A Introductory Libertarian Response to the Venus Project's Resource-Based Economy

First of all, I would like to begin by saying that I watched the Zeitgeist: Addendum more than two years ago. The reason I remember so well is because I know that I watched it before meeting Adrienne Nicole Bernal and remember that I even encouraged her to watch both Zeitgeist documentaries.

The first part of the documentary deals with fractional reserve banking system, the Federal Reserve, and fiat currency. What's interesting is that libertarians are against this as well. Libertarian Ron Paul who is now seeking the nomination of the Republican Party in the US for presidency actually wrote a book on abolishing the Federal Reserve called End the Fed. Here's just one of his many videos as he stands up against the Federal Reserve:

The second part of the documentary then moves on to criticize the CIA and the interventionist foreign policy of the US. It talks about different steps that the CIA does to install, fund, and topple different governments and dictatorships. Again, it's interesting that libertarians are against this as well. We are against big, powerful, and secretive governments. In fact, Ron Paul wants to abolish the CIA as well. Here's an interesting video where he talks about how the foreign policy of the US funded Mubarak's regime in Egypt:

I wanted to start by pointing out these things to show that there's so many misconceptions and misinterpretations about what libertarianism and free-market capitalism is and hopefully as I move on I am able to clear them up as well. Throughout this article I will be mentioning common arguments and misconceptions I encounter and try to give my libertarian perspective on the issue.

Profit is immoral?

Nowadays, people fail to distinguish between justly acquired profit and profit gained through force or fraud. There is absolutely nothing wrong from making a profit out of voluntary exchange, like between two mutually consenting individuals, for example. You cannot restrict people from trading or wanting to be rewarded for honest work, hard-earned skills, and innovative thinking.

What people usually refer to when they say 'profit is immoral' would be those acquired through force or fraud, through coercion or corruption, through cheating. Libertarians are against this. Why would I advocate cheating or corruption or coercion? Many people have already equated these words with "profit" thus immediately moving on to saying that free market capitalism is immoral. In an free libertarian society, there will be police and courts to deal with force and fraud. The rule of law will be enforced. People usually assume that free market means people will be allowed to kill each other (@_@).

What we have right now is a free market?

Nope. We are very very far from it. In fact, in the Philippines ranking in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, we are ranked 115th out of 179 countries. According to the index, Hong Kong is the world's freest economy and yet many libertarians will even argue that even Hong Kong, no matter how ideal it seems to be, is still very far from being called free market because of several issues. One of those issues is prohibition, a market regulation that seeks to regulate the behavior and preferences of individuals.

When people blame the "free market" what they usually mean is crony-capitalism or cronyism. This is when powerful [and greedy] elites control most of the industries and form relationships with men in power positions-gov't officials. Again, another interesting point is that libertarians are against this. In fact, crony capitalism is a product of bureaucracy and heavy regulations and of a strong state and weak market. Giving power to bureaucrats to intervene with the market will also give them power to favor their cronies. In a free and libertarian society, people will have to compete and provide innovative services in order to be rewarded and don't have access to tax payer's money and favors from powerful bureaucrats because plain and simple libertarians want to take away power from bureaucrats and give them back to individuals. What people hate is statism not free market.

So there is no free market. No matter how lawmakers call certain policies as "deregulation" or "antitrust" we are actually far from these things and they're just misleading terms that fuel the fire of making the concept of a free market evil or immoral. Bureaucracy, trade restrictions, unnecessary taxes that go to non-transparent government, and other red tapes are preventing market competition and hindering progress and creating more of the cronyism. The words "free market" concept has just been so misinterpreted in the public view that usually I would use substitute words like "voluntary exchange". So remember, cronyism bad, voluntary exchange good.

Aside from that, there's Keynesianism. The economic policy created by John Maynard Kenyes who has singlehandedly caused most of the world's problems and the economic crises in the US that started a few years ago (yes, it wasn't free market that caused the housing bubble, it was economic central planning and the federal reserve which again libertarians are against).

Peter Schiff, economic adviser of Ron Paul in the 2008
presidential campaign, predicts the housing bubble but no one listened

Peter Schiff got this kind of foresight by advocating the Austrian School of Economics. Just look at all the people thinking that Schiff is crazy in those collection of videos. Aside from that Ron Paul has long been predicting the economic crisis as well and not just that but many other things like the debt and spending and the blowback caused by the US foreign policy. Weird thing is that up to now, in spite of all the proofs and videos showing that they predicted these things so many people still refuse to listen to them.

A good introduction to Keynesianism vs Austrian School of Economics would be the PBS documentary Commanding Heights Battle for World Economy (torrents are available online), something that I always encourage people to watch especially those who argue against free market without knowing who Keynes is. I just think it's unfair to argue with people when they don't know about these things. Plus, Peter Schiff's book How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes is a good introduction on this issue as well.

Now, as my title suggests, this is merely an introductory article, much like a supplement of sorts. Something I can go back to, like a reference, in case I bump into similar arguments when finally writing a critique on the Venus Project. I can't really argue against it without clearing up these issues first. And there's just so much more that's lacking and not addressed. I actually planned to write this in early August when I discussed the Venus Project and the resource-based economy with a friend of mine. Problem was, I knew it was going to be too long and there was going to be so much I'm going to have to discuss in order to effectively show why I am advocating free market over the resource-based economy of Jacque Fresco.

I'm not sure when I can write about the next part. Maybe it's going to take very long again. I do feel it's my responsibility though to share the libertarian perspective regarding this issue effectively since many of my peers have very much the same misconceptions and are attracted to concepts like the the Venus Project.

There's actually many different kinds of libertarianism. There are even those that would probably have similar sentiments against property rights and trade like those left-libertarians. I haven't really read much about it but I've heard Kropotkin is a good place to read if you're interested. For as long as you are for voluntary societies and against the coercive state the it's really fine with me. Plus, there are even those libertarians like the objectivists who hate Ron Paul. So really, when I say the word "libertarian" then Austrian school or Rothbardian are some keywords that could help define the very core ideals I advocate. Although officially, I am a minarchist like Ron Paul.


  1. Profit is immoral when we as a society have the means through technology to provide abundance for the world's people, yet we choose instead to restrict access to even the basic necessities because someone doesn't have enough pieces of paper. It's like some people think we're still living in caves and have to fight and compete for resources. That was then. This is now.

  2. "Nowadays, people fail to distinguish between justly acquired profit and profit gained through force or fraud."

    "When people blame the 'free market' what they usually mean is crony-capitalism or cronyism. . . What people hate is statism not free market."

    - Exactly! And not a few intellectuals out there fail to recognize these two important distinctions due to the dominance of "progressive" thoughts in higher education.

  3. To vaguely say "profit is immoral" is a meaningless sentence based on antiquated morality. What isn't based on such a morality is the simple fact that the quest for profit will inherently and unavoidably create the negative factors you described: force, fraud, coercion and cheating.

    No profit-based system can account for that built-in mechanic. The way to "win" a profit-based game, is to cheat and not get caught, or manipulate the rules in your favor. That manipulation becomes easier and easier the more power a player accrues. Fiat money is that power.

    In such a zero-sum game, the most benefit goes to the few that can garner the most wealth, by any means. A system can try to heap laws on the books by the thousands to curb such behavior, but no such laws will actually stop the problem, since the system by its very nature rewards any action that results in profit, the laws be damned. History has played this exact scenario out countless times, always to the detriment of the human race as a whole, and the planet on which we live.

    TD;DR - The negative behaviors you mention will always manifest in a profit system, because that is the kind of behavior the system rewards by its very nature. Your argument is based on a fallacy, and invalid in its entirety.

    1. right so the solution is to tax these greey capitalists and redistribute it to the poor..... oh wait it actually does not happen after the politicians confiscate the excess wealth from the rich they distribute it among themselves.


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