Thursday, April 26, 2010



Interview by Tristan Shaw and Everest Fernandez

What does the future hold? Will oppression, war, poverty, hunger and greed ever be confined to history? Or are we stuck with them forever?

For many thousands of years we have been apt to regard ourselves as perennial surfers of the cutting-edge. After all, in our minds at least, “now” has always been after “then.” Throughout history we’ve believed that we know a whole lot … about a whole lot. But are we, as a species, a lot more primitive than we conceive ourselves to be? Maybe we are no more than evolutionary juveniles, just learning how to walk, and suffering from a particularly nasty bout of toddler tantrums? Are we ever going to learn to just play nicely with each other, share our toys, and get along?

Urban Garden Magazine meets Jacque Fresco, a 93 year old futurist, social engineer and brainchild of “The Venus Project.” Fresco says that the sustainability of life on this planet is beyond his opinion. It is axiomatic. And he’s developed a plan to achieve it. But can we get our heads around it in time?

UGM: Can you briefly describe what The Venus Project is all about?

JF: Yes, I can do that. I feel that if you want a world of peace, a world without poverty, hunger, war, prisons and police, what you must do is declare all of the world’s resources as a common heritage of all the world’s people. Prior to the organization of the United States of America, the states were separate, and used to fight each other over territorial boundaries. Once the states merged together, the militia disappeared. This is the only way the Earth will avoid the same kind of problems we have today. You must declare the Earth as a common heritage of all the world’s people and all the resources of the Earth shared by all the world’s people; anything less than that will result in the same problems over and over again. We must remove all the artificial boundaries that separate people and maintain a population that’s in accordance with the carrying capacity of the Earth. If we fail to do that, and exceed the population the Earth can support, there is going to be poverty, riots, and territorial disputes. Do you understand that?

UGM: I understand what you are saying. But who is going to make this declaration – the President or the First Lady?

JF: No, the Venus Project is different than any political system. It has nothing in common with socialism, fascism, capitalism, or communism.

UGM: Sharing all the world’s resources equally among the people – sounds a lot like communism doesn’t it?

JF: Communism uses money. Communism has bankers. Communism has armies and navies, and a government with an elitist structure. The Venus Project doesn’t have any of that. So look into The Venus Project before you judge it or hand a name to it – it’s socialistic, it’s communistic. This is a device used to discourage you from thinking along new lines.

UGM: But isn’t it impossible, or very difficult, to free yourself from the known? For instance, it will be a tall order for most people to envision a world without money…

JF: I understand that. Only when it hits them, when they lose their houses, their jobs, then they will start looking for something else. Right now, they all don’t give a damn.

“What’s in it for me?” is the type of society you live in today – where everybody profits off each other. It’s a very crude and primitive system. We are not civilized yet. But you never become civilized, it’s a constant input in which people grow continuously. There are no final frontiers, no utopias, and no ideal city. If I designed a city that was the most efficient, it’s the most efficient for what I know up to now. But the city that I design will be a straitjacket to the children of the future. They will design their own cities. Rather than established, we need an emergent society that allows a constant state of growth and change. And the public has to embrace social change, intellectually and emotionally. If you fail to do that, you are making more problems for the future.

UGM: But how is the Venus Project going to emerge? What will it emerge from? The illustrations that will probably accompany this interview may look like a fantasy world to many people. The Venus Project feels like the letter ‘Z’, whereas we are at letter ‘A’ or ‘B’ or ‘C.’ This begs the question ‘How?’ How do we get from here to there? How do we change our monetary system, for example, or should we just wait for it to collapse?

JF: I think I can answer that. The monetary system is failing all over the world. But our government here in America has given the money to the banks and the people that have created the problem. They keep the money that is set aside for education, food, pensions and have given it to the “free-enterprise system” – the system that caused the problems in the first place. That tells you who runs the show. It is never the public. Here is how to get from here to there. The monetary system is going to collapse, people will lose confidence in their elected leaders, and then they will look for something else. Things were so bad in Russia, people were treated so poorly, that they threw out the existing government. And when the public gets angry, if enough people tend to fight for what they call the support of The Venus Project’s plans, I think we can pull out of the problem. I don’t know if they will do that or not. I’m not psychic; I have no power at all. It depends on what you do and what people do. If you don’t understand The Venus Project look us up on the website: www.thevenusproject.com. There are all kinds of questions and answers. But don’t project your own values into it. It’s not a scientific culture run by scientists, and there is no technical elitism or any other kind of elitism. That is a projection by people that know nothing about it.

UGM: So, let me get this straight: the world is currently run by bankers and corporations. Is the Venus Project putting the world in the control of computers or computer programmers?

JF: Not exactly that. See if you can consider what I say. In the early days a pilot would look down out of an airplane and he would say, “I’m about a mile high.” Today with Doppler radar you can get the exact amount of feet off the ground. No human can do that. But it’s not a machine takeover. We are assigning machines decision-making where humans cannot make decisions. For example, milk cartons are filled by machines automatically; no human can move that fast. No human can do the type of production that automation can. About nine months ago machines where able to handle 1,000 trillion bits of information a second. No group of humans can do that. So in order to set up a system that can work, it has to be connected to industry, transportation, agriculture, and integrated into a holistic system that works for the benefit of all people. The machines do not control people. They only maintain production and distribution of goods and services. People live whatever lifestyle they choose to live.

UGM: So you are proposing that we defer all decisions to machines? Isn’t that danger….

JF: You know there are some roboticists that are afraid that machines are going to “take over.” The machines have no feelings. If you work on a computer on Saturday and Sunday, it doesn’t ask for a day off. It doesn’t say, “You can’t work me all the time!” because they don’t have feelings. Machines don’t want to take over. They don’t want to run people. This is a human projection and a human attribute. It’s humans that make war and drop bombs on cities. It’s humans that hurt one another. The machines don’t hurt anybody. This is a bunch of stupidity that comes from Hollywood. They make movies about the future that show robots choking their designers. They show movies of the future in which machines explode, take over, kill people and use laser weapons to burn cities – this is all done by people, not machines.

UGM: Is the Venus Project a democratic system?

JF: Have you ever known a democracy? You ask the public whether they voted for the Vietnam War. Of course they didn’t. Did you vote for the space program? Of course not. Did you vote for the design of highways, or the capital city? No. People do not participate. That’s an illusion. In the future you will participate if you have the ability to do so.

UGM: In whose opinion?

JF: If I base all decisions on existing resources, if we live in accordance with the carrying capacity of the Earth, that is not Fresco’s opinion. Fresco makes no opinions. If you want a world without war, you cannot have separate nations controlling most of the Earth’s resources.

UGM: There seems to be widespread anxiety, or perhaps misunderstanding, concerning the emergence of a one-world government. Are you not proposing a “New World Order?”

JF: Yes. But the “New World Order” most people are afraid of is the one where business people are in control. The world I’m talking about is one which raises every human being to their highest potential. And to do away with the money system, which is the basis of all corruption. We just need to make things available to people. We have more than enough resources to do that. If you consider the cost of World War II: the money, the ships sunk, the lives lost, the cities bombed … we could have housed everyone on Earth, built hospitals all over the world, wiped out the slums and poverty all over the world. So how stupid can you be?

UGM: So globalization isn’t such a bad thing after all?

JF: Again, when you use that term in this society, it means that the business world is in charge: bankers in charge of all things on Earth. But when I talk of “globalization” I mean that all nations share all the Earth’s resources: a resource-based economy. There are more than enough resources to take care of all human needs. As long as we manage the population to be in accordance with the carrying capacity of the environment, we will have no problems. If your population exceeds what the land can support you are going to have territorial disputes, arguments, invasions, and a need for armies.

UGM: Let’s look at the root cause of the wars going on right now. Oil and energy. Lots of people are talking about the current energy crisis. How does the Venus Project address this? It seems that the Venus Project is in favor of a lot of industry, transportation, and agriculture. How is this feasible in a world depleted of most natural resources? In short, how will you satisfy the massive energy requirements of the Venus Project?

JF: Okay … the oceans of the world have tides traveling in and out. We can put turbines down under the water and get all the power we need. We can harness power from temperature differentials in the ocean. We can get power from the solar system and from wind. There is geothermal power: the natural heat under the earth. According to volcanologists, we have thousands of years of heat available under the Earth. Just that alone can take care of all the world’s needs. The real energy crisis is the shortage of brain power in government.

UGM: Can you describe how food will be produced in the Venus Project?

JF: Where we don’t have arable land we will need to use hydroponics. We need farms on land and in the sea to put back the necessary ingredients we use to fertilize plants. You cannot keep taking life out of the ocean without considering the entire marine cycle, and maintaining it. Once we learn to do that, we can overcome most shortages. You know the shortages have to do with ingenuity. When America formed the blockade in World War II and prevented Germany from getting rubber from Sumatra, they invented synthetic rubber. So our problems are technical, not political. 100 years ago politics was great, but today it’s obsolete. Politics is a system that does not work.

UGM: So you want to nourish plants with nutrients from the sea? Kind of like aquaponics?

JF: Mariculture, the planned cultivation of marine crops and fish farming communities, can be designed to support more than one type of marine life. A mutually supporting symbiotic relationship can be sustained while emulating natural conditions as closely as possible. A wide variety of aquatic plants may be cultivated in multiple layers and suspended by cables in underwater fields adjacent to the cities. In some instances, the tops of plants could be harvested automatically, leaving the roots and lower third of the plant to grow new crops without replanting. These floating ocean platforms would be equipped with solar-operated desalinization plants, which would extract fresh water for hydroponic farming and other uses. Upwelling can also be harnessed to extract deepsea nutrients to supply aquaculture farming. Of course, any attempt at aquaculture or mariculture would be subject to international monitoring of ocean farms. This provides fish farming complexes and introduces the most advanced principles of poly-culture, which maintains the reproduction and natural balance of species. Every precaution would be taken to avoid disrupting or spoiling the spawning grounds that have sustained the human race for centuries.

UGM: Isn’t it your vision to use technology to free man from servitude and repetitive tasks?

JF: Absolutely – we can automate all the boring and dangerous jobs! We want to free people so that they can go back to school and study whatever the hell they want to study! Art, music, playwriting, travel, whatever they want to do. They can study a profession they feel they want to do, whatever they want to realize. They are not put in pigeon holes where they’re carpenters, plasterers, construction workers: all that was good in the past but it’s irrelevant today.

UGM: And I guess the same goes for bankers. Can you explain the big problem with our current money system?

JF: First off, the Federal Reserve System is not federal. It’s a private institution. The word “federal” gives people the illusion that it’s an agency of the government. The Federal Reserve has nothing to do with money; it has to do with the exploitation of people. When nations seek the competitive edge, it means they don’t give a damn about people. The United States would not outsource if they liked their people. They would keep them employed. They would never send soldiers to war. They would try to bridge the difference between nations. War kills a lot of people, civilians and soldiers. Think of all the ruined cities and museums…

UGM: The question was our current money …

JF: Yes, and war has always been big business! War is the selling of warships, of selling destruction. If we had a real, healthy nation, assuming we did, there would be no war. Because we would conscript all the war industries so no one makes a buck out of war. When you conscript the lives of people and put up their lives to defend the country, you should have no profiteering during war.

UGM: So the money system seems to be the root of many of our problems.

JF: That is right.

UGM: And yet so many people are dependent on the money system. They don’t know how to produce their own food.

JF: You are right. I would say they depend on it. They are trapped.

UGM: So isn’t monetary reform, rather than abolition, a more realistic next step?

JF: None of those systems would work. You don’t need money, or coupons, or energy certificates. What you need is the production of abundance and making it available. Patchwork will not do. You know … guaranteed insurance, medical insurance, none of this solves the fundamental problem. You cannot patch up a society like ours. It has to be complete change. If you don’t want war and poverty, or any suffering, then you need to redesign the culture based upon scientific scales of performance.

UGM: Can you elaborate on your plans to build an experimental city?

JF: The first city will be a planning center – where we plan and test the validity of the Venus Project’s proposals. We’ll see how well it operates. And if the city begins to work well, we will invite people from all over the world as guests to stay in that city. And if they like it, after two or three weeks, they will build three in Russia, three in China, build them all over the world and then merge them together. You can’t do it at once. You have to have a transitional period where you gradually phase out the monetary system, meaning just a few years, it won’t take that long. So people have to like the Venus Project, understand what it’s about and not have fear that it’s a machine takeover, or a group of scientists running things.

UGM: Doesn’t somebody have to run things?

JF: Scientists are just as stupid as other people. The proof is that when war comes they align themselves with their governments. They don’t say “I would like to hear all sides of the story.” Scientists, too, are patriotic. They are victims of culture just like everybody else.

UGM: So you are saying that the Venus Project must be precipitated by a fundamental change in our cultural values. What role do you see the Internet playing in this change? Are you at all concerned by governmental attempts to control and regulate the Internet?

JF: They will always seek that power. If governments get control of the Internet, you can say goodbye to freedom. They would like to take over and privatize everything if they can. They are very stupid and ignorant people. They are not well read. Talk to politicians; ask them how to solve problems like bridge erosion. Ask them how to solve the problems of automobile accidents. There are more people killed in accidents than wars. They have no idea how to solve problems. We live in a very primitive system that was designed thousands of years ago, which will not work whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, it does not matter. They are all inefficient; they don’t know how to operate the Earth.

UGM: [sighs]

JF: Look, I don’t like what I’m saying. I’m sorry, I wish people were rational beings and could move in the appropriate direction. But they’re not brought up that way. When I talk of governments I’m saying that all the world’s governments are basically corrupt. The professions such as lawyers and judges will be considered criminal in the future. Even the Supreme Court judges will be considered criminals. We train people in business. We train them in parasitic professions that really don’t serve the well-being of people. Advertising, business, investment banking: all of those do nothing for people, so those professions will be outgrown – not eliminated, outgrown in the future. Once people admired King Solomon: he had a thousand wives, today he would be arrested as a bigamist. So all the things that you think are right and normal are only normal to your culture, which is very primitive.

UGM: So where do we go from here?

JF: You know very shortly we are going on a global tour. We have been invited to most countries to present the Venus Project. Magazines all over the world today are running the Venus Project without adding their two cents to the article. The United States is the only country that has not run magazine publications, radio television shows, on the Venus Project. Maybe they have a fear that the Venus Project might cause the population to turn around. According to Peter Joseph of the Zeitgeist Movement, which is the participatory directive of the Venus Project, 50 million people are now aware of the Venus Project.

The more people know about the Venus Project, the smoother the transition. I’m sorry to say that the transition will be painful. It will not be smooth. The more people that know about it, the more that sustainability will become normal to the future. If you don’t talk to your friends about it, if you don’t present the Venus Project, nothing will happen. It does not depend on Peter Joseph and I. We have no power at all. It depends on what you do about it. So try to find out more about the Venus Project before you judge it.

UGM: Thanks for giving us the opportunity to publish and distribute this interview throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. – and, of course, on the Internet.

JF: Thank you for the privilege.

What is The Venus Project?
  • The end of monetary exchange.
  • Creation of sustainable city systems.
  • Replacement human labor with machines.
  • Utilization of science as a methodology.
  • Cessation of national boundaries.

“The Venus Project presents a vision not of what the future will be, but of what it can be if we apply what we already know in order to achieve a sustainable new world civilization. It calls for a straightforward redesign of our culture in which the age-old problems of war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but as totally unacceptable. Anything less will result in a continuation of the same catalog of problems found in today’s world.”