Buckminster Fuller… the new Marx? Nicole Carnarius


Fuller, possibly biased by his Naval training, traces the rise of one of the main features capitalism, specialization, back to the rise of ocean exploration of European countries. In Fuller’s manifesto, the bourgeoisie morphs out of the venture capitalists known by Fuller as the Great Pirates or “GP”s. The GPs gained power not because they owned the methods of production but because they were the only people who could navigate the ocean. Why were they the only ones? Because they were not specialized. Buckminster discusses how education evolved so that the brightest people could be used by those in power without having any of those bright people know enough about what is going on to take over. Eventually however, around WWI, the GPs became desperate for new technological advancements. They had to untie the hands of the scientists to the point that now the government isn’t able to keep track of the technological advancements that are daily increasing. Because of this, there can no longer be “Great Pirates” who know about everything and can rule accordingly. The next generation of political leaders lived by the rules of the GPs, but they no longer had the foresight to make decisions. In fact in all facets of society, people were in confusion about how to integrate the changes technology made in their belief systems and moral codes. According to Fuller, human survival is dependent on humanity’s metaphysical mastering of the physical. While the physical rules of capitalism and socialism say that there is not enough to go around, new technologies, if not blocked off by the government, find that there is enough resources for all.

Really, one may ask, enough resources for everybody? Fuller wrote this article in 1965 at a time when “Spaceship Earth” had 2 billion less people, but even now it is true that we produce enough food to feed the entire population, but do not have the government organization to do so.

Why don’t we have the government organization? As Fuller points out, it is because we are operating with a form of currency that no longer represents actual wealth if actual wealth is seen as “our organized capability to cope effectively with the environment in sustaining our healthy regeneration and decreasing both the physical and metaphysical restrictions of the forward days of our lives.” In a society where there are enough resources for everybody, there is no need for wealth in the way it is presently used but instead resources should be allocated in a logical, community based way and the expansion of new technologies, especially technology to harness limitless energy such as that of the sun should be put in the hands of scientists and not those who possess the most of an outdated form of currency. If wealth is seen as knowledge, than human wealth can only increase and therefore human quality of life should only increase.

Fuller predicted that by the beginning of the 21st century, the changes to wealth would have already happened or the human population would be near extinction. He predicted that by this time, all the world would be industrialized and the population would be beginning to decrease. The sixties were a time a great hope for humanity and since then things have gone down hill. The division between the rich and poor has grown, the trade deficit in America has grown, and the consumption of fossil fuels has greatly increased. Perhaps we are on the verge of extinction. It is predicted that in as little as thirty years, we will start seeing the effects of global warming. We are the first generation who is projected to make less than the generation before us. We are no longer on the winning side, and maybe that will be the impetus to finally get us to adopt the strategies Fuller postulates in his article.

Fuller’s solution to the government? A large computer. Start writing the code now.


Is the Earth in its final century?


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