Zeitgeist's "Resource Based Economy": the fundamental problem.

published Jan 24, 2011, last modified Jun 26, 2013

It's scarcity.

It bothers me that the resource-based economy concept they sell seems to be like a 21st. century version of Communism.

Specifically, I do not foresee any way in which the RBE can be kick-started other than by a massive and gruesome use of violence against innocent people like you and me. More importantly, no RBE advocate has ever managed to explain to me how the RBE will come about without the problems that Communism had or without violence. In fact, no RBE advocate has ever explained (that I know of) how the problem of scarcity is going to be dealt with -- physical matter is simply not infinite -- whereas we already have a perfectly workable solution to the problem of scarcity, which is Hoppe's property theory (in essence, perfect and peaceful private ownership). Remember that Communism "solved" the problem of scarcity by violently stealing property from everybody, which only caused death and more scarcity.

This question about scarcity is really not a theoretical question at all. Let's say you want an apple and your neighbor wants an apple too, and the magical machines proposed by RBE can actually manufacture the apple, given the correct inputs. Who gets the apple first? If there aren't enough inputs for the magical machines to make two apples, who will get the only apple that can be made? Substitute apple for medical care, transportation, luxuries, housing, and you will understand that the answer to that question is essential for people not to murder each other. Nothing in RBE tells us that. No RBE advocate has ever answered this question successfully.

If RBE, as an alternative economic system, can't even answer this basic question related to the problems of scarcity and economic calculation in a manner that will preserve the peace, then RBE is a non-answer.

It is for this reason that the RBE remains, to me, an utopia that would require a fundamental -- and likely violent -- re-engineering of human nature. Don't mistake me -- I am firm in the camp of empiricism and using science, but I just do not see how science alone can answer the problem of peaceful human preferences, at least not without using violence to enforce a centrally dictated preference bag. As a firm believer in the Non-Aggression principle (and, obviously, private property), I cannot support an idea like the RBE.

But, of course, I am certainly willing to be corrected.