Editor's Note
(Because the war damaged Iraq's food, security, and its medical and water systems, the world Food Program developed an emergency plan to meet the food needs of 27 million Iraqis, at a cost of $1.2 billion, from March 25 to September 25, 2003. Other donors, including the United States, provided medicine and potable water to many locations. Experts tend to think rebuilding a sustainable market economy in Iraq will likely be a long-term effort, one that will require fundamental changes similar to those that are taking place in the countries of the former soviet union. The most immediate concern of many who know the country well is Iraq's physical reconstruction, including building roads, schools, power plants, and even rethinking the nature and design of entire cities. Easily the most mind-stretching essay in this volume (and possibly in the entire series of four volumes to date), the engaging prescriptive piece below challenges us to consider the renewing of Iraq – or any country, for that matter, including our own with an open mind. Setting aside conventional and timid thinking, what are the possibilities? What if we were to invent, for example, an entirely new form of economics. As the Iraqis might especially given the head start their oil wealth offers? What if we were to reorient schooling around nation-building, embrace automation and cybernetics. and take full advantage of twenty-first century scientific and technological options even while taking great care to preserve the very best from their ancient history and culture? Clues for how this might be achieved mark the essay below as one well worth returning to often for inspiration, stimulation, and encouragement whether or not you agree with its many provocative notions).


Jacques Fresco
Roxanne Meadows

We were asked what we would recommend if Iraqis requested our advice for reinventing their country. What we propose is a totally new direction for humanity. We would first ask to address the science and engineering departments of their universities and then expand the audience. A nonpolitical approach would be recommended for the redesign of their culture, one based on humane resource management systems. This presentation would be enhanced through videos and animations to show the possibilities and benefits of a new social direction for their Iraq and its people. It would reveal how they could transform their country, which was leveled by weapons of mass destruction, to one that can evolve as the most advanced technological country in the world; a showplace for the introduction of what we call a resource-based economy.

Simply stated, a resource-based economy utilizes existing resources rather than money, and provides a method of distribution in the most equitable and humane manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all resources and services are available without the use of money, credit, barter, or any other form of debt or servitude.

All social systems, regardless of political philosophy, religious beliefs, or social customs, ultimately depend upon natural resources such as clean air, water, arable land, and the necessary technology and personnel to maintain a high standard of living. This can be accomplished through the intelligent and humane application of science and technology. The real wealth of any nation lies in its developed and potential resources and the people who work toward the elimination of scarcity and the creation of a more humane society.

If this direction is acceptable, after the cleanup and removal of unexploded weapons, mines, and the 1,000 to 2,000 tons of radioactive dust that was dropped upon Iraq during the war, then the construction of new cities can begin to rise in this ancient land
cities that actually "think" with terraced gardens and gleaming waterways. These cities would be based on overall planning to best serve the needs of the Iraqi people.

Science and technology would be used for human betterment and the restoration and protection of the environment. Iraq would be a showcase of what the world can be in our "cybernated" age. It could serve as an example of the intelligent application of systems design.

One of the first steps would be to set up an inventory of all Iraq's resources such as arable land, water, and all other resources necessary to build a new infrastructure. Through the sale of its oil, Iraq would be able to purchase resources not available in its geographical area, and fund the restoration and rebuilding of the country. The first phase would be to develop electrical power generators to provide the energy needed to operate this endeavor. All electrical generators would utilize clean sources of energy such as wind, solar, heat concentrators, and geothermal, if available.

This would be followed by the construction of industrial plants for the mass production of housing systems. All of the housing would comprise standard units that could be arranged to meet many different requirements. This same process would apply to the building of bridges, schools, hospitals, etc. Desalinization plants would provide clean water by evaporative condensation over waterways.

These new cities would be designed as "university cities," providing continuous education, experimentation, information, and innovation which would be available to everyone. Most of these cities would be designed as total-enclosure systems that would provide living quarters for thousands of people with built-in shopping, medical facilities, child care, schools, recreation, and entertainment. To improve the quality of life of the entire Iraqi population, this new society would strive toward creating an abundance of goods and services and make them available without cost.

All of these mega cities would have built-in safeguards against fire by constructing all buildings of fire-resistant materials, i.e., concrete and inflammable fabrics. Most of the electronics that operate these "cities that think" would be redundant, thus assuring if one unit fails another would take over. All of the cities would have built-in transportation consisting of transveyors, which are people-movers that travel circumferentially, radially, and vertically so that anyone could travel to any part of the city in just a few minutes.

The major center of transportation would be centrally located in Baghdad. From Baghdad all major cities such as Basra, Mosul, and Samarra would be interconnected by monorail, aircraft, rivers, and canals, considerably reducing the need for automotive transportation. Regions subject to sandstorms would utilize tunnels which cross the desert to Saudi Arabia. These networks of tunnels below the desert surface would be used to transport people, water, and freight.

The Tigris River would be connected to waterways and canals that could transport large structures such as prefabricated buildings, bridges, and large industrial machinery to their building sites. Eventually transportation would link Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, and Jordan. This whole network would eventually be part of a global transport system.

The new schools would emphasize courses in the sciences, i.e., engineering, mathematics, chemistry, computer science, agriculture, systems analysis, environmental engineering, medicine, and public health along with a special emphasis on creativity in the arts. These professions are essential for the operation of the resource-based economy as opposed to nonessential professions such as stockbrokers, bankers, lawyers, or advertising.

Machines would be used to shorten the workday, increase the availability of goods and services, and lengthen vacation time. These new cities would utilize advanced technologies such as automation, which could free people from repetitive and boring jobs, and in its place provide challenging and interesting pursuits in problem-solving while encouraging individuality and new incentives.

It is a waste of the human potential to stand behind counters in department stores or perform repetitive tasks. These jobs can easily be replaced by machines. 'When machines are used to improve the standard of living for all people, machines will no longer be perceived as a threat.

The notion that intensive environmental planning would produce uniformity in human behavior and values is incorrect. Competition will be replaced by cooperation, and functional ethics would be inherent in the social design where all people benefit by innovative advances.

In order to establish a working relationship between the divergent points of view among the Kurds, Sunni, and Shiite, we must emphasize what they have in common rather than the differences. All people require access to the necessities of life. This would be the unifying imperative that would bring people together.

The means for generating areas of agreement would not be based on such abstract terms such as democracy, human rights, or ethical leadership. These words do not provide methods for achieving a workable social arrangement. What we advocate is not a vague social philosophy based on opinions, politics, or religious beliefs; instead a social operation based upon the carrying capacity of the environment and utilization of scientific scales of performance. The gain for all people is a cooperative venture rather than a competitive one, while protecting the environment and sharing resources.

A resource-based economy would produce fundamental changes in human behavior and values. These changes would not come about by introducing new laws or treaties to control people's behavior; they would be brought about by the removal of the basic conditions that are responsible for aberrant behavior.

For example, people would not envy one another for material possessions when everyone has equal access to goods and services. In a resource-based economy, poverty, homelessness, and scarcity are eliminated along with all the fears, pressures, and insecurities relating to these conditions. When human beings are no longer under the pressures of the monetary system, they are more inclined to become amiable and pleasant. Even healthcare will be there for the people's well-being rather than to maintain a profit. Today many medical centers have time limits on the length of each patient's visit in order to increase the profit margin.

Iraq is in a position with its large reservoirs of oil to rebuild its country as a state-of-the-art, efficient, high-tech nation. However, rebuilding Iraq to be a sustainable country that uses the same monetary methods of social operation adhered to today will not secure it from war as long as other nations do not have access to essential resources. When there is a threat of scarcity, there is the possibility of invasion. So the real problem for reinventing Iraq lies in examining the broader picture.

Today the rich and powerful nations control most of the earth's resources while other nations are deprived of the necessities of life. We can build cities, planes that go faster, and energy systems that are more efficient, but as long as the dominant values and our social designs remain the same our problems will continue.

Science and technology have advanced far beyond our ability to use them wisely. Unfortunately, we have directed our finest minds and huge sums of money toward the development of machines of mass destruction to secure resources and maintain the competitive edge.

It is not just our technology that is to blame; the cause lies in the misuse of this technology. Just as it can cause the ultimate destruction, it can also change the surface of the earth to a second "Garden of Eden." Our social customs, values, institutions, and methods of operation have not kept up with the ability of science and technology to provide for a peaceful and sustainable life for all the world's people.

Eventually, practical and workable social arrangements are required. They cannot be attained by any single nation such as Iraq. This challenge must be taken on by all nations to make it viable. What we should be working toward is how to apply all of our greatest scientific and technological achievements to the restoration of the entire planet and obtaining a lifestyle that enables all human beings to achieve their highest potential.

With advances in science and technology, it is now possible to provide, not only to Iraq's people but all the world's people, a standard of living far beyond anything ever imagined possible. As long as a social system uses money or barter, though, people and nations will seek to maintain the economic competitive edge. If they cannot do so by means of commerce, they will attempt to do so by means of boycotts, blockades, or military intervention. The stakes of our high technology directed toward war is too high a risk for the survival of our species. Even at the time of this writing, three major economic boycotts and 40 military interventions are in progress around the world.

The problems we face today cannot be solved politically or financially. There is not even enough money available to pay for the required changes, but there are more than enough resources. This is why we advocate the transition from a monetary-based society to the eventual realization of a global, resource-based economy. If we are sincere and genuinely concerned with resolving most of the world's problems, we must strive toward having all Earth's resources declared as the common heritage of all the world's people.

Through this process, Iraq could help initiate the dawn of a new civilization, one striving toward the infusion of common heritage. It could be the hub and learning center where people from all over the world could visit and hopefully emulate this design in other parts of the world. The surface of the earth would change not by revolution but by evolution. This will help us to supersede national loyalties, and promote a deep regard for earth and the living systems it supports.

Instead of national loyalties, people would embrace loyalties to methodology. This is the ability to change one's thinking and set aside values, traditions, and beliefs that have long outlived their usefulness. Human interaction is a transitional process in which all things undergo change. The sooner people realize that there are no final frontiers, such as the free-enterprise system, Communism, Socialism, or fixed utopian concepts, the better prepared they will be to accept change, both emotionally and intellectually. Change is an integral part of social evolution. The future is our responsibility and if we do not think for ourselves, others will do the thinking for us.