The Venus Project is a vague "solution" to current problems of civilization. They claim that through a "Resource Based Economy", coupled with advanced science and engineering, everyone can reach a very high standard of living.

This "Resource Based Economy" claims that "all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants".

The way I interpret this is as follows: "Abolish private property, and declare legal that anyone can use any one else's resources". If you have a better interpretation, please leave a comment or e-mail me, and I will update this post with further thought.

In other words, I interpret it as communism, which is "structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state".

The problem

The problem with communism, or letting everyone use everyone else's stuff, is that the incentive to create stuff is practically eliminated.

Suppose you're a farmer, and you work hard and have a plentiful harvest. Then, your harvest is confiscated and shared equally among everyone (even people who have not lifted a finger, though are perfectly capable). Would you be just as eager to work hard next year?

Contrast to your neighbor, who is incredibly lazy, got up at noon, and did not work at all, yet was rewarded for this with the fruits of your labor.

Well, in the end, nobody wants to work anymore, or at least to give away their production. This happened in Soviet Ukraine, leading to the Great Famine (called "Holodomor").

The solution

Letting people keep what they have created is essential to keep them motivated to keep creating stuff. This is called capitalism - (the "capital" is allowed to accumulate, and people are allowed to profit from their work).

If everyone produces, and then they are allowed to trade between themselves, even the poorest people in this model will quickly become richer than the richest in communism.

The problem with the solution

Under capitalism, people that are unable to produce and have no resources accumulated will go very poor (and become dependent on charity, which might be inadequate). While this provides extraordinary motivation for being thoughtful and productive, it can be cruel to people unable to do so (for example, disabled people).

For this reason, most countries today are mixed economies, allowing people to keep a portion of their capital, but redistributing the other portion (through taxation).

What's bad about that is that the redistributors keep a big portion for themselves; and they usually choose the beneficiaries in a manner advantageous to them (i.e. creating or enlarging a dependent class which votes them loyally).


Now you know why I disagree with the Venus project - it would be no different than Soviet Russia, or today's North Korea. What would prevent people from slacking off? Authoritarianism? That is not a good solution and can't motivate them in the right way.