Vol. 2, Iss. 1, 
p. 29-31
March 2004


by Nicole Buckler

Jacque Fresco's future vision of the world is to ask people to show entrepreneurial flare, but without receiving money as the reward. Ask yourself, would you be as driven as you are today if you weren't getting a handful of sheets as the payback? Could you be entrepreneurially driven if it meant that the only reward was that society could benefit from your actions? Ask yourself that again, and if the answer is yes, then you would be the model citizen in Fresco's future

Fresco's vision is to redesign the world – and not just the physical structures, but the societal structures as well. These ideas take the physical form of The Venus Project, which is located in Florida, and is run by Fresco and his associate Roxanne Meadows. It is a small-scale version of what he would like the future to look like. The Venus Project (also known as Sociocyberneering Inc.) is a twenty-five acre research facility and a mini-model for the future.

Nicole Buckler: When did you start the Venus Project?

Jacque Fresco: I started the Venus project many years ago. when I was very young, during the last depression. I'm 87now! The ideas are recent meaning the last 30 years.lived through the great depression in America Millions of people were sleeping in the streets. The banks had completely failed. People had made down payments on houses and were faithfully paying off their mortgages until the banks collapsed. They couldn't continue payment and were kicked out of their homes and were sleeping in the street Every empty allotment in America had people in it. It was this that made me aware of how inadequate our political system is. During the time of the depression, the earth was still the same place, there was food, water, products, and stores, but people didn't have the cash to buy them, So it wasn't food shortages that was starving people, it was a lack of money in the system to buy available resources. The rules of this game that we play by even today are inadequate. We feel that automation is moving very quickly in industrialized countries, so it will displace many human beings working in factories.The Japanese are now moving towards go% automation in their automobile factories. So industries will move towards replacing millions of people eventually. And these people won't have the purchasing power to buy these products that the automated systems are making because they won't have a job! We are facing another situation like that soon. the lay-offs are Increasing. simply due to labor-saving technological advances. Even now. 43 million jobs across the world are currently being displaced.

Because people won't be able to buy all these new products; it will bring an end to the monetary system For example. these days an aircraft does It all for the pilot. It tells the pilot how high they are, if there's any bad weather up ahead. And the army In the US is assigning more decision to machines. That Is. aircraft fly so fast that a pilot can't see another plane coming. But on-board detectors can see it coming and it alerts the pilot. Decision-making Is being assigned to machines rather than to humans. so what does that mean? It means that if you automate everything. machines can work for just 10 cents an hour. No human can do that. I'm not saying that this is good or bad. I am just saying as a futurist, this is what I think will happen. So if millions of workers are displaced who's going to be able to buy cars and televisions? So the system comes to a dead-end.

Money was only invented when resources became scarce. So America produces artificial scarcity, that is, they design things so that they wear out and break down so that you buy new things. All nation's economies are basically inadequate. We are living under an old value system. The most intelligent minds are being used to produce lethal weapons, and that's just stupid.

But this new system for the Earth is not communism. because communism uses money. It's not socialism because socialism has politics. We want to do away with politics. But today and in the very near future there are better systems available for sustainable living. With high-tech, you can free everyone. An international communications system will break down artificial barriers between people. So it is a future where humans embrace new technology, have more free time, and live In a completely sustainable manner.

NB: so the Venus Project is a model for a new future?

JF: A lot of people are going to school today to learn a profession that will probably be obsolete In the next few years. It is often asked by parents what profession their children should prepare for. It will be a profession that you've never heard of! In the Venus Project we believe that instead of firing people, we just shorten the working day to three or four hours, three days a week. And if machines take over completely, then we can send people back to art centers, into further education, into music centers. No more standing behind a counter. It is really dangerous and wrong to have a young person stand behind a counter in a department store In the best years of their life. It's a waste of a human brain. When you've got someone sitting in a factory drilling holes in metal, that's a waste of a mind. We are wasting thousands of lives to the business world. Stockbrokers don't contribute anything to the world or to humanity, they live for themselves. Americans emphasize doing things for yourself and getting as much as you can. And so what happens is that politics becomes corrupt. What we want to do is outgrow the need for politics. It is technology applied with human concern that will save the world. If all the money disappeared overnight, as long as there is agriculture and food, and arable land, and clean water, we will survive. It is not money that people need, it is access to resources. We are brought up to believe that we need money, but it is resources that we need. We need to take care of our resources, if we keep polluting the air and the world. we won't have a future in which to spend our money! On our 25 acre site at the Venus Project we live in a beautiful lush Eden. It's high-tech without destroying the environment. So what we do is build everything out of concrete. If people keep buying lumber to build houses, then people will keep cutting down forests. We are doing things the wrong way. We live in an age of politics, which is inherited from ancient times. Our language and political system date back hundreds of years. We need a new system to manage existing resources.

NB: How do you convince people to not go after profits and do things just to make the world better for everyone else?

JF: We won't. the system will eventually break down. I wish people were more intelligent But humans have to fall on their face before they change. They don't put up traffic lights at an intersection until several people are killed in the area. People are not educated to be reasonable so they fight. Everyone is brought up to believe in their own system. The division of people is the artificiality that we will
have to overcome. Industrial powers who speak of one world, talk about their world. When a few nations control the resources of the world, there's always going to be war, and territorial disputes. As Mark Twain said. There's not one acre of land on earth that belongs to its rightful owner. As long as you have
separate nations where some have abundance and some have scarcity. there will be territorial disputes. This means that when the time comes, we have to re-educate the world that all resources must become the heritage of everyone.

The free-enterprise system does create Incentive to achieve, however it also breeds the incentive for corruption. graft, and greed. Our aim is to encourage a new incentive system, one no longer directed toward the shallow and self -centered goals of wealth. property, and power. Today, financial barriers place enormous limitations on innovation, individual creativity, and personal incentive. In The Venus Project. money would not be required to help one achieve or create, as facilities would be made available to serve everyone's needs.

NB: So technology is the key to the Venus Project?

JF: Yes. The average person in the resource-based economy will live better then Bill Gates In terms of technology. We are on the verge of a lot of breakthrough via nonotechnology. It is to to 15 years away. We will come across new technologies which will mean that resources will be abundant and people need not go hungry. We are all people. we all need the same things and. we all have the same problems. The planning for this is on a global scale, we want to raise the standard of living for everyone. If you have separate groups doing their own thing. then you end up with problems like what is happening today. It has to be co-operative living and global living. The US is the last stronghold of the free enterprise system. They are not looking for change. Other countries which are deprived are looking for alternatives. We want to have one city as a showcase, and people from everywhere could come and look at it and see how it works. Then other countries will go back and build it in their own countries.

NB: Have developers shown interest in the project?

JF: Yes – in different parts of the world. although no Americans have taken interest! Americans are very different to the way most cultures operate today. The United Arab Emirates have been in talks with us. and we visited them recently. They wanted to build a city. a research center, and a theme part of the future to display the Venus Project. So, the USA Isn't moving fast enough. The UAE want to move into the 21st Century with great gusto, they want to build Art centers, music centers. and update the Arab Republic. Ten years ago they had nothing but sand there. Dubai wants to drain brains from all over the world to come to Dubai to do these new things. We have heard from all over the haven't yet heard from Ireland!

NB: How do you publicize the Venus Project?

JF: Videotapes, books and Information packs go to universities. We do lectures all around the world, although it Is very difficult to explain it in a one-hour lecture! We want to do more seminars to young people.

NB: What motivates you to be this social entrepreneur that you have become?

JF: Social designs need to be planned ahead. Instead of holding on to what they have, humans need to loot openly to the future. Technically we are moving ahead but socially we are not. The rules are old. How we use that technology is old. and it Is becoming detrimental to our own good. Pollution, and poor wealth distribution are examples or this. The US army dumped 40 tonnes of nerve gas off the coast of Miami into the ocean last year. How can you love your country if you do things lite that?