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RBE10K Project Rationale

Notions that support and justify the project's strategy, to better understand its form, function, and goal.


[edit] Opting out

Opting out is presented in this project as the most effective form of achieving social and environmental sustainability. Opting out is decidedly non-confrontational, non-violent, and voluntary. Opting out can be either the result of personal choice (conscious living), a social stance (activism), or both. In the case of a community implementing the RBE10K design and strategy, which of the motivations is not imposed, and therefore the rationale for opting out is personal and may arise from a variety of factors, and pursue a variety of purposes.

Opting out is a form of abstinence from that which one personally regards as negative despite its commonality in a given culture or paradigm. It can be evidenced in other lifestyles and beliefs, such as vegetarianism and veganism, celibacy, abstinence from alcohol and psychoactive drugs, Amish Anabaptism, ascetism, etc. The concept of opting out can be considered different from that of choice (i.e. preferring one thing over another), such as migration from urban to rural setting or adoption of a different culture or beliefs, and can also be considered different than refusing to participate in what is not mainstream, such as refusing to consume human flesh or that of animals culturally associated as human companions, practicing sexual acts with people under certain age, or abstain from assisting with a suicide.

The RBE10K Project is based not only on opting out from the monetary market system, but also abstain from many cultural traits, beliefs, and traditions. Adoption of a RBE10K-based lifestyle requires voluntary and conscientious opting-out of any of the following:

  • Rights, especially the following:
    • Right to ownership or property (including what is commonly referred to intellectual property, and anything other than our own bodies or personal effects)
    • Right to seek or take personal advantage (including being deceitful or manipulative)
    • Right to claim superiority to other lifeforms (including people)
    • Right to make demands from others (including compensation for damages, whereas physical or emotional)
    • Right to privileges based on greater personal effort or work (privileges can be granted, not as rights, but for practicality in the fulfilment of a responsibility such as guardianship)
  • Disruption or destruction of ecosystems for comfort or convenience, especially when there are non-disruptive alternatives
  • Imposing personal points of view (usually perceived as the truth) on others (including children under care, regardless of being the parent)
  • Giving orders, or choosing or deciding for others (except when such privilege had been voluntarily granted, or socially accepted, such as caring for toddlers)

Opting out from the monetary system doesn't mean severing relations with the outside world, but rather willingly abstaining (as much as practicable) from engaging in specific practices that are commonplace, such as labour and commerce. It does not exclude travelling outside the community, maintaining communication, or accessing goods and services provided free of charge. RBE10K communities would actively participate alongside with the monetary market world in several areas, such as academia, producing and sharing art, research and development in sciences and technology, and use and production of goods and services provided free of charge.

[edit] RBEM

The project is intended, specifically, to test and implement the Resource-Based Economic Model (RBEM) socioeconomic system. Unlike most everything else in the project, implementing RBEM is a premise, and not a function of any other more basic purpose. The project's objectives are aligned with those generally shared by most RBEM supporters, namely, transcends the problems of politics, poverty, and war[1]. As a result of its quality of being a premise of the project, the choice doesn't require a reason, rationale, or justification, nor it is up for debate or modification. However, it is important noting two considerations:

  • The RBEM socioeconomic system is not clearly defined, so the RBE10K is required to create a definition of its own, which might be dissimilar to interpretations or definitions made by other RBEM supporting or implementation projects
  • The project does not intend on implementing a perfect or ideal RBEM socioeconomic system, but a reasonable implementation of it, as close as practicable to the project's own definition

In the short life of the project so far there has been a number of concerns about the project's choice of implementing an RBEM socioeconomic system, some of which are the following:

  • An RBEM system lacks a degree of spirituality and connection with Nature needed to function (often by those with an inclination on permaculture-based society)
  • An RBEM system is unnecessarily large, complex, and difficult to implement (often by those inclined on implementing an eco-village)
  • Change can only be the result of political action and mobilisation, relying on current institutions (often by those with experience in political activism)
  • RBEM is communism and it has been tried and tested and it is well known it failed (often by anticommunists)
  • RBEM is a utopia, nobody would work or do anything and would be doom to failure (often by people who identify themselves as "sceptics")
  • RBEM is either a scam to seal people's money, or a cult that brainwashes people (often by conspiracy theorists)
  • People are selfish and violent, and society requires law to bring order, and a State to enforce it (a very common concern)
  • People have a right to property, trade, develop wealth, and carry weapons to defend it (often by republicans, neoliberals, and right-wing libertarians)

In terms of the specific RBEM implementation strategy by the project, many have expressed objection or concerns, some of which have been the following:

  • An RBEM system is not a true RBEM system unless is global, and wouldn't work otherwise (often by supporters of The Venus Project or The Zeitgeist Movement)
  • An RBEM must not be implemented using of money, but with resources only (a common concern by residents of nations other than wealthy European ones)
  • An RBEM system requires at least matching our current level of lifestyle and comfort, requiring hi-tech (a very concern by residents of wealthy nations)

[edit] Equality

It has been shown in many studies[2]that inequality leads to many kinds of social and individual problems, and that more equal societies display greater individual and social health. It can be said that the core concern of RBE in RBE10K is Health: environmental, social, interpersonal, emotional, psychological, and physical. Health, meant as in homeostasis, enables for maximum efficiency of a system, and the capacity to endure, therefore it is the premise of sustainability. Equality is a general agreed principle of most understandings about RBEM, and a key principle in RBE10K. Equality serves as the rationale for many other principles within this project, and it is often considered in this context simply as an axiom.

Equality does not mean similarity, which is perhaps a key concern and has shown to show emotional rejection to the notion due to the confusion. Equality does not dictate how people must be, i.e. it does not define or expect people being conforming or normal, for example following fashion, doing and behaving similarly to what others do and behave, be traditional and moral. Equality refers to the value or quality of a person, and stating that no single person has greater quality or value than anyone else. Whilst a person might display above average characteristics such as greater knowledge in a given subject, greater skill at a given art, greater physical prowess, equality states that those above average characteristics do not make a person more valuable, important, or privileged (in a general sense). Equality even states that the opposite is true: a person with difficulties in basic functioning areas such as locomotion, general physical, emotional or psychological health, communication, etc, requires greater privileges in an effort to provide for equal access. In RBEM, specifically, equality also means equal access to available resources. The notions of resource and equal access can be confusing, and are dependent upon the notion of abundance. RBE10K specifically refers to the meaning of these terms in the section Abundance.

Equality, specifically, is confined to people, plural of person, also referred to as individual. In RBE10K, the definition of a Person is that of a biological entity (such as an animal of the Homo Sapiens Sapiens species) who has the ability to communicate, convincingly, and through language, an awareness of their own subjectivity. A person is deemed a person until there is good reason to assume that their ability to communicate self-awareness is lost and unrecoverable, such as in brain death. Equality requires freedom and self-determination, with some special constraints on people who have not yet developed, or have lost, a capacity for independence.

An acceptance of the premise of Equality is paramount for participation in a RBE10K community, and perhaps the most challenging of all for those not accustomed to it. Accepting the premise of equality means agreeing not to consider oneself or anyone else of greater value or importance than any other person, including characteristics such as preferences, values, objectives, standards, skills, or knowledge. Equality, in this sense, refers exclusively to value and importance, and as such it does not apply to priority, access to a person's time or attention, belonging into a group, or access to resources, locations or activities with access requirements; some examples for this would be access to dangerous chemicals, gendered locations such as showers, a seminar or meeting that requires a given minimum skill or understanding, or participation in an activity without following a required behaviour or etiquette. Equality, also, does not imply any kind of rights or obligations.

[edit] Abundance

Abundance is a key aspect of RBEM. However, there are several conflicting notions of abundance. In RBE10K, however, abundance is intended to come more as a result of enabling it than causing it. In other words, RBE10K communities will prioritise and have a preference for that which is or can be made from locally abundant resources, and avoiding that which is or requires locally scarce resources. The rationale for this is enabling for self-sufficiency and independence in each community. Abundance in this sense is a key factor for implementing sustainability. Abundance is also a key element for maintaining equality and peace in society.

RBE10K will implement several strategies for promoting abundance, some of which can be the following:

  • Sharing that which is widely needed or convenient but not in abundance
  • Deeming the desire for scarce resources as an undesirable and even antisocial trait
  • Engaging in creativity to maximise uses for abundant resources
  • Directing research and development efforts towards tapping into and making the most out of abundant resources
  • Promoting a celebratory attitude towards the availability of what is abundant, and demoting complaining attitudes about lack or scarcity
  • Adapting the community's lifestyle to match that which is in abundance

Residents of a community implementing the RBE10K system share equally all available resources. Whilst there will be free and unrestricted access to abundant resources, anything that is needed or convenient and cannot be provided for abundantly will be shared. Sharing of scarce resources will depend upon need, purpose, priorities, and short and long-term objectives of the community. For example, a purpose that benefit many would take priority from one that would benefit few (since benefit can be subjective, there will be several modes for determining benefit). Other example can be a purpose for life-saving being prioritised over widespread convenience. Scarce resources will be registered and managed through the Intelligent Management of Available Resources system (IMAR) in order to maximise their benefit and effectiveness. The IMAR system will enable anyone listing current and possible uses for each resource available, and the rationale used in prioritising and defining how those resources are most effectively utilised. An RBE10K community intends on avoiding social conflicts resulting from differences of opinion about what is the best use for a given scarce resource, by promoting trust in, and involvement in the development of, the IMAR system.

[edit] Simple living

The notion of Simple living is well explained in the Wikipedia (emphasis added to some key notions):

Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one's lifestyle. These may include reducing one's possessions or increasing self-sufficiency, for example. Simple living may be characterised by individuals being satisfied with what they need rather than want. [...] Simple living is distinct from those living in forced poverty, as it is a voluntary lifestyle choice. Adherents may choose simple living for a variety of personal reasons, such as spirituality, health, increase in quality time for family and friends, work–life balance, personal taste, frugality, or reducing personal ecological footprint and stress. [...] Some cite socio-political goals aligned with the anti-consumerist and anti-war movements, including conservation, degrowth, social justice, ethnic diversity, tax resistance and sustainable development.

Simple living, in a context of RBE10K community, refers to prioritising:

  • addressing needs over wants and desires
  • sustainability over comfort or convenience
  • reliance on abundant resources over dependency on scarce resources
  • deriving happiness from interrelationships over materialism
  • simplicity over control

Such priorities are foundational principles of RBE10K, defining strategies in the Intelligent Management of Available Resources system (IMAR), and expected for residents to abide. Simple living is one of the most significant differences between RBE10K's style of RBEM and most others, especially the original concept by Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project. Whilst simple living does not mean necessarily lo-tech, it does mean a preference for lo-tech whenever it suffices, e.g. taking notes with pen and paper instead of a notebook can sometimes be sufficient and even more convenient even if more inefficient in terms of resources.

Simple living can be exemplified in the following practices:

  • Sharing sleeping accommodation instead of individual homes
  • Eating straight at greenhouses or orchards instead of picking, storing, transporting, preparing, cooking, and serving food
  • Keeping all buildings within short distance from one another and walking instead of requiring transportation
  • Relying on sunlight instead of artificial lighting
  • Keep rules to a minimum and rely on common sense upon extraordinary circumstances instead of intricate, elaborate, and meticulous rules and procedures

RBE10K's simple living is meant to coexist in harmony with the methods of science. In this context, simplicity is not used "in a negative connotation to denote a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or complexity of a thing, relative to what is supposed to be required"[3], but as in an effort to reduce the "burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it"[3]. A whole lot of science and technology may be involved in achieving simplicity[4], which enables reliability, low cost, high performance, and stackable modularity[4]. Simple living, in this sense, is the art of maximising performance and reliability at low cost, with the technical and scientific means available.

[edit] 10,000 people per community

The number of people aimed for RBE10K communities is a key characteristic of RBE10K's strategy for implementing RBEM and making it available to as many people as would be willing to take on the lifestyle. The number 10,000 makes part of the project's name (10K), along with the proposal for in initial individual contribution of US$10,000. The choice of population number has the following rationale:

  • Large enough to:
    • allow for sufficient skill sets and knowledge to a degree suitable for achieving community's self-sufficiency
    • maximise diversity of characters and personalities to develop and sustain a culture rich and varied
    • maximise a community set-up budget and the capability for purchasing in bulk and acquiring expensive equipment
    • be taken seriously as a social experiment
    • discourage external hostility or intrusion
  • Small enough to:
    • allow for the possibility of knowing everyone in the community to prevent people from feeling minuscule, unimportant, or alienated
    • prevent a need for bureaucracy
    • enable a holistic connection and familiar feeling between residents
    • enable residents with a capacity for recognising non-residents in order to minimise chances of being intruded or robbed
    • avoid drawing the attention of governments which could display hostility towards RBEM lifestyle

The number 10,000 fits within rationales for large enough and small enough. Although this number is only a proposal, having it defined to a specific number allows for the convenience of defining a specific budget to work with, clear goals, specific urban designs, and other design and planning requirements. Any work done in terms of design and planning for a community of 10,000 residents can then be adjusted by upscaling or downscaling for different populations and scenarios.

[edit] $100 million US dollars

The RBE10K Project planning for the acquisition of everything needed to get the community started, using a monetary budget. For simplicity and due to being the most widely exchanged currency and most people around the world knows what's their own currency's exchange rate to the US dollar, the RBE10K Project defines its budget in this currency, however any other currency would be equally useful. The proposed budget has to do simply with an amount that provides some realistic degree of purchase power for setting-up a community, rounded for simplicity, and calculated as the equivalent of a cheap new small car. The result of this logic is a budget based on US$10,000 per person, totalling in US$100 million for a whole community of 10,000 people. This proposal is the result of an expectation that most people who are not struggling severely financially, even if they have no assets, can manage to save US$10,000 within a year, both by making a few sacrifices, and by selling stuff they would no longer need in a RBE10K system community. This premise does not include people who have no assets and live in countries with, as compared with Europe and the USA, a very much income, and for whom saving US$10,000 would be impossible. Still, many people even in these countries, already have valuables and assets much in excess of that amount.

The RBE10K Project intends to end poverty in the world within 40 years, however, the project relies on developing means over time to provide a way out to those people with near to no savings or income. This project intends to being realistic and pragmatic, and even though it seems unfair that people with greater means can access this lifestyle before people who lacks such means, there is, unfortunately and to the knowledge of those who are working on making this the most effective strategy, no other way. Some of the people involved with this project are working on ways to assist those who have a strong interest in participating in this project but have no assets nor chances to create them, with a possibility to develop those assets in RBE-like enterprises, still participating in the monetary market and generating income, but non-consumerist.

The budget is intended to be utilised for setting-up the community, and pay in advance for ongoing services (such as Internet, land taxes, and health insurance) for which the communities will require obtaining some income later on, intended to come mostly as a result of their participation in the creation of new communities, or through donations, and leaving trading, employment, or other profitable means as a last resort. The whole budget is intended to be completely spent during acquisition of materials and services, and these acquisitions to be fully planned, costed, and detailed prior to requesting any moneys from anyone, i.e. no person is intended to contribute any money without first being fully aware of how exactly is going to be spent. In contributing with their share, each participant will obtain either a cooperative membership if the community sets-up as a cooperative, or one share if the community sets-up as a non-profit company. Both the cooperative or the non-profit company share options will require the participant to reside mostly within the community, and can be sold back to the community, allowing the community to sell it again to anyone interested, for the same original amount. No profit will be derived from memberships or shares, no person can hold more than one share or membership, and in the case a community decides (or is required to) terminate, everything owned by the cooperative or the company will be sold and proceeds will be equally distributed to all share-holders or members, for a maximum of the original amount, with any surpluses donated to charity.

One of the main purposes of the RBE10K Project is to determine what to purchase and where. For this it is paramount defining goals, needs, and a functional design for a community. The RBE10K Project assumes that with a robust design and plan (including a detailed purchase list) finding the people interested in participating in the trial will be a non-issue. The US$100 million dollar budget can allow for the purchase of equipment and machinery with a low cost-to-productivity ratio, from more efficient and durable clean energy generation equipment such as stirling solar dishes instead of solar panels, and for obtaining lower prices purchasing in bulk, such as purchasing food or cement by the tonne and deposited in silos instead of purchasing these products packaged. This budget would enable purchasing equipment to produce the community's own furniture and fittings (e.g. toilets, office furniture, concrete slabs), as opposed to purchasing these products already manufactured, thus enabling the community to produce as many as required for their own initial and ongoing needs, and most especially, for the needs of new communities, who would thus not be required to purchase either these goods manufactured nor the equipment, provided it can be shared. It could even enable the community to have its own transport ship, providing the communities with some extended freedom to travel.

[edit] Not an eco-village

[edit] Lo-tech

[edit] References

  1. Taken from Jacque Fresco's book on RBE's title The Best That Money Can't Buy: Beyond Politics, Poverty, & War
  2. Script error
  3. 3.0 3.1 Script error
  4. 4.0 4.1 Script error
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