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Resource Based Economy: A New Vision For Humanity

Creating a world where every person has a high standard of living and personal fulfillment, while the environment is protected and restored.

Photo of Borislav Zlatanov

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Our work at Resource Based Economy is about a new approach to global problem solving. Today, science and technology are capable of providing a very high standard of living for all people on the planet, without jeopardizing the environment. We recognize this and we propose a new social model where the tremendous potential of science and technology is unleashed towards social betterment.

The core of the idea is that a holistic, systems approach is used to address humanity's grand challenges. Instead of improving any one area of society, the whole social operating system is updated. Every aspect of society benefits as a result of this.

To move beyond theory and implement this in practice, we are now in design and development stages of a major construction project called the Center for Resource Management ( https://www.resourcebasedeconomy.org/center-for-resource-management/ ). It aims to demonstrate how society could be organized in this way: all members of the community in the Center for Resource Management will have free access to housing, food, water, clothing, transportation, education, and more. The point is to show what the outcome can be if everything is designed to maximize the standard of living and enhance the environment.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The Center for Resource Management will be a pilot project, housing a few hundred people. When built, the people living there will be designing the infrastructure and systems for a full experimental city. This city would likely house a few thousand people. The population in this first city will be designing the next city, which will be even larger. Through such progressively larger experiments, the city design and the new social model the cities will operate under can be gradually improved and any problem areas addressed.

Education will be a major part of this. The educational systems will be an essential part of the city and social system design. An important initiative will be to provide education to the general public, especially by inviting people to visit and live in these new cities. We think that once the new social model is validated and scaled up, millions and eventually billions of people from around the world will choose to live in these new cities and new social system.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

A major difference setting this project apart from other initiatives that tackle humanity’s grand challenges is the systems approach to imagining how society could operate. The focus is on re-thinking all areas of society and building a new social system from scratch. Unleashing science and technology to maximize quality of life, rather than profits, is one of our goals.

Instead of money, our proposed social model is concerned with resources. It recognizes that humanity has the resources and technical know-how to build the best hospitals, schools, transportation systems, and houses all over the world. But there is not enough money to do all of this. So rather than the traditional approach of seeking to change laws and allocate budget to some initiative, our proposed approach looks at how to design the best solutions based on the available resources and the current state of technology. These solutions are then made available to all people, at no cost.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Our work focuses on producing media to inform the public about our proposed social direction, and on organizing volunteer teams and resources towards realizing this direction.

Our website is: https://www.resourcebasedeconomy.org

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We would like to collaborate with universities, and eventually cities, countries and international organizations such as the United Nations. We would like to initiate global planning for humanity - something which is severely lacking currently.

Geographic Focus

Worldwide.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The amount of time it will take to build the Center for Resource Management will primarily depend on the support we get. We have put together a vision, a plan of action and a competent team. Receiving sufficient support will allow the Center for Resource Management to be implemented within 36 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

26 comments

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Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer
Team

Dear Borislav,

We like your idea in general, and as others have pointed out, naturally the location would be placed in some country (or in countries) where certain legislation is in force.

We consider this to be a category of problems called border / interface problems.

To get to a point where the entire world is working in this way, we would need that the system can start, and then scale up as time goes by, and as people join the club, so to say.

So, it would be necessary to create this societal experiment in a way which can interface with existing countries.

What is the critical mass to achieve, in terms of number of people, for this to be realistic as a self-propelling society? I mean - if we gather 10,000 people, and get hold of 10 square kilometer of land, is that enough? This would mean 10 persons per hectare, resembling again, 4 persons per acre, or 1/4 acre per person. Resembling scarcely populated area.

Let us for the sake of this conversation say, that we are 10,000 people who kindly request to take over 10 square kilometer of land (1,000 hectares) in a semi-arid or arid area - and let us say that we are granted such 10 square kilometer on a government lease of 99 years for the experiment (this is a normal time for a government lease), then what would in your view be the next step?

If we were to take over farmland, or land near any city anywhere on Earth, we would not be able to get anywhere near it in a foreseeable future, without a huge investment, and then it starts becoming an elite project for the 1% or less with sufficient money... (And then the general, social availability is certainly outside of OpenIDEO's perspective).

So, given a desert or arid land, we would now need to get something to to grow there, and we would need to find ways to build up the entire thing.

Or, how would we get started? What are your ideas in your team???

We find your project idea fascinating, and would not mind spending a little time on elaborating on how this can be actioned. But without action we will not participate. Merely theoretical, political or similar projects are not our cup of tea :-) :-) :-)

So, what is your practical plan in terms of how we get started?
What is your minimum number of people to join for this to take off?
Where would we acquire land (my above example was based on the Israel model, where they have managed to create growth of oranges in the desert! - Again - we are not for or against Israel as a nation - we are just fascinated by their ability to reverse deserts and make these desert lands become fruitful lands).
What is the required acreage of land necessary for the population for it to survive?
Another problem: What have you thought in your team about our human ways of becoming too many on Earth. Truly - yes - Earth can, technically, feed us - but - with our current ways of polluting, Earth and its life and species will not survive 50 billion humans. We would kill ourselves and all life by our destructive ways of being.

We are looking forward to taking this conversation further.
Sincerely
David / Thomas
Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator
by Rational Intuitive IVS

Photo of Borislav Zlatanov
Team

Hi David and Thomas,

Yeah, I am also not interested in theoretical projects at all. I want to use the scientific method, engineering and problem solving to make definite progress on the big challenges facing humanity today.

Trying to scale it down as much as possible makes it more doable and achievable. So we started with the Center for Resource Management ( https://www.resourcebasedeconomy.org/center-for-resource-management/ ). With a population of a few hundred people, and visitors coming in to see the Museum of the Future and the whole place, the Center for Resource Management will hopefully achieve a fairly good level of self-sufficiency. At least in terms of food being grown there, energy being produced there, and resources being intelligently reused and shared among the population. The more we can do, the better.

Because visitors will be an important aspect of making the Center for Resource Management viable financially, it would make sense to build it near one of the major tourist cities in the world. Other important factors for determining the location include potential for renewable energy, support from the local population for this project, stability of the economy and government, and more. We are currently gathering data about all of these variables, and the decision of where to build the Center for Resource Management will be arrived at based on this data.

If and when we have a well-functioning social model (we will know that by the data gathered - refer to our set of metrics) in the Center for Resource Management, we will be ready to scale up. All social operations (education, food production, cooking, energy production, resource management, safety, transportation, team collaboration, etc., etc.) will be designed so as to be scalable and incorporate continuous improvement. So the people in the Center for Resource Management will be occupied with addressing existing problems there, but also with designing the next-generation systems and infrastructure for a first experimental city. This city could be a few thousand people in size.

In the first city there will again be the usual design processes - adjust the design, see what doesn't work, incorporate lessons learned. All this design work will be based on data rather than on someone's opinion of what a good society has to look like. So that is how we can arrive at the design, in this case for the second city, which can be even larger in size.

We can take such progressively larger steps, and each step will take however long it takes. But with time, we will be able to scale up the model to cities of big sizes - accommodating hundreds of thousands of people. The building of new cities will become more and more automated with time. So eventually, millions and then billions of people will be able to live in this new system, if they choose to do so.

I see education as the biggest and most challenging part of all of this. And so we can use the best available approaches in education and measure how well they work, and scale up the ones that give the best outcome. Technology is always our friend when we are thinking of scaling up.

There is a lot more to this, of course. And some of it is described on the page I linked to. But I'm interested to hear what you think so far.

Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer
Team

(David Svarrer writing these lines..)

Hi Borislav,

My thoughts are, that you are trapped in an idea about creating something (very) big before you have created it, small.

I am thinking that the ideology behind is beautiful, but, that you need to create the idea such that it can spread like seeds, find soil anywhere, sprout, and start with 1, 2 or more persons anywhere in the world, rather than focusing on a mega big project to begin with.

My experience with almost any center is that they stop working as they start politicking.

My experience with the right ideas, at home level, is that these works. My experience is that great ideas do not need a center, but indeed benefits from cooperatives or similar deomcratically, organisational forms.

My experience with cooperatives is that when these grow, organically, they will, themselves, find out how to scale up, both as organisation and as in physical infrastructure.

So, I think that your whole idea, the thoughts behind, is very well thought out, and that you must out your finger in the ground, gather momentum for your concept, listen carefully to your partners, and then form the organisation, the organs, set the goals.

I believe that you can pull this off, but I also believe that you have to start at ground level and build it up.

Check for instance Berggruen Institute and many with them. In my humble view, they have the right ideas too, but got stuck in the good billionaires good money, and have not moved anything of real global value as they have mainly been fostering ideas without implementation.

Truth be told, Berggruen Institute is indeed fostering really goos quality ideas. But, but, but... What is the value of any idea if it is not being implemented? What is the value of the finest thoughtwork, if no action is taken?

As an example: I cannot put thoughts on the table for my family to eat. Bread is needed. And until the point where I can materialize things by visualizing them, I tend to stick to action as the prime driver of any idea.

Therefore, Borislav, my comment to you at this stage is, that if I were in your shoes, I would indeed start much lower, I would start with planning some activities, hands on, which would gather people together.

I would make use of online technologies, and consider creating the center, virtually, for everybody to join.

Sincerely
David Svarrer
RATIONAL INTUITIVE IVS

Photo of Borislav Zlatanov
Team

Hi David,

Always happy to hear other points of view and get constructive feedback. Thanks.

We have indeed started with using online technologies to create virtual collaboration between many people from all over the world. We have organized ourselves into a number of global volunteer teams (and constantly expanding), working to make this social direction a reality. The teams can be seen on this page: https://www.thevenusproject.com/become-a-volunteer/

One thing that I see as highly undesirable is to start a physical project somewhere, but with primitive tools and little or no funding. The point is not to do manual labor all day long just to survive. The point is to show a new social model, and to make it scalable so that humanity's grand challenges can be addressed. And to show how all people can have prosperity and security, if the tools of science and technology are used more intelligently and with human and environmental concern.

So my thinking is: What is the minimum viable physical project, given these goals? What is the smallest scale one can start with? Given that there already are multiple global volunteer teams working on this, how do we translate these ideas into a physical implementation? And the Center for Resource Management seems to be a pretty good answer.

Perhaps it can be further scaled down - maybe build only a quarter of the Center for Resource Management initially, and build the rest in stages. These possibilities have to be researched, to check their viability. But anyways, this is how I think about implementing such big ideas and how they can be broken down to a minimum viable scale.

Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer
Team

Dear Borislav Zlatanov - I do not believe in making a humongous center to begin with. I believe strongly in finding a model which works for 1 person, and which has 2 completely phenomenal capabilities:

1) It scales
2) It collaborates

These two properties will build your center, like a nano-particle approach, starting at grass root level, and via its demonstration that it can work both for 1, 10, 1000 and 10,000 people, it will grow to global size by itself, not by being forced, funded, etc.

Most - if not all (but that I cannot tell) huge - enormous - functional - organisations have grown from small to big, via organic growth.

I strongly, strongly recommend you to study this. I would personally invest in your IDEA, your entire idea of resource based future etc., but I would not invest even one cent in building an enormous "Resource Center" of any kind.

I would invest in YOU, Borislav, and I would encourage others in doing the same - because you have a good idea. But I would not invest in your attempted implementation of a huge center, until you have proven in much much smaller scale that it works bottom-up.

What are your thoughts on that note?

Sincerely
David Svarrer

Photo of Borislav Zlatanov
Team

Hi David,

I appreciate your encouragement and support.

Hearing that you strongly believe in finding a model which works for 1 person, and which can scale and allow for collaboration, and that by demonstrating that it can work for 1, 10, 1000, 10000 people and allowing it to grow organically, it will grow to a global size by itself. Is that close to what you meant?

What comes up for me is that I am thinking - if it starts with 1 or a few people, what would they be doing? Wouldn't they have to be preoccupied with just making a living? Would they be able to create a higher standard of living than they would otherwise have in the current socio-economic model? And would they be able to design the new model's supporting infrastructure so that it scales?

I am also thinking how our organization has an existing Center in Florida ( https://www.thevenusproject.com/the-venus-project/research-center/ ), comprised of 10 buildings, which the organization's original founders built themselves and maintained and supported through outside jobs, and all this took decades. All that time they invested all their resources (time and money) into demonstrating and popularizing this new social direction. And it's incredibly hard, with very little financing and resources, to create and demonstrate any workable solutions, especially if you are looking to innovate and develop new technologies.

Curious to hear your reflections back.

Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer
Team

Dear Borislav Zlatanov - yes. The point is to utilize the strength of everything which is already working well. So, if the human psyche is truly interested in self-sustainability, and as little dependency of others as simply possible, ability to live a good life without interference (and without disturbing others), and many other things, ie. if we believe that the Maslow pyramid had some kind of truth in its observations - then I believe that if you design your model for scalability such that people who join in to this, can go home and get started from their own table top within their own family - and then link up with others via the center - then yes, this would scale by itself.

It is necessary to create incentives - very few will do anything based on "necessity", or based on "should be doing it". But very many would indeed do a lot of great stuff, if there are incentives based on direct benefits from doing so.

We have in our own community work with Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator worked with exactly the psycho-social drivers, family cultures, small community cultures. We have been out in remote outskirts of Kenya, for instance in Siaya (some 300 kilometers from Nairobi), in Kakamega (some 100 kilometers from Nairobi) - and in Denmark we have our setup in Skælskør, some 80 kilometers from Copenhagen City.

Our point is the very same: NO business works business to business. Every business relates to other businesses via its human resources. So everything is human-to-human, no matter how much we have studied Peter Senge and "Learning organisations" ...

So, when I hear about your greatly inspired idea, and then you want it implemented via a center (top-down...), then I hear an idea dying.

Therefore, I believe that your center could indeed work, PROVIDED THAT - it is being created by the groups who set out together to do that center. If the center comes like a top-down thing - it will die. If the center comes like a Bottom-Up thing, then it will likely grow strong and healthy.

If you create a kind of online structure where people can join in, then you could use that one to create the organisation. I agree that you should not wait 20 years like the "Venus guys". However, for the purpose of building something sustainable, study how some of the greatest foundations have been created - study the Memoranda of Association from these. You will see that these foundations survives their creators by generations.

Check out what is in common for these.

Sincerely
David Svarrer / Thomas Høyer

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