Archive for September, 2014
The third installment of the Zeitgeist trilogy delves deeper than any of the previous documentary films into finding tangible solutions to the multitude of problems that face humanity today. Where much of the focus in the previous Zeitgeist documentaries was on the symptoms of our current global system, with an introduction of futurist Jacques Fresco’s Venus Project, this documentary explores solutions for drastically changing our current geo-political system. Zeitgeist: Moving Forward lays out a plan as to how this new kind of society would function.
The key to this future global system, which is the core of the Venus Project, would be a “Resource-Based Economy” a system developed by Jacques Fresco which he defines as “the scientific method applied to social concern.” This system was established with a specific goal: for human beings to survive in an optimized, healthy, prosperous way. The infrastructure of this global economy is derived from systems theory, which would serve as a basis for the Global Resource Management System. The Global Resource Management System would function by assessing the availability of the resources necessary for life and efficiently allocating those resources to individuals that need them. A key component of this system would be localized production and distribution of resources. Critics may call these ideas “Utopian” however there is no scientific reason that such a global system could not work once implemented. For a detailed description of how this system would work see : the Venus Project website.
Some people may wonder how this system would be better than what we already have. Some readers may be wondering: don’t we already have Globalization, how would this differ? Our current global system which could be termed “Neo-Liberal Capitalist Economics” has steadily bred inequality. In fact, global poverty has doubled since 1970. Here is a tangible example of the difference between our current system and the one proposed in Zeitgeist: Moving Forward. In the current system companies design products that they know will eventually break so that consumers will continue to buy these products, a phenomenon termed “Planned Obsolescence.” This means that all of the sophisticated technology in a computer is designed to fail after a pre-determined time period. Although there are now some developments in the recycling of technology this push has come late and it is not nearly as effective as it could be. Often an entire computer (or other sophisticated good like a cellular phone) is trashed, destined to rot in a landfill while the valuable, finite resources that comprise the computer will be wasted, unavailable for use. In the “Resource-Based Economy” there would not be the same profit-driven incentive to create goods that are designed to fail because it is not driven by scarcity and consumerism. Goods would be designed to last as long as possible and the technology would be designed so the raw resources would be recycled into future computers. The ability to remove the drives of profit and scarcity from the equation, by giving everyone access to the resources they need, would ultimately create a more efficient global economy.
I would urge anyone concerned with the future of our planet to watch all of the Zeitgeist films because they do offer insight into the negative symptoms of the current systems and a refreshingly novel approach to the problems that face humanity. But if I were to recommend where to start, it would be with Zeitgeist: Moving Forward.
I was in sixth grade on September 11, 2001 and did not know the catastrophes of the day until my school bus dropped me off at home. Thirteen years later, I’m sitting in an office the morning after watching President Barack Obama announce on the 10th that the United States would be engaging in a “broad” spectrum of air based attacks designed to destroy the group known as the Islamic State. (ISIS or ISIL) Here we stand, thirteen years after the towers fell, once again launching a military operation in the Middle East in the name of justice and American righteousness.
There is no sugarcoating ISIS, this is a group composed of battle trained and war hardened Islamic militants who wish to destroy all those who refuse to abide by a strict Sharia law. Born from the hell fire of Syria, ISIS has marched through into Iraq and dissolved the border between two countries, laying claim to large swaths of land to form their caliphate under proclaimed leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The group has raped, tortured, murdered, wrongfully imprisoned, and starved anyone who has stood in their way. They have beheaded two American journalists. Some stories even point to ISIS militants raping young girls and then beheading them so they didn’t have to live with the shame of what happened to them—all in the name of their higher power. Although the world has steadily increased their concern around the group, Obama went on national television to confront the issue head on.
The President spoke on his four point plan to, “ultimately degrade and destroy” the group known as ISIS on September 10th. Although Barack Obama noted repeatedly that the United States would not be putting “boots on the ground” we would launch a wide reaching air campaign designed to target and annihilate the group in both Iraq and Syria. Obama went on to remark that this is not America’s problem alone, as ISIS leaders have made ludicrous threats to our allies in and outside the Middle East. He calls for a coalition of countries to help aid the Iraqi, Saudi, and Egyptian armies to secure their own homeland, but clearly stated that we will not do it alone.
War to me has always been something I see on the news, read about, or mimic in a video game; it is not wholly tangible to me. War is a constant brutal reality for the millions in the path of ISIS and I do believe the world — not just America — has a responsibility to change that. Despite Obama’s promises to remove the United States from the Middle East, we are once again thrust back to protect the innocents from evil. I do not disagree with his decision, but I’m wondering if this is a fight we could every really win?