Editor's Note
(Tighten your seat belt! The essay below invites you to take a fast-paced trip into a remarkable possible future, one predicated 0n far-out uses of artificial intelligence and cybernetics in a novel "resource-based economy." Answers are offered to such questions as What if all the money in the world suddenly disappeared? How might we best react if automation results in the massive loss of familiar jobs? How serious is the threat of a takeover by supersmart machines? Above all, what do we really want in the way of a fulfilling lifestyle and what sort of viable utopian ideas best promote that vision?)


Jacque Fresco
Roxanne Meadows


It is no more possible to design a workable, utopian society than it is to design the optimal television set. Since all things improve, and new technologies are always emerging, any fixed arrangement would prove inappropriate in any emergent society. Even the most intelligent and humane arrangements for viable utopian ideas would fall far short of the requirements of the new and innovative changes that will be forthcoming. What is needed in the design of viable social arrangements is a flexibility that allows for new and emergent ideas. This must also allow people the ability to accept such changes both intellectually and emotionally. Today, when we consider viable utopian ideas or alternative social arrangements, they have to include eventually being accomplished on a global scale. Setting up individual utopian communities or nations is insufficient when other surrounding nations are experiencing war, poverty. and deprivation. We must begin t0 think of our problems globally and consider the solutions in terms of a systems approach for the entire planet.

Here we present a social design that will work toward achieving a global civilization. while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to whatever changes are necessary to protect the environment and the world's people. This vision is what the future can be if we apply what we already know. It calls for a straightforward redesign of our culture in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but also as totally unacceptable. Anything less will result in a continuation of the same catalog of problems inherent in today's world.

Although many of us like to consider ourselves forward thinking, we still cling tenaciously to all the values of the old monetary system, devised centuries ago during ages of scarcity. Most of us accept unthinkingly a system that breeds social inadequacies and actually encourages the creation of planned obsolescence and shortages. Our current practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counterproductive to the well-being of people.

Today we have access to highly advanced technologies, but our social and economic system has not kept up with the technological capabilities that could easily create a world of abundance, free of servitude and debt for all of earth's peoples. This could be accomplished if we implement a resource-based economy.



Simply stated, a resource-based economy utilizes existing resources rather than money, and it provides an equitable method of distribution in the most humane and efficient manner for the entire population. It is a system in which all natural, man-made, machine-made, and synthetic resources are available without the use of money, credit, barter, or any other form of debt. In an economy based on resources rather than money, we can easily produce all of the necessities of life and provide a very high standard of living for everyone. In a resource-based economy, all of the world's resources are held as the common heritage of all of earth's people. This principle is the unifying imperative. If humankind is to come together toward a mutual prosperity, universal access to resources is essential. All social systems, regardless of political philosophy, religious beliefs, or social customs, ultimately depend upon natural resources clean air and water and arable land and the necessary technology and personnel to maintain a

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voltaic, heat concentrators, tidal power, and much more. Eventually we would have energy in unlimited quantity sufficient to propel civilization for thousands of years. In such an economy, production would become fully automated. The concepts of "work" and "earning a living" would be irrelevant. The focus would be on a fulfilling lifestyle.



The distribution of goods and services without the use of money or tokens would be accomplished through the establishment of distribution centers. These centers would be similar to public libraries in which anyone can access books, cameras, or any other item along with instructions for their use. For example. if you visited Yellowstone National Park you could check out a camera or camcorder, use it, and then return it to another distribution center or drop-off, eliminating storing and maintenance.

Besides computerized centers throughout the various communities, where products would be displayed, each home would have 3-D flat-screen imaging capabilities. A desired item could be ordered, and the item would be automatically delivered to your residence. In a global resource-based economy, when people have access to resources, the concept of ownership will be burdensome and serve no useful purpose.



To eliminate the waste from such products as newsprint, books, and magazines, a tight-sensitive material printed from a monitor or television would produce a temporary printout of the news of the day or any other relevant information. This material will be capable of holding the information until deleted, and then be reused. This technology would conserve millions of tons of paper. Eventually most paperwork, including the transfer of money, would be eliminated.

As we outgrow the need for professions based on the monetary system, such as lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, advertisers, salespersons, and stockbrokers, an enormous amount of waste will be eliminated. Doing away with the duplication of competitive products, such as tools, eating utensils, pot and pans, vacuum cleaners, and much more, would also save considerable amounts of energy and resources. Instead of hundreds of different manufacturing plants, and all the paperwork and personnel required to turn out similar competing products, only a few items of the highest quality would be needed to serve the entire global population.



Some people claim the free-enterprise system and its competition create incentive. This notion is partially true; however, it also perpetuates greed. embezzlement, corruption. crime, stress, economic hardship, and insecurity. Most of our major developments in science and technology have resulted from the efforts of a few individuals, working independently and often against great opposition: Robert Goddard, Galileo, Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein. These individuals were genuinely concerned with solving problems and improving processes, rather than with realizing mere financial gain. Despite our belief that money produces incentive, we often mistrust those whose sole motivation is monetary gain.

The aim of this new social design is to encourage a new incentive system, one that is no longer directed toward the shallow and self-centered goals of wealth, property, and power. These new incentives would encourage people toward self-fulfillment and creativity, both materially and spiritually.

There is always a reason for corruption when someone gets something they consider valuable out of it. Without vested interests or the use of money, there is little to gain by squelching opinion, falsifying information, or taking advantage of anyone. There is no advantage to be gained by limiting the participation of people or restraining the introduction of new ideas. The main objective is full access to information, services, and the resources of the world.



Government and industry will continue to assign more and more responsibility for decision making to artificial intelligence. So many people will be replaced that they will no longer have the purchasing power needed to sustain a monetary-based system. When automation and cybernation are utilized extensively, not only industrial workers, but most professionals will be replaced by artificial intelligence.

Even the most visionary writers and futurists of today find it difficult to accept the possibility of robots replacing surgeons, actors, engineers, top management, airline pilots, and other professionals. Machines may one day write novels or poems, compose music, and eventually replace humans in government and in the management of world affairs. Whether we realize it or not, this process is already well under way.

Nature does not subscribe to human interpretations of good or evil, or hang onto traits of species that are no longer useful. There are no final frontiers or permanent structures in nature, although many human beings would like to believe otherwise, especially when it comes to their own species.

We are rapidly approaching the time when human intelligence will be incapable of assimilating the technological complexities necessary to operate a highly advanced global society. We do not have the capability to process the trillions of bits of information per second necessary to manage efficiently the coming technological civilization.

That is why we urgently advocate a society that utilizes cybernetics not merely as a system of tabulation and measurement, but also as a way to process vital information and channel it for the benefit of all humankind.

Cybernation in a resource-based economy could be regarded as the only real emancipation proclamation for humankind; it could free people for the first time from a highly structured and outwardly imposed routine of repetitive day-by-day activities.

In a cybernated global economy, construction would be vastly different from the method employed today. Mega-machines directed by sophisticated artificial intelligence will excavate canals, dig tunnels. and construct bridges, viaducts, and dams-all based on designs that are in perfect accord with ecological concerns. Self-erecting structures would prove most expedient and efficient in the construction of industrial plants, bridges, buildings, and eventually the entire global infrastructure. Human participation will be in the form of selecting the desired ends.

This operation would not create cookie-cutters cities. The notion that largescale, overall planning implies mass uniformity is absurd. Cities would be uniform only to the degree that they would require far less material, save time and energy, and yet be flexible enough to allow for innovative changes, while maintaining the highest quality possible to support the local ecology   both human and environmental. Utilizing technology in this way would make it possible for a global society to achieve social advancement and worldwide reconstruction in the shortest time possible.

Today, as artificial intelligence develops, machines will be increasingly assigned the task of complex decision making in industrial, military, and governmental affairs. This idea does not imply a takeover by machines. lnstead, it is a gradual transfer of decision-making processes to machine intelligence as the next phase of social evolution.

In a resource-based economy, machines will monitor the production and delivery of goods and services, while protecting the environment. They will not monitor people. This would be counterproductive, socially offensive, and serve no useful purpose.

It is not automated technology or machines we should be wary of, but rather the abuse and misuse of this technology by selfish, corporate, and national interests. We can build rockets to explore outer space and to enhance the quality of life on earth, or we can use them to destroy other nations. Ultimately, people decide what ends these inanimate machines will serve.

To make decisions and reach consensus, people must acquire relevant information from appropriate sources and behave accordingly. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of economic advantage, humans acquire and manage information for personal and corporate gain. Cybernated systems, programmed for common concern, will do much to prevent unchecked executive authority or abuses of power.

In a resource-based cybernated system, decisions will be based upon direct environmental, human, and industrial feedback from all the cities, factories, warehouses, distribution facilities, and transportation networks. All the decisions will be appropriate to the greater needs of society, rather than to those of corporate advantage.



As for who will govern, the more appropriate question is how will society be governed? The main objective of this new civilization is to surpass the conditions responsible for reliance on laws. For example, in our proposed cities, where people have free access to goods and services without a price tag, this condition would eliminate theft. Another example might be when a  car approaches a school district. There will not be a sign that reads 15 mph; instead, the power output to the car's transport unit will be held automatically to 15 mph.

As difficult a concept a this may seem, laws are byproducts of insufficiencies and scarcity. If the free enterprise system does not provide for job security, medical care, and all the other necessities of life to secure the positi0n of each individual, then a wide range of unmanageable human behavior is the result, no matter how many laws are passed.

During the initial planning of a resource-based economy, a current survey of all our available planetary resources and personnel will be needed to ascertain the possible parameters for this new social design. It will also require the management of the population through education to coincide with the carrying capacity of earth's resources.

All decisions would be reached and based on this updated comprehensive survey, not on the advantage to be gained by any nation, corporation, or select group of people.



Too many people today use genes as a scapegoat for many forms of aberrant behavior, when the major influences have been shown to be environmentally determined. Genetic makeup alone cannot fully account for aberrant behavior.

Our most cherished beliefs are influenced by books, motion pictures, television, religions, role models, and environment. Even our notions of good and evil and our concepts of morality are part of our cultural heritage and experiences. This method of control does not require the use of physical force. and it has been so successful that we no longer recognize or feel the manipulation.

The dominant values of any social system rarely come from the people; rather, they represent the views of the established society. Bigotry, racism, nationalism, jealousy, superstition, greed, and self-centered behavior are all learned, and they are all strengthened or reinforced by our culture. These patterns of behavior arc not inherited human traits or human nature as most people have been taught to believe. When we come into the world, we arrive with a clean slate as far as our relationship with others is concerned. If the social condition remains unaltered, similar behavior will reoccur.

In the final analysis, then, any judgment regarding undesirable human behavior serves no purpose unless an attempt is made to alter the environment that creates it. In a society that provides for most human needs, people who have difficulty interacting in the community would be helped, rather than imprisoned, and constructive behavior would be reinforced.



Utopian societies in the future will evolve a set of values unique to that period in time, and they may have little or nothing in common with preconceived notions. Research in innovative and new social arrangements must understand that all systems are transitional and are subject to innovative and continuous change.

Of course, no one can really predict the future with precision. There are simply too many variables beyond our comprehension. New inventions, natural and man-made disasters, or new uncontrollable diseases may radically alter the course of civilization. While we cannot confidently predict the future, every action and decision we either do or do not make ripples into the future. We have the capability, the technology, and the knowledge t0 shape our own future better. If we fail to accept this responsibility, others will do it for us.