A couple years ago I saw a movie about The Venus Project (TVP) and was very excited about it, but after reading a couple books (The Blank Slate, How the mind works) from Steven Pinker it seems to me that the main impediment for implementing a RBE as proposed by TVP is the fact they seem to be extremist in their belief that the environment can wholly explain human behavior, which I think is successfully proven incorrect by professor Pinker.

TVP proposes the abolition of certain institutions like money, governments, the judicial system on the ground that they are at the root of most if not all social issues. They seem to adhere to the "noble savage" doctrine and disregard some intrinsic features of human nature such as the propensity towards violent behavior, territoriality, xenophobia, etc.

What are other obstacles you can discern that would make this idea of engineering society impractical?

Since TVP tries to promote the use of science in order to achieve it's goals, it would be best if those obstacles are backed up with factual data/references that can make it easier to argue with people about the true reasons such a project could not be implemented.

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    what do you mean by "Resource Based Economy" according to Wikipedia, a Resource based economy is one that comes from mostly natural resources such as oil. Is that what you're asking about? Dec 2, 2013 at 5:04
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    I suggest the author may be implicitly assuming that the predominance of fiat currency in the global banking infrastructure means that national economies are not resource-based. Dec 2, 2013 at 13:59
  • I'm sorry if the question was not clear, I have updated the question with the link for reference to what I mean by RBE. Dec 2, 2013 at 16:44
  • Didn't we already have a question on TVP?
    – user4012
    Dec 2, 2013 at 19:22
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    Here we go: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/2051/…
    – user4012
    Dec 2, 2013 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


The standard economic argument for Money is that it eliminates the necessity of the "double coincidence of wants". For example, without money, if I write software, and you sell gasoline, then if I want gasoline I would have to convince you to want me to write you some software, or arrange a similar third-party trade for something you Do want. Since such arrangements would raise what economists call the "transaction costs" (the costs of acquiring goods or services outside the price), it would lead to a poorer society overall, since more resources would be expended acquiring goods relative to producing them.

A judicial system is simply the mechanism by which disputes in fact and law (justice) are settled. In the United States, there are numerous judicial systems, from the criminal to the civil, to the informal. Most minor disputes are settled informally, through simple communication, due to the transaction costs associated with pursuing a remedy through the formal system. Since to eliminate the "judicial system" would, by definition, mean eliminating the possibility of human disputes and a desire to settle them, it's fair to stop here.

Governments are institutions that exercise a de-facto monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a given geographic area. The consequences of its elimination has been a matter of disagreement among philosophers at least since the Enlightenment.

In the 17th and 18th century, a group of political thinkers called "State of Nature Theorists" proposed their own answers to these questions.

  • Thomas Hobbes suggested that man without government engages in a war of "all against all", which governments prevent (see "Leviathan").
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed men would be indifferent to each other, living alone and isolated, and that government forces sociability and its benefits (see "Of the Social Contract").
  • David Hume disagreed with Rousseau and Hobbes, saying that men are sociable, and desire to remain so, and are not naturally destructive of civil society through either violence or indifference (see "Treatise on Human Nature").

There has been modern writing on the subject as well, such as Rawls, who follows Rousseau (see "Theory of Justice"), and Rothbard/Nozick who follow Hume (see "Ethics of Liberty" and "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" respectively).

  • I like this answer up to the section on the various philosopher's positions. It feels like it veers off course there. Maybe replace it with a link to a page that goes into more details than can be fit into an answer?
    – Bobson
    Jan 23, 2014 at 21:19
  • Yea, the government part of the question seeks an answer where there is dispute, and probably would not be considered valid on stackexchange on its own. That said, I did look for an off-site summary, but didn't find anything adequate. Most discussions center around Hobbes vs Locke (similar to Hume) because of their rivalry, ignoring Hume and Rousseau (who is extremely important to the topic) entirely. Jan 23, 2014 at 21:55
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    I just suggested an edit that breaks it up a bit, which I think helps it feel less "block of text on a digression".
    – Bobson
    Jan 24, 2014 at 14:08

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