What’s Next For The Economy? (The Future Fuller Predicted)
Buckminster Fuller was best known as a futurist.
John Denver dedicated his song “What One Man Can Do” to Fuller, a man he called The Grandfather of the Future. As I look back over the last year or so, especially since the pandemic has occurred, I can see many of Fuller’s predictions coming true.
One Fuller prediction was that the life expectancy for Baby Boomers if they did not smoke, overeat, or do drugs, was 140 years in excellent, youthful, health. His reasoning was tied to breakthroughs in medical technology that would eliminate diseases that kill us as well as give us better health and life expectancy.
As you know, stem cells, medical lasers, mapping of the human genome, medical robots, and other breakthroughs, have greatly enhanced health, youthfulness, and longevity.
The problem is affordability.
These treatments are expensive and not generally covered by health insurance.
Health is much like education. The rich can afford the best education for their kids. The poor and middle class often receive substandard education. In America, there are thousands of kids on waiting lists to get into charter schools. That is a sad testimonial to the quality of public education.
The bigger problem I see is how a person will support themselves if they live to be 140 years old—in a world without jobs. Will governments raise taxes to pay for healthcare, housing, and food for humans to live longer? Or will they just print more money?
The End Of Jobs
Fuller also predicted the end of jobs.
His reasoning on this was that the rise of super-artificial intelligent machines that would replace humans. As I’ve mentioned, Fuller thought the idea of going to work for money was obsolete. He predicted “Super AI Machines” would soon free humans from work that was drudgery.
Rather than a picture of Michael Douglas, who played Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie Wall Street, the image is not of a human, but of a robot. You’ll see the subtitle reads: “How machines are taking over Wall Street.”
I don’t see many employers who’d want to hire an out-of-work Wall Street executive who is used to making $10 million a year when they could have efficient AI technology do the same job.
Fuller also predicted people would be paid to not work. That idea was not well received 60 years ago but has pervaded the current 2020 presidential election and became more of a reality when the coronavirus struck the United States.
Today there is lots of talk about UBI, a Universal Basic Income. Certain politicians tout socialist agendas, such as free education, free medical, free housing, and on and on. The question that few seek to address is, in my view, the most important: Who is going to pay for it? Another popular idea is MMT, Modern Monetary Theory, or Magical Money Tree. Ben Bernanke was called “Helicopter Ben” for his MMT ideas. The difference between Helicopter Ben’s ideas and MMT is that Ben’s money went to the rich. The MMT money would go to everyone.
Fuller’s optimism for paying people not to work was based on his theory that people would then be free to solve our planet’s problems rather than go to work. Fuller asked our class over and over: “What does god want done?” He reminded us that it is not, “What do I want to do?” Or, “I want to do what I love.” He challenged us to look to the future and imagine what god wants done.
And, it’s been said, that he often asked himself, “What can I do? I’m just a little guy.” Paying people to not work would free people to ask themselves these same questions. People—innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries—would solve our problems, not governments, politicians, or bureaucrats. With those thoughts in my head, Kim and I took our leap of faith in 1984. We asked ourselves, What does god want done? And What can we do? We, too, were just we’re just “little people.”
In 1984, Kim and I began teaching, outside the school system. Since I loved learning but hated school, Kim and I began teaching the way my rich dad taught me, playing games and having fun, learning about money, business, and being an entrepreneur. We used music, sang songs to inspire our spirits, and focused on solving problems, rather than making money. That model of education has carried us all over the world.
The Death of Money
Money as we know it—fake money—is dying. That includes the U.S. dollar. Historically, the average life expectancy for a fiat currency is 27 years, with the shortest life span being one month. Established in 1694, the British pound sterling is the oldest fiat currency in existence. At the ripe old age of 317 years, it must be considered a highly successful fiat currency. However, success is relative. The British pound was once defined as 12 ounces of silver, so today it’s worth less than 1/200 or 0.5 percent of its original value. In other words, the most successful longstanding currency in existence has lost 99.5 percent of its value.
Since 1971, the U.S. dollar has lost 97 percent of its purchasing power. The United States has already had two currencies fail, the Continental died during the Revolutionary War and the Confederate Dollar died during the Civil War.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are now challenging the hegemony of the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies. It will be interesting to see how long the Central Banks will tolerate the competition from cyber-money before there is a showdown. I would say that it’s doubtful that GRUNCH will allow cyber-money to steal their show. Waiting in the wings is the dollar’s replacement, the IMF’s SDR, or Special Drawing Rights. After Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard in 1971, the IMF created the SDR in 1973, standing by to replace the dollar. The SDR has already been used in a number of emergencies.
Another possibility is that the Central Banks will start issuing gold-backed currency. Some say that would send the price of gold past $10,000 an ounce. China, Russia, and many of our enemies are stockpiling gold, preparing to destroy the U.S. dollar’s control over the world. When other currencies are issued as backed by gold, the dollar will be dethroned, and the U.S. economy will spin out of control. Global currency wars will most likely replace terrorist wars.
You’re In Control
For those who delude themselves into thinking that the future will be the same as today, I am afraid that they may find themselves in the same predicament as many Enron employees did at the end of their working careers—without any money left for retirement. For those who are vigilant and are aware that the future always changes and are prepared for the changes coming, the future is very bright.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily