Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Review: Designing the Future


DESIGNING THE FUTURE BY JACQUE FRESCO is a book about making our future more user friendly. 
It begins with an overview of the need, and the many questions that may come up. According to many polls, a majority of scientists think that the human race is on a “collision course” with nature. We face common threats that transcend national boundaries: overpopulation, energy shortages, water scarcity, economic catastrophe, the spread of uncontrollable diseases, and the technological displacement of people by machines, to name a few.  What has been handed down to us does not seem to be working for the majority of people. With the advances in science and technology over the last two hundred years, you may be asking: “does it have to be this way?” 
Next chapter reiterates the inevitability of change. Over the centuries, we seem to have developed a consensus that when it comes to matters of personal safety, we will go with the science rather than the magic. Why is that? Probably because it works, and everybody can see that it does. Then why don’t we do that when it comes to planning our societies: our cities, transportation systems, agriculture, health care, and so on? Because, "our social structures evolved with no overall global planning", the book says.  The existing human myths that the Earth has abundant resources and our practice of rationing these resources through the use of money is an outdated method which causes much suffering. 
It is not money that we need but the intelligent management of the earth’s resources for the benefit of everyone. We could best work towards achieving this by using a resource based economy. The book introduces here a host of revolutionary concepts, most  of which can be thought of as technological dreams, many capable of bringing in unthinkable changes.
The book then talks of things that are happening today that could be signs of the collapse of present system. Like, the industrialized nations of the world installing more and more automated technology in order to compete with low prices in the global economy. As a result of this new technology, more and more people lose their jobs and can’t take care of themselves and their families. With automation, outsourcing and cyber-nation used to their fullest potential, machines replace not only industrial workers, but also most professionals. Consequently, fewer people are able to buy the products that automated factories turn out.  

Hence we need to think of a saner future. A future, where, unlike in a monetary system most people live near their work with a house, car, and lifestyle they can afford, people shall be living a fuller  life. And unlike us, who are free, only as much as our purchasing power, those people shall follow a socio-economic system that reflect individual and personal interests.
The book then talks about the benefits, future society shall have. Parents will have adequate time for their children, and will not be stressed by ever-rising medical bills, insurance payments, educational expenses, and cost of living expenses.  
I agree with the book. If we design our society such that people are free to choose their own interests, develop formerly hidden potential, and pursue dreams without government intervention or financial constraint, most profound benefits await us. Except one difficulty: the practical process involved in this is very clear, more as a dream than otherwise.