Fresco, The Engineer, Philosopher, Who Did Not Go To School

By Amine SAHRANE – Writer for L’Economiste in Morocco (article published Nov 20, 2017 and translated from French to English).
Original article:

To change behavior, change the environment

Technology to improve social life and create abundance

Scarcity of resources at the root of violence and poverty

“The Great Depression helped awaken my social conscience. During that time, I found that the land was the same, the resources were intact, but people had no money to buy the products. At that moment, I felt that our rules were obsolete and inefficient.” Jacque Fresco was born in March 1916 in Brooklyn and died in 2017 at the age of 101.

Jacque Fresco

“If you take away the profit in war, it will no longer exist. Why do you think we go to other countries, for democracy? We go there for resources or for other needs,” Jacque Fresco

He experienced the crisis of 1929, the Second World War, the rise and fall of communism … all of modern history. He is an engineer, economist and philosopher who didn’t go to school. He was not interested in the school system which he left at an early age. This American preferred going diligently to the library. He was also doing experimental work at home.

At the age of 13, the prodigy designed a rubber fan after a family member was injured by a metal fan. "My design did not interest the companies but soon after, the product was marketed. This is how I was introduced to the free market,” he says in an interview.

Fresco worked as an engineer for several companies as well as for the American army, for which he conceived airplanes. Many of his inventions are widely marketed. For example, he designed systems to reduce noise and pollution of planes, experimental equipment for behavioral science, prefabricated industrial buildings … In 1956, he predicted that there would be unmanned cars with sensors to reduce the risk of collision, the Google car.

His greatest achievement however is the Resource Based Economy. This system is the result of 75 years of research and reflection. The Resource Based Economy is “a socio-economic system that uses today’s science and technology to produce abundance for all, without money, barter, debt, credit or servitude.” We are not talking about an economy that just supports basic needs but a highly advanced, prosperous society that ensures that every individual has a very high standard of living.

The reasoning of Fresco stems from the belief that violence, poverty, jealousy, greed, etc. are behaviours generated by scarcity. "Imagine that it starts to rain gold. People would stampede out to get it on the first day, they would not pay much attention to it the next day and by the third day, they would begin to sweep the gold out the door, even throwing away the ring on their finger,” he explains. The philosopher therefore rejects the notion of "human nature." We are not born with greed, hatred, bigotry … our behaviors only reflect our environment. Changing the behavior requires changing the environment.

Fresco makes a second observation: for the first time in history, we have the possibility of ending scarcity provided we use the technology. He realizes that science is developing at a very high speed, but that social systems are stagnating. The scientist therefore develops a mode of organization that is based on the resources available and not on money.

“You Cannot Eat Money”

The idea may seem far-fetched at first glance, but it starts from a very simple observation: "We have enough resources to create abundance, provided we adopt smart management. However, we do not even have enough money to provide housing for everyone,” analyzes Jacque Fresco. For this economist, the rationing of resources through monetary control is not only obsolete, but counterproductive to the very survival of the species. He gives the example of a well-known practice in capitalism: “planned obsolescence.” In order for the system to continue to function, the population must continue to consume. “The innovators go to the best schools and are asked afterwards to design goods that stop working by a scheduled date.” This practice results in a huge waste of resources and energy. “We are plundering the planet for profit. Individuals do not want employment; they want access to what the salary offers. The currency is nothing real. It is not based on gold, money or any other resource. You cannot eat money or build a house with it. It is not even related to our real capacity to produce goods and services. The monetary system was invented centuries ago, yet we continue to use it without questioning it.”

Related Posts


  1. Hello, my name is Manoha, i’m an student from Spain, i’m in the last year of technical architecture, now i’m searching a job, i would like to collaborate in any way on this proyect.
    My economic sitaution is unstable, my level of english is medium-low but with interest and you want, the language doesn’t have to be a problem.
    I would like to speak directly with Jacque Fresco by e-mail, meet him and hear his opinion and advice on this matter.

    Well, i hope everything goes well.
    A cordial greeting, sincerely Manoha.

    • He died this 2017 unfortunately. Why do you want to collaborate on this project, if you don’t mind me asking? And what do you think you would be able to bring to this project?

  2. Reading Mr Frescos thoughts and social analysis since a long time but unfortunately no opportunity to attend an event. I labeled his human contribution as ‘long journey’ in my bookmark of key sites on
    It is/was good to read unbiased and non-political but realistic attempt to a motivate for a better world. RIP Mr Fresco, thank for all your work and all my respect.
    Hannes Herrmann

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *