ImageThe Zeitgeist movement was begun in August 2008 and continues on today.  Though this timing seems to perfectly line up with the beginning of the financial crisis, as far as I can tell it was not in response to it and its timing is merely a coincidence.  The Zeitgeist movement was begun by Peter Joseph but has no true leader.  It is the “activist branch” of the Venus Project which is a project that wishes to completely restructure the world away from a monetary system (one that uses currency and barter) and towards a resource based economy (one that allocates resources based on sustainability and potential progress).  It is hard to put a number on how many active supporters of the movement there are.  There are apparently 250+ chapters worldwide, though a “chapter” is not defined.  It is in the process of spreading this idea of a socially cooperative world that does away with currency and trade and instead distributes resources in a way that promotes a more advanced society.

Those are the basics of Zeitgeist, now for the details.  The Zeitgeist movement wishes to do away with all monetary incentives, credit, debt, barter, wage labor, and private property.  Essentially the movement believes that the monetary system promotes a zero-sum outcome, merely moving wealth around rather than actually progressing society.  The followers find many jobs as below humans and think they should be done by robots.  The Movement wishes to do away with much of the inequality that is found in our current monetary system.  For example, America throws out 40% of our food, yet a billion people in the world go hungry.  In the Zeitgeist system, there should be no such thing as excess.  The Movement does not define who should decide where resources go, but it does not seem to be promoting a central power.  Using the advanced communication and transportation technologies we have available, it should be easy to communicate and transport resources to where they are necessary.  This movement is not blaming a particular person or group for our inequality or excess (such as Wall Street, or America), rather it calls for everyone to shift their mind set to stop thinking about monetary gain and begin to look at social progress.

My opinion:  This movement is insane.  I picked this movement because I saw it on the Wikipedia list of social movements and I remembered the Zeitgeist video going viral on Youtube a few years ago.  I did not get around to watching it which was probably a good thing.  Zeitgeist releases a new “movie” each year that are really just a series of clips cut up and looks more like it’s trying to brainwash you than inform you.  The Movement has not really gained national attention and the largest news source I found that wrote about it was the Huffington Post.  Basically it has two main problems.  Firstly, it has no leadership that actually defines what the movement is about.  Secondly, it is entirely vague on how it would implement this “resource based economy”.  This Movement makes any anarchistic or communistic ideas look both reasonable and tame.  Overall, I am not so sure this should be called a “Movement” and perhaps should be just remain a “wild idea”.

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