Category Archives: 1) Transition Theory

Extrapolating from the goal a basis for methodology

Money and Transitionary Economics

Once a given necessity of life becomes abundant and accessible to all, we soon forget of private property. We share access abundance to air, but should air somehow become scarce, competition for it will emerge – followed by ownership, theft, trade, money, jealousy, war – monetarism generally. The attainment of a Resource Based Economy is the harmony of global access abundance.

Not only does scarcity create monetarism, but monetarism creates artificial scarcity. Profits are maximised and privileged positions secured by planned obsolescence, property restrictions, withholding technological advancement etc. Therefore, we need to intervene with a transitional form of social economic relations that allows us to orient our actions to the goal of global abundance, eliminating competition and monetarism in turn.

The monetary method reduces all expenses to a numerical index, thereby allowing simple piecemeal calculation on the basis of cost-effectiveness. The goal method accounts for expenses by material measure to achieve maximally-effective use of resources holistically. But how is resource-accounting to objectively compare expenses so various as materials and, especially earlier in transition, human labour?

However increasingly automated and digitised labour may become, it is in the first instance a social collaboration. Data collection, calculation and the communication and carrying out of economic decisions will be laborious tasks on the eve of transition, not to disappear overnight. Only the collaboration of these labourers can be our transitional form – what Peter Joseph of The Zeitgeist Movement calls “Multidisciplinary teams”.

This blog makes the case that forming these teams is the first decisive step, and that these teams will first form out of existing workplaces. Once they do, they can progressively replace their inter-workplace monetary-relations with collaborative associations and their labour with automation, while meeting human needs. As the means to fulfilling each of our various needs reaches global abundance capacity, access to such means becomes non-monetary in turn – we arrive.

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Arriving at Decisions and Transition

Human physical and psycho-social needs are universally-preferred and measurable. Peter Joseph explains that we can therefore arrive at economic decisions on a “near-empirical” basis. But near-empirical is different from entirely objective. Let’s explore and solve this problem to ascertain how to best arrive at decisions.

Aesthetic considerations are also universally-preferred yet variable and only measurable as expressions of opinion. More importantly, we have the resources and technical ability to fulfil all human needs on Earth with much to spare, so what next? Decisions regarding this surplus and aesthetics too involves the registering of subjective preferences.

For a solution, let us explore the scientific method. The scientific community is a debate where all participating parties attempt to convince the majority of their view. In essence it is a democratic association for determining the best approximation of the truth at any moment of the continuing discussion. The best approximation of the best possible economic decisions is our goal, an accountable form of economic democracy our method.

Peter Joseph says to questions technical in nature “it is not who makes a decision but how the decision is arrived at”, indeed, such calculations may be relegated to computers. But when those involved in determining the tasks to be done are not those involved in performing the labour of the tasks, especially where drudgery is not yet overcome by applied technology, does it not matter who? This question is not technical, but social.

Peter Joseph of The Zeitgeist Movement describes those who maintain the workings of a Resource Based Economy as forming Multidisciplinary teams. Such teams must self-coordinate and coordinate inter-team up to the global level as necessary to apply systems-theory to an industrial society. A given resource can be worked only once and a given tool fit only one hand at a time, so complete autonomy is impractical, negotiations must ensue and agreements democratically made.

In his criticism of politics, Peter Joseph always says we should “value people on what they have done, not what on they say they will do”. Under the management of multidisciplinary teams, an appreciation of their tangible contributions will ensue, ensuring a dynamic that secures a meaningful democracy for the benefit of all, and a transition to a Resource Based Economy.

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Class and Transiton

We must focus our actions where they will count. For the transition process to become clear we must first understand class.

Capitalism is a class society, like feudalism and slavery before it. Class distinctions are relations of ownership and labour. Under slavery one works for his owner, under serfdom for an owner of land, under employment for an owner of capital. A Resource Based Economy is a classless society because there is no private ownership.

The subjective interests of each class are in contest. One wants high wages, the other wants lower. One wants safety and environmental consideration, the other wants no barriers to profit. One wants workers self-organised, the other wants them subservient. The world looks very different to the people on each side of a class division.

While It is true that all people will be better off in a Resource Based Economy, the capitalists and their governments want our workplaces run for profit. We have to accept their desires won’t change until this class distinction is abolished, which will only happen as our plan for a RBE comes to fruition. It is the working class, which is to say all employed people, who have an immediate interest in moving forward. 

Fortunately, working people are the ones with the skills and ability to transition. In their workplaces of the world they’ve all their advanced tools and machinery ready, complete with capable and cooperative workforces established. Workers are the technicians, the tradespeople, and those who can fulfil our needs while we construct this new economy of abundance, an abundance that will undo the need for property relations thereby the undoing of class distinctions. 

The multidisciplinary teams that Peter Joseph describes as running the future economy, they already exist, its only that they are subservient to their bosses. They are going to have to act against the interests of their bosses. They are going to have to mobilise themselves by their own organisations towards this goal and carry it through.

In events throughout history since the development of capitalism, particularly during times of economic crisis, workers have gone on strike, sometimes even occupying their workplaces and continuing production by managing themselves. In 1920 Italy, this was a nationwide reality.

Workers have proven to have this tendency, and we’d be best to work with it, incite it, foster this rebellious spirit that is necessary to turn the workplace dictatorship into a democracy. In unity there is strength to bargain for better wages, refuse to work in unsafe conditions, and strike nationwide for our demands. This is something we can begin now, so get organised in your workplace, workers, unite!

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Labour, Automation and Transition

Forward Movement advocates the establishment of multidisciplinary teams as pivotal to the transition process. These teams will emerge in their earliest forms when employees band together in their workplaces to organise themselves independently of authoritarian management. We can begin taking steps now. While some advocate a complete boycott of society’s corrupt institutions, these workplaces of the world house all the advanced tools necessary for constructing a post-scarcity economy, as well as capable and cooperative workforce.

But with such a focus, are we now guilty of placing labour at the centre of things, rather than automation? As Jacque Fresco said “Think of technology as the extension of human functionality”. No matter how automated data and material processing and delivery becomes, what sets it all in motion is labour at some prior point. So to put automation at the centre we must first put labour at the centre, then we may use our labour in seeking to automate such labour in turn.

The first task of these workers is simply to continue work in the usual collaborative sense, but having democratised the process of management as multidisciplinary teams should. In many crises of history, workers have done just this, and in doing so have turned the crisis around. Once they secure this, they will certainly be motivated to reduce their workloads, of course, so any suggestion of increased automation will naturally be adopted without debate. Maximal automation will come as a matter of course once workers are in charge of their own labour-power.

Most of employees’ roles today are either completely unproductive or produce nothing in actual need. Workers will not find satisfaction in doing such work so it will discontinue it. By organising on an inter-workplace level, workers can reorientate towards productive roles, doing away with brokers, bankers, debt collectors and such. Factories workers will only be interested in making useful things, such as the hardware and software needed to further automate other workers’ roles.

Our economy is illogical not because people don’t know any better and need someone to show them a better way, but because of the subservience of the employee to the employer and the subservience of all to the money sequence. We can rid ourselves of money and the need for extensive labour only by first ridding ourselves of the wage system. Everything our employer owns, us workers created, we are the ones deserving a say in how it is used. In unity there is strength to stand up to the boss, so get organised. Workers, unite!

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