A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
I think I first heard “sustainable abundance” about 40 years ago from my ecology lecturer Alan Edmonds, but the context was rather different from the context I now have in my head.
I agree with the Zeitgeist movement that we have the technical capacity to deliver abundance of all of the necessities of life to every person on the planet, we are just prevented from doing so due to the dominant incentive structure of our time – money – or more accurately “market valuation”.
Where I differ from the Zeitgeist movement is two major areas:
1 First is the major cause of our current situation. To me it is clear that it is the incentive structure provided by markets that is the root cause. Markets are great tools at allocating scarce resources, but must, necessarily value abundance of anything at zero. This makes sense in the realm of dealing with scarcity, but what most miss is that it actually provides a strong systemic incentive to destroy any abundance, and turn it into a marketable scarcity. This is directly in opposition of the needs of individuals for an abundance of a few basic necessities of life.
2 The other major area of divergence is in how we structure abundance. What the Zeitgeist movement currently proposes seems to me to be unstable (in a games theory sense) long term, but may be useful as a transitionary form. Ultimately, we need to automate all of the means of production and maintenance, if we are to deliver real freedom to all, and not perpetuate slavery at some level. It is only with such personalisation of production that all individuals achieve equal freedom in their choice of action and contract.
To me, the innovation deliverable from such a system vastly exceeds what is currently delivered by our market based systems.