A few people have been asking about the difference between an Open Economy and a Resource-Based Economy, so I thought I’d make a post about it.
In a broad sense, the two concepts are the same – a more abundant, peaceful and sustainable world beyond money and borders. The difference is in the fundamental approach of arriving to this destination.
The Venus Project is the most prominent advocate of RBE, and that term is, to most people, synonymous with that organisation. They describe a resource-based economy as a system where:
…all goods and services are available to all people without the need for means of exchange such as money, credits, barter or any other means. For this to be achieved all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants. Equipped with the latest scientific and technological marvels mankind could reach extremely high productivity levels and create abundance of resources.
An Open Economy is the application of an open, distributed model to the traditionally closed-loop economic system. In other words, rather than every individual seeking only to benefit themselves, a common understanding exists that enables everyone to benefit everyone, including themselves.
The notable difference is that a resource-based economy seeks to arrive at its destination mainly through the application of science and technology, whereas an open economy is primarily concerned with the cooperation of people by creating a common understanding of the benefits to the individual in acting for the best interests of all. An understanding that, once established, makes all manner of technological marvels possible.
The fact that an abundant and peaceful society can come about through the application of technology is, in fact, a theoretical certainty once we reach a level where scarcity is entirely eliminated. However, that may be quite some years away yet, and almost certainly will not come without major social conflicts or war in the intervening years as old and new ideologies collide. Also, we may have to tackle some serious and even irreversible climate crises along the way.
So, while an RBE is a theoretical certainty if we just wait, it may come too late, or at great cost. An Open Economy, on the other hand, is something that begins today. It begins with simple acts of unconditional sharing, collaboration and spreading of knowledge. It begins with each of us re-prioritising our lives, bringing our community and nature closer to our central purpose. These acts, multiplied in their billions will create – and already are creating – the new patterns of thinking that will ultimately create a better world for all of us.
The peaceful, abundant world of the future will be made possible – not by technology – but by the combined acts of people working to create it.