Saturday, March 02, 2013

"Zeitgeist II: Moving Forward" a sequel to a manifesto is another one


Peter Joseph and Gentle Machine have a 2011 sequel “Zeitgeist: Moving Forward” (the first “Zeitgeist” film was reviewed Aug. 10, 2012).
  
The film is in two parts, “Human Nature” and “Resource-Based Economy”.  The first half of the film tries to “deconstruct” the idea that a human society needs money.  It is critical of the idea of the commodizing of money, as if it were a usable good.  In fact, all of what we call “the money supply” only exists, it says, because of interest and debt.  I’ve often pondered the idea that other planets could have advanced civilizations without money – but every urbanized culture on our planet has had a medium of exchange. 
  
The second part of the film assumes that there is an “Earth II” somewhere and that civilization can start over (without a monetary system).  But It presumes that computers already exist that automation of manual labor has been accomplished.  (It makes an interesting side trip into describing 3-D printers, which can print weapons regardless of gun control.) 
  
The “Resource-Based Economy” assumes that some resources on Earth are finite and applies the “scientific method” to meeting human need.  The film takes the position that people will work together for the satisfaction of concrete accomplishment and of being needed.
  
There is a curious moment in the film where Milton Friedman says that that death of a poor person after the power company turns off the heat is due to the lack of altruism of his neighbors.  But the film really seems to argue for a spontaneously eusocial society (as did libertarian Charles Murray in his book “Coming Apart”, reviewed on my Books blog, March 12, 2012). 
  
The early part of the film does mention the financial crisis of 2008 and particularly the debt ceiling crisis of 2011.
  
  
The site for the film is here.

Like its predecessor, this is a long film (2 hours, 41 minutes).  The film is a bit of a manifesto.  It is both utopian and disturbing, warning that most people find the present system so meaningless that they will stop playing by the rules, as the world descends into anarchy (rather like in modern BBC adaptations of all of Shakespeare’s plays).  
Today's short films: "Thomas Stone" (on my Issues blog, today), and "The Madness of Bradley Manning" (on the International issues blog today). 

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