When I refer to a resource-based economy, I refer to the proposal of the groups of The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project


closed as off-topic by Conifold, Not_Here, virmaior, Swami Vishwananda, wolf-revo-cats Nov 2 '17 at 9:11

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  • I took my comment down because I had mentioned Herman Daly's work might be similar to what you discuss. However, I think Daly is a proponent of the steady-state economy, see steadystate.org/discover/definition – Gordon Oct 31 '17 at 17:25
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    Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Please visit our Help Center to see what questions we answer and how to ask. There is something wrong with the title, and it is unclear what the question is or what it has to do with philosophy. There is Economics SE. – Conifold Oct 31 '17 at 17:48
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on a different SE. – Not_Here Oct 31 '17 at 18:58

Various pacifists (including my favorite version of Starhawk) have also put forward this basic notion.

Its theoretical practicality relies upon an assumption that 'We are psychologically more like bonobos than dogs'. (This is not entirely obvious. We are genetically more like bonobos, but we created the psychology of dogs to be like our own from very early in our history. Many dogs, and few bonobos, understand what it means when you smile playfully, or when you point at something. But the genetic distances make it highly likely.)

Various theorists have suggested, largely based upon the differences between chimpanzees and bonobos, that competition to have more 'stuff' than your neighbors is a trained response and not an intrinsic one. Other theorists have reinforced this by arguing for the apparent egalitarianism of tribes at the height of the paleolithic era, suggesting that differences that afford domination, like gender and size, do not seem to have predicted better individual health in that period of prehistory. From this point of view, human competition is properly social in nature: about mating opportunities or enforcement of will in a more abstract sense, and not really about resources.

But we are raised in a culture that emphasizes scarcity as a primary social motivation. We are trained to value ourselves through providing resources to those about whom we care, or through demonstrating that we can and will do so when the time is right, because much of human history after the period of Paleolithic Affluence has involved continual scarcity and particularly has involved forced deprivation of the socially disapproved.

Even taking that as a given, so the state is possible, the issue remains whether whether there is any path to it. We cannot simply dismantle a basic aspect of all human cultures, even if we know that underlying the resulting dysfunction is a different motivation that would not be as destructive.

This ultimately faces the major obstacle to all forms of pacifism.

Unless we all abandon manipulation through unnecessary competition at once, some backward cultures will still create artificial scarcity by pretending to play along, but really harboring their old motives. Then they can take advantage of the fact that others are not working against them to hoard security without limit, and consequently create artificial scarcity.

It is not clear we can get there by half-measures. Many schemes have been put forward, but they all seem to require either incredible luck, or virtually infinite intelligence.

I think the Venus Project people are basically believers in what Kurzweil called 'The Singularity' -- the point at which technology amplifies intelligence into something so readily adaptable that its only limitation is the maximum rate at which things can change. At that point, it might as well be infinite. So, from that POV, there will be a time very soon, when they can address this limitation with technology.

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