Tuesday, February 23, 2010; p. A3


by Carl E. Feather

ASHTABULA — Imagine waking up Wednesday morning and discovering that all the money in the world disappeared. It’s just us and the planet’s resources with which to build a new economy.

That’s the vision of The Venus Project, which advocates a “resource-based” economy as part of its sweeping reorganization of society and culture. Poverty, hunger, debt, unemployment, servitude to corporations and boring jobs, depletion of natural resources and human suffering would be things of the past under the far-reaching social redesign proposed by Jacque Fresco.

Fresco’s project, operating on a 21.5-acre research center in Venus, Fla., has a strong Web presence and holds an annual ZDay event to spread the word about these concepts.

In Ashtabula, the Wellness and Total Learning Center first observed ZDay last year, and is planning a much larger event for ZDay 2010, said Cynthia Fish, an organizer. The Ashtabula event is 1 to 5 p.m. March 13 and 14; according to the Web site, 15 have confirmed attendance.

“When we did the event last year, we were just part of it and we didn’t know much about it,” Fish says. “In the interim, we’ve done a lot of reading and the movement has grown around the world.”

“Z” stands for Zeitgeist Movement, the communication and activist arm of The Venus Project. In a world shaken by financial crisis, increasing polarization between the wealthy and poor, political unrest and environmental destruction, the movement is gathering strength, says Fish.

According to the Web site, the movement advocates a global economy that uses existing resources rather than money to provide an equitable method of distribution. The planet’s resources would be owned and controlled by all mankind.

Proponents say the monetary system is antiquated in a technological era and is keeping the world’s inhabitants from having their needs met in an equitable manner. It points out that our current system of consumption facilitates the production of inferior items engineered to wear out, require replacement and depletion of resources in order to maintain the accumulation of monetary wealth.