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The Venus Flytrap - Freedom of Choice

Chapter 5.
Because it removes our freedom of choice.


5-01 Summary) The secret of resource-based economy is that its ability to richly supply some goods as to remove scarcity is obtained by completely giving up on other goods. This is not different from market economy in which we give up on another good by purchasing a good with limited money. Important difference is that we can no longer make this choice about what goods to buy.

5-02 The argument that engineers must plan production and distribution because the government cannot resolve the problem is a result of disappointment and hatred towards the government. However, we actually need to hate ourselves in order to accept resource-based economy. We are going to hand over the right of choice to planners. They will decide what's best for us, since they think that we are not capable of settling our own problems.



5-03 What we must surely understand about Fresco's alternative is that the ability of resource-based economy to provide unlimited supply of a good is obtained by completely giving up another good. This is the same as giving up on a product by purchasing another when we have limited money. The only difference is that this choice is made by someone else.

5-04 Jacque Fresco probably does not have to prohibit people from drinking alcohol. This is because he can simply prevent this by not producing alcohol. He can also eradicate drugs using the same method. If alcohols and drugs are not produced at all, or alcohols and drugs do not exist in Jacque Fresco's store where we can take everything freely, there is no way we can obtain them. [33] The same logic applies to everything which Fresco regards as harmful.

5-05 Among goods we can currently purchase in the market, there are so many unnecessary goods. He will be able to offer unlimited supply of necessary goods by eradicating such unnecessary goods. But this choice is not made by us. It is made by those who plan the economy and decide what to produce. So, here comes an important question Why we have to leave the judgment of what is beneficial and what is harmful to somebody else?


5-06 I am concerned that the goods which Fresco regards as harmful are larger in number than we generally think. For example, we would not eat meats at least in completed resource-based economy. [34] This has long been my personal supposition, but The Venus Project website now clarifies this fact in its FAQ. See question #96, "What about food? Would people eat meat?"

5-07 I cannot imagine we can keep a pet in resource-based economy. To speak about electronic devices, some goods need to be turned into common goods, as acknowledged by Jacque Fresco. It is still uncertain as to what are to become common goods and what not. It may differ every time according to conditions. Hayek's point that "control on production is control on consumption" is correct.


5-08 But let us stop discussing about completed resource-based economy. We should rather focus on resource-based economy in transition period because most of elements that not only turn resource-based economy into failure but hell exist in this transition period. Discussion about completed resource-based economy is a fiction and unnecessary. We do not need to discuss problems to face at least 30 years later before discussing important and critical problems that we are going to face immediately.

5-09 Fresco's plan about transition period is vague. Despite its importance, he never says about it in detail. Fortunately one paragraph which I already quoted in chapter 4 seem to give enough clue. Fresco certainly said. "As to the need for government, only during the transition from a monetary based society to a cybernated high-technological resource based economy of common heritage would it be necessary."

5-10 He continued, "They will not dictate the policies or have any more advantage than other people. Their job will be to carry out the restoration of the environment to near natural conditions as possible on land and in the sea. They will also economically layout the most efficient way to manage transportation, agriculture, city planning, and production."

5-11 Obviously there is no reason for current corrupted governments to be a provisional government which pursues resource-based economy. So despite Fresco's so much gibberish which emphasize that The Venus Project is a process of evolution rather than revolution, at least one political revolution seem to necessary. [35] And because one of the purposes of the government is city planning, it seems that this revolution would happen before new cities are fully constructed.


5-12 Is there exist something like current free enterprise system at the transition period? Of course not. If current governments are vulnerable to lobbyists, so does the government of the transition period. As long as enterprise system exists, Fresco's every criticism about governments would apply to the government which would administer resource-based economy in transition period itself. So they would have to be eliminated.

5-13 How about Scarcity? Does it exist at the transition period? Fresco said that funds for his experimental city would be raised through various business The Venus Project is doing and contributions. But we do not think that every city can be constructed in the same way. We can't make every city before the revolution. It's impossible unless most of current big enterprises support The Venus Project.

5-14 So even if Fresco's assertion that we can be free from scarcity is true, we would not be able to get such abundance right after the revolution. We have to start our experiment without geothermal plants and completely automated factories. In fact, the ability to produce everyday goods may be reduced because we will have to invest much of our capability in the future.

5-15 How about money? He said that money is only important when scarcity does exist. Is this means that money is necessary as long as scarcity does exist? I will not make a conclusion about whether resource-based economy in transition period uses money or not. But one thing must be pointed out. He doesn't criticize only capitalism or free enterprise system. He criticizes every money economy. It was the reason why he could argue that his alternative is different from communism. If he wants consistency he has to insist immediate abolition of money. [36]


5-16 Our concern is what would happen in resource-based economy when scarcity is still a reality, and we have to choose what to produce and what to give up. Without a doubt, resource-based economy has to pass through this stage. Communist societies - though they also often pledged perfect abundance - couldn't overcome this stage to the end. Would resource-based economy be able to get a different result?

5-17 Some supporters of The Venus Project argue that communists are the same as capitalists, just because they both use money. They do not understand what made communism to use money. As mentioned earlier, many communists actually wished to eliminate money. Laborers demanded money. This was not because they were psychologically corrupted by capitalism.

5-18 Many people have different tastes about different areas of life. Someone wishes to increase quality of food by reducing quality of clothes. Someone wants to live in a better house by reducing quality of food. We gain the freedom to choose where to spend our money when money exists. We can purchase books or latest computer by spending less on food and living.

5-19 We can also choose what we eat in resource-based economy, but we can never choose quality of what we eat. We can only decide whether to eat banana or apple. It may permit choices among substitutes with identical quality. However, it does not permit the freedom to improve quality of vehicles we ride by giving up quality of what we eat. The freedom of choice promised by planned economy is incomplete.


5-20 Such problem may not be a problem when we can get everything at its best quality. Communists who argue that money will become unnecessary once perfect communist society is formed are making the argument under the exactly same context as supporters of The Venus Project. However, the problem occurs when we cannot accomplish such degree of productivity, when we are forced to make choices.

5-21 We cannot have all we want. We need to give up on something to gain something. It is important that we can at least choose what to give up. We minimize our loss by giving up what is least important to us. If there is no money, we must rely on distribution. Whether to give up on something will be decided by someone else.

5-22 Jacque Fresco's promise to supply goods without scarcity cannot settle this situation. We have to completely give up production of another good in order to supply a specific good without scarcity, even in perfect resource-based economy. The number of goods we give up will increase in resource-based economy during the transition period. It cannot come true, and even if it did, it will become a masked rationing system that is no different from rationing system.


5-23 Peter Joseph says in Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, "As harsh as it may sound, nature is a dictatorship." Also, as we have already seen, "It has no regard for what you subjectively think or believe to be true." These words are used to argue that there cannot be any difference in opinions about how to create an optimal society, or more accurately to deny necessity of democratic government. It is true, at least on the surface.

5-24 However, only few people understand the fact that Jacque Fresco's ideology is actually being applied to us. Whether we personally want to eat meat is not important to Jacque Fresco at all. Only science can tell us what is more and less important to us. If someone loves meat or alcohol, he have to be educated about this science. This is the key of Jacque Fresco's ideology.

5-25 However, what is more and less important to us is not solely determined by scientific knowledge about each good. Our individual preference is the most important element. There may be a person who loves meat so much that he cannot live without meat. His demand may not be satisfied by food produced similarly to meat. Can we ascertain that it is good for him to stop eating meat based on the scientific reason that meat is bad for health? [37]

5-26 Resource-based economy does not simply take way the right to choose food. It takes away the right of choice on everything. We can no longer buy better computer or television by sacrificing our food. The ratio of quality for housing, daily necessities, food and electronic appliances is given. Individual preferences hardly exist except when we choose among substitutes with identical quality.


5-27 Hayek wrote, "The question raised by economic planning is, therefore, not merely whether we shall be able to satisfy what we regard as our more or less important needs in the way we prefer. It is whether it shall be we who decide what is more, and what is less, important for us, or whether this is to be decided by the planner… It would, in effect, mean that we as individuals should no longer be allowed to decide what we regard as marginal."

5-28 You may not agree with this argument, but unfortunately, Jacque Fresco does not seem to have such right. What he says he is going to use in order to prevent people from drinking alcohol, or more accurately to make people accept the measure taken to prevent it, is education. He wrote, "They can be educated out of the need for requiring artificial stimulants."

5-29 We can use education and campaign for specific purposes in market economy. However, there is an important difference. We can try reducing demand for alcohol through campaign, but we do not prohibit production of alcohol. In planned economy, things are carried out in opposite order. The planners first prohibit production of alcohol and then educate people to accept this prohibition.

5-30 In market economy, we have freedom to agree or disagree with an education program or campaign with specific purpose. Excluding few goods like drugs, the scope of what we prohibit is narrow. Final decision on what goods to buy is always on individuals. Resource-based economy takes away such right of decision. Hayek's comment about planned economy is accurate for resource-based economy.


5-31 Furthermore, even the so-called technological solutions that Jacque Fresco claims to apply in resource-based economy actually take away our freedom of choice. Most of what he explains as technological solutions can also be made in market economy, but there is an important difference. In market economy, individuals decide whether to apply specific technological solution. In resource-based economy, planners make the decision.

5-32 For example, if a corporation develops safer vehicles by introducing a new technology, we may or may not buy that model. The new vehicle may be more expensive. However, we will have to pay the price to enjoy the technology. Nobody willingly takes the risk of accident. However if someone can use his money on something more important, he can do so.

5-33 Such freedom of choice does not exist in resource-based economy. The new technology to increase safety of vehicles will probably be applied to all vehicles. Of course, we may not have to spend money in order to enjoy this new technology, but the cost of applying the new technology does not disappear. This cost can be resolved only by giving up something that can otherwise improve quality of life. In conclusion, this cost secretly comes back to us.

5-34 Jacque Fresco said that old cars will not exist in resource-based economy. Since old cars accompany danger, they should be replaced by good cars. There is no reason for this to be bad at all. Is it really so? Maintaining all vehicles in their best conditions always requires expense. Also, this expense can only be paid by sacrificing something else we regard as precious. If we cannot choose what to sacrifice, nobody would want it.


5-35 In fact, most of technologies that we readily do not apply in market economy have reasons. If we had a vehicle that automatically changes its maximum velocity according to speed limit on roads, we do not need to worry about violation of speed limits. The reason why we do not want to buy such vehicle is because we wish to enjoy the freedom of violating such limit.

5-36 There are moments when people are willing to violate speed limit and pay a fine. If one of family members is in a life-or-death situation, we would have to take the risk and violate speed limit on roads. This choice becomes impossible once technological solution is applied to force all vehicles to drive below the speed limit. In market economy, most people of course do not want to implement such technology.

5-37 We cannot expect people in resource-based economy to want what most of people in market economy do not. On the contrary, application of this technology to limit maximum velocity of vehicles in resource-based economy will actually bring complaints. It is more so when the technology accompanies an expense that can only be paid through sacrifice of another.

5-38 If this type of technology really must be enforced, we can always apply it in market economy. We can create a law to force automobile manufacturing companies to apply specific technology that changes maximum velocity of vehicles according to speed limit on roads. We do not do so because it is not effective. It is probably not going to be effective in resource-based economy. Jacque Fresco's romantic expectation about technological solutions is mostly based on this fraud.


5-39 However, there is something that more seriously threatens our freedom. In resource-based economy, we cannot choose people to provide goods and services. Since the planners have exclusive charge on production of all goods - production of goods by other people must be prohibited or extremely limited in order to make use of resources according to the plan -, they can be regarded as a monopoly. They decide what to give us under what conditions.

5-40 For example, what should we do if all houses they provide us have listening devices and surveillance cameras installed? If an architect builds such house in market economy, it would degrade his credit. The first people to buy the house will become victims. However, remaining people can effectively drive the architect out of the market by not purchasing houses built by the criminal. What architects are actually afraid of is such judgment by the market.

5-41 However, it is impossible to anticipate such market judgment in planned economy, where all goods are supplied by a single group of planners. Of course, we can fight against the planners who infringe our private freedom, but we would have to be determined. It is much more than determination of those who litigate legal action against architects. Our enemy is gigantic.

5-42 The planners may infringe our rights and freedom in much smaller things. In principle, we must fight against them when they demand privilege. However, if this privilege starts from something small, such resistance will not bring large sympathy. If infringement of rights by the monopolist is carried out slowly enough, we may not be able to resist at all until we lose all freedom. Remember that our thoughts are generated from the environment.


5-43 Perhaps there is no area that can show such monopolist's tyranny as prominently as areas of academics and arts. If what books were to be published and what not were determined by good will of the planner, we will be unable to find any other books than those justifying the system. Books of Popper and Hayek that offer dangerous thoughts threatening resource-based economy won't even be produced.

5-44 If the planners decide what is to be broadcasted on TV, they will be able to control and brainstorm people more effectively than any propaganda that exist today. Everything will be justified as education to teach proper ideology or truth to people. All collectivistic planned economies including communism and fascism prioritized education. This also is prioritized by Jacque Fresco in resource-based economy.

5-45 Jacque Fresco's view on arts is summarized by words of Ernst Fischer which is cited in Zeitgeist: Moving Forward: "In a decaying society, Art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, Art must show the world as changeable." This passage is well known today, but people do not know the fact that Ernst Fischer was a socialist.

5-46 Which among works of great artists like Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky volunteer for this purpose today? Also, think about the consequence of arts always volunteering for social purposes in a place where only one ideology is acknowledged. In a liberal society, art only exists for the sake of art, as science exists only for the sake of science. [38] The truth is that art may contain ideology but cannot and should not be enslaved by ideology.


5-47 Especially, control on culture and leisure contents is more dangerous than any other controls. The purpose of planners in providing culture and leisure contents to us cannot simply be to balance supply and demand. They must control our environment so we become good and cooperative. There would be no problem if we become good enough to only want things that encourage such attributes, but this is not an explanation that corresponds to resource-based economy in transition period.

5-48 There is no doubt that the planners in transition period must directly betray our demand for culture and leisure contents in order to turn us into good and cooperative people. Pornography, violent action movies and all games related to killing things will disappear regardless of how many people want them. Competitive team sports, non-productive TV entertainments, and lyrics with abusive language will either disappear or be reduced.

5-49 However, if we only talk about what should disappear and do not mention what will replace them, we do not have sufficient understanding about what collectivistic control of culture and leisure contents means. It is not an exaggeration to say that everything broadcasted on TV in resource-based economy must serve for social purposes. It must give us a lecture and cultivate the team spirit.

5-50 Nothing among them can help us raise fundamental question about the system. Actually, they will use all possible means to prevent us from becoming suspicious about the system. We are going to watch films praising the struggle of great ancestors who overcame the money system on a daily basis. I have not mentioned anything about specific 'tyranny' of those who will monopolize supply of culture and leisure contents. However, these explanations sufficiently remind us of TV media in North Korea and former Soviet Union.


5-51 It is naïve to expect that such control will only be applied to culture and leisure contents directly created and distributed by the planners. The internet is one of places where suggestive and provocative contents are most likely to flourish. There is no way the planners can control our environment without handling obscene and provocative contents on the internet, and aggressive review activities by AVGN or Nostalgia Critic that can always turn instructive TV programs into jokes.

5-52 Of course, many supporters of The Venus Project place importance in freedom on the internet because it is advantageous for starting a revolution. However, it cannot be more naïve than to believe that the so-called resource-based economy will guarantee greater freedom on the internet for such reason. The explanation that resource-based economy will almost eliminate freedom on the internet is closer to the truth.

5-53 It is not a good idea to compare complete control of the internet in resource-based economy to SOPA or CISPA. They are bad too, but I am talking about something that is incomparably bad. It is a specific environment that will completely remove anonymity and forbid any contents threatening the system from being posted on the internet through prior censorship. Supporters of The Venus Project have no right to mention freedom on the internet.


5-54 In Chapter 4, I asked how resource-based economy can guarantee freedom of residential choice. This question can be answered easily. As mentioned earlier, the essence of the problem is that there are limited spaces for individual houses in large cities of resource-based economy. In order to balance supply and demand, economic planners would have to adjust quality of two goods so that many people will prefer apartments over individual houses.

5-55 Whatever the specific method may be, this can only be accomplished by slightly increasing life quality in apartments compared to life quality in individual houses. In Paradise or Oblivion, Jacque Fresco declares he will make many people want to live in apartments through such means. According to Jacque Fresco, apartments are superior individual houses because they have social infrastructures such as theatre groups, gyms, and hospitals.

5-56 This can be reduced to the economic problem of how to adjust conditions when the price is same in order to achieve specific ratio of demand for apartments and individual houses. I am convinced that economists who had been studying trend of demand about different conditions are best suited to solve such problems. However, this is an unbelievably difficult problem, even to them.

5-57 The planners can prevent lack of residential facilities by constructing sufficient number of residential facilities. But if the number of people who want to live in individual houses increases too much, they will end up balancing supply and demand by reducing quality of individual houses. It is easy to predict that individual houses will be laid aside compared to apartments when implementing various improvements. Accordingly, it is foolish to anticipate that complete efficiency and freedom of choice promised by planned economy will be simultaneously satisfied.



[33] Really? Fresco explains why he thinks so. "Not using money would eliminate the sale of drugs, prostitution, etc." But is this dismisses the possibility that black market would be formed? No. When money became useless pieces of paper because of the hyperinflation, Germans used cigarettes as currency. The same thing will happen in a resource-based economy, too. The truth is that as long as resource-based economy doesn't produce every goods which are in demand, there always would be a black market for them. Not only alcohols and cigarettes but also porn cartoons, luxury items, and even some ordinary goods which the system don't supply enough would be traded in this black market. If we can get raw materials of these goods from Fresco's free-distribution-store without paying anything, perhaps the black market would be an enormous threat to the system.

[34] 96th question still does not say anything about whether meat will be available in free-distribution-store. Obviously this is the only meaningful information. Jacque Fresco seems to have forgotten the fact that the planners are to decide this. Seriously, statements like this don't mean much: "We can not outlaw what people eat but we can outgrow the need for eating animal protein."

[35] This interpretation is supported by many other parts of FAQ. For example, see question #16. It foresees a "social and economic breakdown" as to "the turning point" of the future. The Venus Project would be accepted after confidence in existing system disappears completely. In every practical sense, what does this mean except that there would be a revolution? Perhaps there is no reason to believe Fresco's supposition that automation leads to a social and economic breakdown. (See chapter 10.) But a social and economic breakdown which is accompanied with widespread unemployment can happen anytime for different reasons. It happened during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Anyway, no matter what is the true reason, practically what would supporters of The Venus Project try to do when same thing happens? Don't forget that Marx said that capitalism would destroy itself, too. His supposition was realized only through revolution.

[36] If a resource-based economy in transition period still uses money, it would not be free from criticism that there are practically no difference between it and a communist system. The phrase "transition period" can't be an excuse for this similarity. As we already saw, communist societies in reality were also often understood as a transition period to reach a perfect communitarian society which clearly doesn't have a government or money. As we shall see in chapter 6, Fresco's plan is at least as vague as Marx's. And as we shall see in chapter 9, the most fundamental parts of Fresco's idea are not based on science or scientific method. If a resource-based economy in transition period also needs a government and money, it's quite suspicious what can distinguish an experiment of a resource-based economy from previous failed experiments of communism structurally. We can't expect different results from two identical systems even though they pursue different goals.

[37] We are uncertain about whether perfect vegetarian diet is better for health than diet composed of meats and vegetables. Actually, opinion by many scholars who studied this topic is that perfect vegetarian diet is not as good for health as you think. We probably won't be educated about these in resource-based economy. This is only one of many cases in which planned economy distorts science for its general plan. Fresco says, "eating living animals are detrimental to health."

[38] Scientists can have ideological motivation, but it cannot and should not be compulsory. Of course, Fresco seems to know this. What he didn't notice is that the same principle applies to art, too. Science for the sake of science and art for the sake of art have been excluded from all collectivistic planned economies. It is needless to say that it resulted in death of science and art. About science and resource-based economy, see also Note [14] and its main text.