant technically un-necessary or socially pointless services and increasing levels of resource consumption so that it can continue to operate. We are now at a cross roads where not only Is it in our interests to outgrow this outdated economic model, we have to in order for future generations )and possible our current generation) to survive as a species.
The Zeitgeist Movement recognizes that the current socio-economic system dominant throughout the world is the root cause of what many people perceive to be isolated social and environmental problems or simply inherent flaws in human nature and behavior. However in our current system many social problems have a reinforced incentive. Problems such as violence / war , greed, poverty, inequality, resource depletion, environmental degradation, drug abuse, increasing mental and physical health disorders are just some of the reinforced symptoms of our social disease, the root cause being monetary economics and the behavioral tendencies and psychological values it perpetuates.
Caution: People often reject this information because they have an immediate emotional reaction to it because it is likely to conflict with their current values or beliefs they perceive as intangible realities. However, the nature of our reality and understandings of the world is emergent. It is important that people think critically and process information outside of the confines of their current cultural values in order for them to understand the train of thought The Zeitgeist Movement promotes. So while you are reading this, ask yourself: are you processing this information critically or are you dismissing it based on a narrow and isolated frame of reference?
Considering The Zeitgeist Movement recognizes monetary economics as the underlying root cause of social and environmental destabilization we have to consider viable alternatives, but before you consider an alternative, consider this: what is an economy?
An economy is supposed to be the efficient distribution/management of resources and human energy in order to sustain a progressive society. When applied to social concern it should also reinforce desired behavioral tendencies and decrease negative behavioral tendencies and meet universal human needs. Therefore a real economy must have a basis on our current scientific understandings in order to definitively serve its function.
So what do we have now? Our current model not only encourages - but requires constant increased consumption of the planets resources. It is in the interest of industry to keep us consuming as much as possible at an exponential rate so they can create profit. This is obviously perpetuated through advertising and more importantly through intrinsic and planned obsolescence. Intrinsic obsolescence is the creation of a good that is immediately inferior due to restrictions imposed by cost efficiency. Planned obsolescence is the conscious/deliberate reduction of efficiency through design and production methods so that goods being sold have to break down and be replaced at a rate that can allow the cyclical consumption of the Earth’s resources and hence create more profit. This is obvious in technology such as mobile phones which could simply be designed so they can be easily repaired or upgraded when new advancements are made. However it is more profitable for consumers to go out and buy an entire new phone as frequently as possible.
Monetary economics also requires the constant waste of human energy and potential because we all need “jobs” to earn money. Even though technology exists that can replace most human labor or services it cannot be implemented because it would reduce the lower class’s purchasing power and therefore be less profitable for industry as a whole, therefore it is not in the interest of corporations to maximize human potential.
Also, something that is rarely considered is that outside of the context of monetary economics many existing “services” are completely invalid eg: any occupation that involves the handling or accounting of money, advertising, marketing and sales - just to name a few. I believe I also have witnessed council workers using leaf blowers in parks where there were no leaves. But anyway, the fact that government and the general populous tend to think that creating more “jobs” is a sign of social progress shows just how distorted our values and measures of success are because a society with a true economy would perceive the redundancy of pointless or obsolete “jobs” (wasting human energy) as positive social progress and efficiency.
It is also clear that monetary economics increases negative behavioral tendencies (war, violence, greed etc.) and decreases positive behavioral tendencies (innovation, compassion, creativity etc). Monetary economics requires behavioral and technical inefficiency for many reasons but to summarize quickly it requires the servicing of problems and scarcity in order for people to have jobs and to create value.
So, what is the alternative?
The alternative economic model is the application of the scientific method for social concern; this could be called an Earth Economy.
It is not a set model, instead it constantly updates as our understandings and technology progresses. It is not based on the movement of money or any units of exchange, but the intelligent management of the Earth’s resources drawing inference to the physical world as to the most efficient, strategic and sustainable method for meeting the needs of the human population.
The Zeitgeist Movement is not loyal to any country, race, religion or political party. It recognizes the world as one symbiotic system. It is also not an institution; rather it recognizes the emergent nature of our reality and our understandings. It does not have elected leaders or leaders of any kind; the only authority is the scientific foundation for social health, progress, sustainability and individual development. Anyone can participate in any way they desire including you, our system is collaborative, not competitive.
From here we are able to arrange society with very little need for human opinion, the system we describe is self-generating and it becomes self-evident once those parameters are assumed. For such an economy to take place there are three dominant economic principles which should be considered in the long term.
We live in a virtually closed planet with a set of mostly finite resources at our disposal. Given this reality the logic becomes quite clear as to our responsibility if we wish to allow our habitat to sustain itself for future generations and meet the needs of the current population. We must organize and account. Proper economic resource allocation really cannot be made unless we have a clear understanding of what we have and where it is in a complete and unified way. Eventually this understanding will lead to what we call the “Carrying Capacity of the Earth”, which is very important information. But this accounting; of course is only the first step.
We also need to track the rates of change and regeneration where applicable. Usage rates must be lower than regeneration rates for sustainability. The classic example of this issue today is deforestation. Trees have a natural growth rate and cycle and if our use of wood exceeds the rate of natural regeneration (which is of course the case today unfortunately) we have a problem. For it is by definition unsustainable. Remember, the monetary market model requires as much consumption as possible to keep the growing population employed and the economy operational. This is of course simple eco-cidal.
Remember, a core requirement of a true economy is to economize. Or be strategically efficient and conservative. Today we live in what could be called an “anti-economy”.
Efficiently meeting the spectrum of human needs on a finite planet in a sustainable way means resource allocation must be optimized strategically and conservatively. Today this is not done or you could say haphazardly done through arbitrary monetary realizations. It is about what can be afforded by the producer and hence the consumer, not what the most scientifically efficient and strategic usage actually is. Not to mention the issue of longevity of a given good and the method to be used for its eventual breakdown hence recycling. All of these elements need to be considered in the initial design without the interference of the market system and cost efficiency which serve as inhibitors to sustainable design. An economy is about increasing efficiency at all times. It is about doing what is scientifically correct. Not what some company can afford in order to remain competitive in the market model.
We need strategic accounting, allocation and design as derived from proven technical parameters that assure maximum efficiency and sustainability. Anything less is simply negligence.
We can now compare 7 economic attributes comparing the logic of monetary-market economics to an Earth economy.
Now ask yourself, which model better fits the definition of an economy?
People often ask: Why would anyone want to work if they don’t get paid? There seems to be an inaccurate assumption that people only engage in productive activities (not confined to “jobs”) if there is a direct monetary incentive. This is only true for repetitive, mundane or socially pointless tasks because there is no personal satisfaction or social progress. But outside of the confines of monetary economics most of these jobs would become redundant or technically obsolete over time. When it comes to human creativity and ingenuity (our underlying nature that allows us to thrive as a species which is currently inhibited) the incentive to participate is for challenge, mastery and participation in progress. Monetary reward actually inhibits our creative and innovative performance as individuals. A great short video to watch on this is RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us on YouTube.
An Earth economy would not only be in our individual personal interests if we want to thrive as individuals. But considering our economy and modern civilization is entirely dependent upon an exponentially decreasing resource (fossil fuel*) to sustain an exponentially increasing population it is in our collective interest to adopt a new economic model to survive as a species.
*We rely solely upon fossil fuels for food (10 calories of fuel in every 1 calorie of food consumed by western civilization) , transport and most material goods including tires and toothbrushes. We must develop new infrastructure for transport and food production methods before the existing infrastructure is neglected from having no oil and deteriorates from lack of maintenance or society will most likely collapse
So what can we do to inspire change and social awareness? The advantage of being in a herd is when 5% of the total population becomes aware of something , everyone else becomes aware immediately.
Our success depends upon 2 things.
1) How many are we?
2) And what will you do?
More information on The Zeitgeist Movement and an Earth or Resource Based Economy is available at.
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Recommended YouTube videos:
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
Zeitgeist Activist Orientation Guide
An Introduction to a Resource Based Economy
Peter Joseph's Response to Stefan Molyneux
When Normality Becomes Distortion
I Am Fishead