Introduction To Resource-Based Economy - Cost Efficiency Vs Technological Efficiency

in science •  6 months ago

Introduction To Resource-Based Economy - Cost Efficiency Vs Technological Efficiency

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Anti-economy.

Current corporate system, to keep itself operational, is designed around exponential increase of consumption while keeping constant growth to satisfy increasing needs for employment. This monetary, market-based "economic" model applies a method called "planned obsolescence", which means that many products are willingly designed to have certain lifespan in order to break down within next few years. Moreover, products are often made to be unupdatable. All in need to perpetuate the "cyclical consumption" - consumers are forced to keep buying new models of products, while the old models are discarded as obsolete trash which ends up as landfill waste. These practices are anti-economical, insane and ecocidal. They incentivize cancerous, constant growth and resource-wasteful consumerism on the planet with finite resources. In this system, environmental and social well being are always secondary to profit.

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Cost Efficiency = Technological Inefficiency.

Being economical simply means being able to economize. It is about the most efficient and strategic allocation of resources that considers carrying capacity of the Earth.This means that we must allocate our resources in strategic, conservative and sustainable way to meet growing needs of human population on the resource-finite planet. It is not about what some business entity can afford to stay competitive in monetary market. As a human species we have symbiotic relationship with our planet's environment, therefore it should be our priority to look after its biosphere. In order to achieve it, we need to recognize three important, economic factors: resource accounting, ecological balance (dynamic equilibrium), strategic design.

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Resource accounting.

Considering the reality that our planet has finite resources, while taking into account the needs of current and future generations, we must make an account of Earth's available resources (as approximate as possible). It is necessary if we want to design sustainable and economical resource allocation. Simply, we must know what resources we have, how much, and where they are.

Ecological Balance.

Next, we need to estimate the rate of regeneration of our natural, renewable resources (wood, fresh water etc.) to be able to keep them in state of ecological balance. Ecological balance is a state of "dynamic equilibrium" within the ecosystem where biodiversity remains stable while it is subject to gradual changes within natural progression. Dynamic equilibrium is impossible to achieve in monetary "economy" (infinite growth on planet with finite resources).

Strategic Design.

Strategic design means conservative and strategic allocation of resources and application of sustainable and efficient technology (automation of labor, recycling, etc.) without intrusion from market system and cost efficiency.
This principle is seldom applied in present-day system, as resource allocation is implemented through careless and arbitrary monetary mechanisms. In monetary-based system it is not about what is the most scientific and efficient but about what is affordable by producers and consumers. Cost efficiency is inverse to technological efficiency and sustainable, strategic design.
Strategic design demands the system which is based on cooperation not competition.

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All these factors are crucial in obtaining maximalization of efficiency and sustainability, and are foundations of Resource-Based Economy. Ignoring any of these is, simply, unscientific carelessness. Socio-economic system that we live in now does not even consider these principles within its intolerably inefficient and wasteful design.


Previous parts:

"Introduction To Resource-Based Economy - What Is Wrong With Our Socio-Economic System."

"Introduction To Resource-Based Economy - Inequality Is Good For Monetary "Economy"."

Book References:

"The Best That Money Can't Buy", Jacque Fresco, The Venus Project 2002.
"TZM Defined: Realizing a New Train of Thought", The Zeitgeist Movement's Lecture Team, 2014.




-logic


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Nice topic mate! You all may like to see..
This is my best documentary on the subject. :)

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Thanks, I saw it at least 10 times lol

Hello again! I'm back for more comments and, hopefully, some constructive discussion.

The substitution of work posts by machines will undoubtedly be an ever growing social challenge. Existing social and governmental structures are not unaware of this issue and the debate on how to address it is actively going on. One of the most popular proposals is UBI (universal basic income). My point is that RBE is not the only alternative to deal with the challenges that are upon us.

Next, you speak about exponential growth in the monetary system. While this is more or less accurate, you fail to mention that with monetary inflation, each unit of money is effectively worth less in terms of real purchasing power. So, there an exponential growth in money supply is not synonymous with an exponential growth in production and consumption. Now, of course consumption has been growing and is, in many instances, very inefficiently organized, taking its ecological impacts into little consideration. However, you cannot reduce economic activity and consumption to products. There is a substantial part of economic growth which is due to an increase in services, not products. Services are, for the most part, based on human resources and not on material ones, having a much lighter impact on the overall increase on natural resource exhaustion. The point is that you cannot simply take the inflation of the monetary ecosystem and establish an equivalence with an exponential growth in resource exploitation. This is a crude oversimplification.

Planned obsolescence is an interesting issue. I don't dispute its practice by many manufacturers, but I believe that many times this is not as much "planned" as it may appear. Products in the market must attract purchasers, which in turn need to have purchasing power. Making a more durable product usually means higher production costs, which lead to higher market prices and, consequently, a smaller public with purchasing power. There are plenty of quality products out there; it's just that many people don't have the means to buy them or simply prefer to buy cheaper ones. This has more to do with income inequality than with resource management. There are a number of available political strategies to balance income among the population, while the material issue may be addressed by having wider and more efficient recycling and reusing platforms. My point is that it is possible to achieve higher levels of efficiency by regulating the existing markets, without the need to radically change its nature. Also, education may play an important role in promoting conscious consumer behavior in all respects, from human rights to ecological impact.

Surveying the world's natural resources is not a special feature of a RBE; it is already done in the current model. All institutions, ranging from national governments to corporations, invest to some degree in this activity, which is a basic logistic practice. It may not be undertaken in a fully globalized fashion, because there is undoubtedly a logic of competition behind it. Still, as far as surveying the available natural resources goes, all institutions with direct responsibility over it already do it.

The issue of the sustainability of renewable natural resources is also constantly addressed by the previously mentioned institutions. There are a lot of scientific and policy studies already taking place regarding both environmental impact and sustainability of resource exploitation. Again, it may all boil down to informed governmental regulation gradually limiting unsustainable and environmentally hazardous practices, while developing educative policies for raising scientific literacy and ecological awareness among the population. Many governments are actively working on both fronts.

I don't see any substantiation of the statement that "cost efficiency is inverse to technological efficiency". The costs of something are a way to reflect the amount of labor, energy, materials, time, etc., that something takes to be produced. Of course, this reflection is highly skewed from country to country, especially due to lack of regulations and their enforcement (again), but also due to differences in economic performance. For example, labor is paid very differently in different places, which might lead to the same product having very different production costs in different places. However, consumers still have a choice between buying stuff which is provably manufactured according to high social an ecological standards, or keep buying the cheaper products whose manufacture does not take these standards into account.

Basically, the existing market system provides a high degree of freedom to its actors. Producers and providers of services are more or less free to introduce their products and services into the market. Consumers are more or less free to demand from the market according to their tastes and needs. Somewhere along the intersection, this system establishes how much should be produced of what. A RBE would require a centralized "scientific committee" establishing by itself how much people need of what, without any clear way to take into account people's freedom to choose among alternatives, nor for people to freely develop new concepts of products and services. You propose that a RBE is the answer to sustainability problems, while I observe in the existing social and economic structures a growing movement in the direction of ecological awareness, environmental protection, social justice, resource sustainability, etc...

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You are moreless right about many things. I am using android so will make responses short.

There is growing awareness but it is slow - profit-based market system undermines the growth of this awareness. Problems mean profit. If there are no social or environmental problems, there is no buck to make (sell arms for war,sell services for poor or incarcerated, sell medications to sick, own and sell life supporting resources such as water or even air recently, etc.).

In RBE, no person decides about anything. Cybernated AI systems arrive at decisions (smart city). Please read FAQ as I asked.

I didnt say that many resources have been calculated already. They have. Especially those that make a buck. Problem is that this information is hidden from humanity due to profit driven reasons. Same as intellectual information, some technologies and discoveries.

Cost efficiency (profit making) is inverse to technological efficiency. When you eradicate profit, nothing stops in the way of research and development.
Imagine developing and implementing technology while having unlimited money and no interest in making profit. It would be just like having no money at all.

Those constant paper proclamations by institutions or governments about environmental care are infinite patchwork. Paris agreement is an example of that joke. Arbitrary promises that in the best case would increase temp by at least 3-4C by the end of century, anyway. Climate scientists laugh at it.

Yes, some planned obsolescence is not planned as such. It is simple behavioral outcome of the mechanics of profit driven market system.

Consumer education has done nothing for thousands of years. You can try to teach whatever you like to consumers (public). If they are poor they will steal to eat. If their basic human needs are not met, they will not prioritize environmental care over their survival. If you want to change our obsolete values, you must change the foundations of the system (change social conditions) to eradicate the causes of these issues in the first place.

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I agree that the the rate at which awareness is growing is slower than desirable. However, I'd like to see a noteworthy proposal on how to speed it up, because in the end it all boils down to people's opinions and choices. This is related with your last paragraph about consumer education. If education is unsuccessful in raising social and environmental awareness, how do you propose then that RBE ideas should be taught and accepted by the people? Of course that starving people won't see environmental issues has being important; those people will probably not even be aware of such issues. But this is a red herring as long as there are lots of well fed people which, nonetheless, also seem oblivious to environmental issues. If people who have the opportunity to do so develop their awareness and act accordingly, this will lead to the creation of opportunities for more people to do the same, and so on.

Profit is not based on environmental or social hazard. Problems may be regarded as opportunities for people to profit from providing solutions to society, as well as any human necessities of desires which will always be present, whichever the economic model. The prospect of profiting constitutes an incentive for people to interdependently work towards addressing each others needs within the vast and complexly diverse sets of people which are today's societies. It is not the only possible motivation, but it is a widely recognized motivation nonetheless. Also, there is profit to be made through ecologically or socially conscious endeavors if consumers value these features; there are already a number of institutions making their profit while striving for environmental balance and social care.

Regarding so-called "cybernated AI systems", you should be aware while research into AI is bubbling with activity and promising results, what RBE proposes is, for the time being, more akin to science fiction than to the actual state of the art technology. Furthemore, a machine will only do what men program them to do. Even if there is such an AI making the decisions (a view which I personally find completely abhorrent), its working principles, its decision trees, and all the underlying algorithms would have to be decided upon and programed into it by people making not only scientific, but also political assessments of what should and should not be. Who would do such a thing? Would it be a democratic process? Would there be social mechanisms for discussing and altering its functioning? There you have politics again.

Regarding resource surveying, I completely agree that the data should be much more transparent and accessible to the public. No further comments on that issue.

Your thought experience about implementing technology having infinite money and no desire for profit is an interesting one. The problem with it is that having infinite money would mean that money would be worth nothing at all, effectively being as if there was no money, as you've said. Then, how would we decide upon what gets done and what doesn't (since our work capacity is limited), how to do whatever we decide that we should do (because there are lots of different ways to do the same thing), and finally how to distribute the end produce (which would arguably not be enough to be distributed among every single person in the world)?

Politics, in the form of the political institutions at play, has a tremendous room for improvements regarding their efficacy, efficiency, and work ethics. It moves in very sinuous ways and it takes very long to arrive at some resolutions and to enforce them. The problem here is the same as I've stated above: politics is a reflection of what people value and of how people decide to act upon those values. Whichever the system, it will always be difficult to juggle so many different views of the world, so many different interests and motivations, and so many intricate and interconnected issues than require attention. RBE is not different in this respect; it just hides these problems under the pretense of a "reign of scientific enlightenment and consensus". This proposed state of affairs is, in my view, totally unfeasible.

There is this thing about RBE puzzles me: it starts by observing that resources are finite and scarce due to the physical dimensions and constitution of the earth; then it blames the economic system for scarcity; and then it introduces RBE as something which will somehow transform scarcity into abundance. We can certainly increase efficiency, and definitely should, but this is not the same thing as performing a miracle of multiplication.

I agree 100% in the following terms: the current social and economic systems need reassessment, rethinking, and restructuring. Alas, I believe this to be true at any place and at any time in the past, present and future of humanity. And it has been so for the entire lifespan of civilization. I admire people who come forward with innovative views on how we could make things work better. But I get very suspicious whenever something is presented as an all-purpose miraculous elixir. This often means one of two things: either the people proposing it are charlatans, or they haven't thought it through as thoroughly as they should. I believe that most of RBE proponents fall into the latter alternative, because I can't seem to cease finding loose ends and ill-defined concepts within RBE. RBE is noble at heart, interesting for its novelty, certainly worth a deeper analysis, but ultimately in its infancy stage.

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No one decides what gets done. RBE is not a political but scientific method based system. In scientific managements no one makes decisions but decisions are arrived at together according to data. That is real democracy. What you currently have is not a democracy and has never been. Democracy requires highly and equally well educated population that arrives at intelligent decision through consensus after making sure that everyone is well informed.

In cybernated RBE, people are supervisors and overseers of AI systems. Developers, programmers, coders, technicians, scientists, engineers, etc.

(I posted it long time ago. Poorly edited. I was still learning how too write then. I still do actually).
https://steemit.com/anarchism/@logic/the-meaning-of-true-anarchism

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As any true man of science, I am an anarchist at heart. I find anarchy to be the most appealing state of affairs one could live in. Sadly, the practical requirements for a true anarchy to be possible and functional are, as of now and in the foreseeable future, totally unfeasible and utopian. I would be intellectually dishonest if I didn't admit to that. But I assure, you won't find anyone who's more anarchist at his or her heart than I am.

When you say that "decisions are arrived at together according to data", this is might sound very appealing and unproblematic, but the illusion should dissolve quickly if you take a closer look at what that statement really entails. First of all, there are problems in the data: even in a scientific context, people will disagree on the relevance, accuracy and interpretation of data. As I've said before, science is not a consensus activity, but rather an evolutionary and dynamic process of modelling phenomena to growing degrees of accuracy, and it involves disputes, objections, tests, hypotheses, in a completely non-linear and fuzzy fashion. Then, there's the problem with the part of deciding "together": how is it than a great number of people completely clueless regarding this or that scientific topic are supposed to get together with the "experts" to decide upon those matters? You might eventually be in condition to do it if everyone had the same mastery of scientific subjects, which is in itself a totally unrealistic prospect, but then again you are still likely to have divergences between them. Finally, the "decisions" part is also problematic: decisions need not (and actually should not) be definitive and immutable; also, they should not be completely rigid. I don't want an AI following a strict protocol and making all the decisions for people; where is the human aspect in that? Where are exceptional cases? Where are questions of value and sensibility? I don't want to live in a dehumanized environment because of an obsession with efficiency.

Before the cybernated RBE is implemented and people sit back to the role of supervisors, it must be first designed, and that's where all of the problems that I mentioned in the previous paragraph come in. And I do agree that what we have today isn't really a true democracy, but it is more of a democracy than technocracy. But just like you need an equally well educated population to make the most of a democratic system, the same applies to RBE.

RBE is as political a system as any other. Even scientific institutions are politically managed. There is a politics of science. There is a politics of everything, because politics is simply the process of conciliation of different views and expectations within a large group. Those different views and expectations will always exist, and so will politics. Don't mistake politics with the quality of our political actors, which is frequently poor.

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"even in a scientific context, people will disagree on the relevance, accuracy and interpretation of data. "
They can disagree. If they do, then they just apply more of scientific method and research if there was not enough data for some. So accuracy and interpretation are better.

"totally unfeasible and utopian". Critics of RBE or anarchism just love to repeat this phrase.
Utopia means ultimate goal. Perfect society. RBE has never set such goal as achieving perfection. Like I already said before utopia is the opposite of emergent system that constantly changes (just like science). I hate repeating myself.
RBE is not perfect but it seems the best we can currently have as solution if we do not want to keep going back to same obsolete social systems. People love to criticise RBE while they offer no (or no new) solution themselves. Criticising something without offering intelligent solution has little value.

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The problem is not that scientists will disagree in some indefinite future. They disagree right now regarding many current research topics. One thing is to build a machine do some mechanical or data processing work; a completely different thing is to make a machine to "think" for us. How should the machine think? Should all current topics and lines of research be programmed into it? How would it then decide among them? The scientific method does not yield truths written in stone; it yields models which may or may not stand firm with each test they are put through. And again, you would have a tiny minority of people (science experts) effectively deciding for everyone else.

RBE is presented as a solution to such diverse problems as scarcity, inequality, non-sustainability, environmental hazard, inefficiency, political corruption, ... It is an extensive list of wonders that RBE pretends to solve. Neither of us had talked about perfection until you did. I've just been pointing out what I consider to be design flaws and not well-thought ideas of how RBE can solve all these difficult, complex and broad problems.

When I said that anarchy is totally unfeasible and utopian as of now and in the foreseeable future, I thought that would be self-evident and that I would not need to elaborate on that. Anarchy requires an unrealistic level of homogeneity within the members of a society with respect to shared ethical standards, intellectual heritage and vision for the future. There are an estimated 7 500 000 000 people in the world. Each person has his or her own thinking, interests, motivations, goals, fears, values, etc... People can be highly cooperative and peaceful. People can be ill-intended and harmful. They can be lazy, they can be judgemental, they can be pious, they can be ruthless... They can be whatever you might think of. How do you enforce order and functionality in an anarchist model with 7 500 000 000 different people?

The picture is similar with RBE, because it presupposes that everyone must voluntarily adhere to the same principles. When was the last time in human history that you saw us even coming close to such status? For many shortcomings that existing democratic regimes might have, they have this very nice feature that different interest groups with different views may share the political stage and negotiate compromised answers to society's issues. This is something which is part of democratic systems by design. Of course, for this potential to actually be realized, you need a well informed and politically conscious population which actively participates in the political life of their societies. Many existing democracies are just make believe, while others are completely polarized in two big parties that rig the system and alternate in power. There are, however, some good examples of relatively well functioning democratic systems, namely the Scandinavian democracies, where you find higher levels of literacy, public participation, economic performance, environmental consciousness and social justice.

The kind of solution RBE proposes is an idealization, just like anarchy is. It's as if I asked you to compute the volume of a chicken, and you started by assuming that the chicken is spherical, when it clearly is not. Assuming ideal conditions, any system has a tremendous potential to function well. It is due to unrealistic prerequisites that I find RBE unfeasible, just as I find anarchy unfeasible. You already have an emergent system that constantly changes (maybe not as fast as desirable, but it has been changing quite a lot over the centuries).

Finally, I'd like to point out that you are absolutely right about one thing: I have not proposed any alternative solution myself, and yet I keep criticizing RBE. While I do not agree that "criticizing something without offering intelligent solution has little value", it would certainly be better if another solution would be proposed to be compared with RBE. And here's why I haven't proposed another solution: a) I don't believe in radical and miraculous solutions for complex and longstanding problems, especially if they are sociological in nature, because it takes time and effort for mentalities to evolve and change; b) I believe that many current democratic societies provide better than ever conditions for people to get educated, to promote social and environmental awareness, to come together for common causes, to freely evaluate the performance of institutions and engage in their remodeling, to actively participate in the construction of society's structures, to be innovative, to establish and pursue one's own goals, etc.; c) and finally, I think that the social and economic structures are a reflection of societies' collective views and expectations, meaning that if you want to fundamentally change the system, you must first fundamentally change its building blocks (people), and not the other way around.

I don't have the ability to suggest a better solution than living and acting according to one's principles while sharing them with the people with whom one crosses paths through one's example, in the hopes that other people might resonate with your views and learn something from them. And what you are doing, trying to inform people about RBE, falls perfectly into this description. I truly respect this attitude of yours. But then comes the part where, after you expose your views to the world, the world analyses them through its own eyes and may like it or not. That's where I come in. My thinking leads me to find RBE to be at fault in many aspects, and I share this back with you. Then you share your thoughts back with me, and this goes on until one of three things happen: a) one of us provides enough justification for the other one to more or less adopt the same view; b) we get tired of the back and forth and quit discussing, with each one maybe a bit better informed but ultimately with the same views as before; c) or we converge to a compromise position, where the merits of both views are synthesized into a third new view which didn't previously exist for the two of us.

Now rest assured, when I come back to comment on your further articles on this topic, I will make an effort to add some alternative ideas instead of just criticizing RBE. I may not be able to do it for the reasons I have mentioned above, but I will certainly try. And I hope you aren't discouraged by my criticism, quite the contrary. If anything, I hope it motivates you to better develop your ideas, to better articulate them, and to better discuss them with followers and critics alike. I'd like to end by repeating that it's a pleasure discussing these ideas with you. I maybe be skeptical, but I'm not closed minded. Let's keep in touch!

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Everyone arrives at decisions collectively with the help of AI data, because everyone is scientifically literate. Whole education in RBE is designed to make sure that everyone is highly educated and informed (progressively since childhood) so everyone is a scientist really. There is no group of privileged people who have acquired certain knowledge while others stay in the dark (like in current system).
I agree that AI is nit yet there atm but it seems certain it will get there very soon considering current rapid exponential development of AI and IT technology.

I love your criticism although I may sometimes get frustrated.
Many points are valid and I think that such RBE-focused organisation as The Venus Project should work on solutions to it to improve the concept of RBE.

This post received a 2.4% upvote from @randowhale thanks to @logic! For more information, click here!

You ain't going to be able to account for the world's resources and determine their relative value without a standard unit of measure, money.

A monetary economy does NOT imply exponential growth. There are plenty of stagnant economies out there that use money.

You will never be able to strategically or efficiently allocate resources without a unit of account...money.

Bunch of word salad...

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There is other way of counting and measuring things without use of money. It is called mathematics.
Have you heard about it?
That is how 7 y/o kids are already taught to count objects (resources). Also what scientists apply when they need to calculate or measure something, especially Earth's resources (Eureka here for you! They don't use money!)
Get out of your, scientifically illiterate, monetary box and learn the basic fundamentals of Scientific Method and logical discourse. Then come back.

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For an example, how would you determine whether it is more efficient to use a copper pipe, or a stainless steel pipe when building a house? There are thousands of such decisions to make in building a house which will greatly affect the cost of building it. How would you determine the relative values of various resources and which one would be more efficient to use without prices?

Money uses mathematics, seven year old kids use money. There is nothing scientifically illiterate about using money. Using money is most efficient way to determine value of various things.

I have seen no scientific method used in any of your resource based posts, just a bunch of new age woo woo word salad.

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That looks like a lot of inefficient work to do for each of thousands of decisions to make when building a house.

On the other hand, you can just check the prices. :)

@thevenusproject is on Steemit too. Thanks and good luck again!

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Thanks. I know :-)

Highly rEsteemed! Upvoted and followed.
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