Karl Marx contributed much to understanding the limitations of free markets. However, The Communist Manifesto called for forcible overthrow and revolution by the working class (proletariat). In no way does The Venus Project advocate this approach to social change. In contrast, The Venus Project approaches social change as a process of guided evolution and a problem of engineering to produce a working alternative.
Rather than workers revolt, The Venus Project calls for the coordination of interdisciplinary teams to hypothesize and engineer a design solution for a human social system that renders the present one obsolete. Unlike past visions for communism, and especially unlike past attempts of putting it into practice in the U.S.S.R. and P.R. China, The Venus Project calls for an experimental analysis of the social system implementation. This is unlike any communist revolution, utopian commune, or coup d’état that has always suffered from the fundamental problem of lacking a methodology for evaluating and improving the system’s function via data-driven decisions. The Venus Project calls for iterative prototyping of cities that we take as the unit of analysis in validating or falsifying hypotheses. The full scale blanket application of social policies to a vast geographic area, be it through revolution or legislation, without a means of evaluating their effectiveness, follows from an approach heavy in politics but lacking in scientific method.
Today the complexity of our global civilization and the resulting problems cannot be managed by the political organization of a working class. Likewise, the compromises offered by variations of socialism represent patchwork solutions involving the tweaking of gears in a broken machine that requires an entire replacement. The problems today are technical and require the mobilization of scientists and engineers to provide technical solutions within a systems approach to manage the Earth’s resources with reference to its carrying capacity. This requires a global survey of resources, personnel, and needs.
Karl Marx diagnosed many of the underlying problems of the free market and predicted the collapse of capitalism by its own mechanisms in his articulation of the “internal contradictions of capitalism.” And he did envision a world free from oppressive structures. But Marx omitted innumerous logistical problems we would face as a planetary system and the systems approach required to manage the Earth and its resources for all inhabitants, both human and otherwise; that is, the need for a strategic management methodology for Earth that we call a Global Resource Based Economy.
As exclaimed in The Communist Manifesto, the “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” Knowing what we know now, we might rewrite this statement to state the underlying problem: the history of civilization has been the history of resource mismanagement under conditions of scarcity. All class struggle has been a symptom of this underlying condition and it is this root cause that The Venus Project addresses. Although Karl Marx did envision a vague picture of a communist society wherein money, private property, and social hierarchy was abolished, he couldn’t begin to imagine how to implement that at a technical level.
In contrast to Communism, The Venus Project calls for the total redesign of cities (transportation, distribution, manufacturing, recycling, infrastructure) to produce abundance of goods and services. This is achieved through automation and optimized infrastructural efficiency. All basic social, personal, and ecological needs are accounted and provided for at the outset according to the latest scientific assessment, and managed as a system via cybernetic feedback loops. Humanity’s scientific knowledge and means of production have evolved well beyond what is needed to make this a reality. But it begins with a test and a prototype, not a wish and a revolution.