Bucky Fuller's Last Interview
GERSTNER: You're the first person I've met who has spent a lifetime thinking about the problems facing the planet and who actually has worked out a plan to allow the world to survive and prosper at an unprecedented level. What could life be like for humans in the best future that you can imagine?
FULLER: I know that if we stop wasting our money on armaments and use our high technology on livingry instead of weaponry, within 10 years we could have all humanity, all 4 1/2 billion, living at a higher standard than anybody has ever known. In other words, we could have a billion billionaires. It is now physically and technologically possible. All the warring is on the misassumption of all politics that there is a fundamental inadequacy of life support. This is incorrect. It was correct until yesterday, but not today.
GERSTNER: What if population doubles?
FULLER: I have plotted the population information of all the nations on the planet right now, and each of the 160 nations shows that as the electrical energy consumption per capita rises, the birth rate descends at exactly the same rate. In the most advanced countries, population has already stopped increasing. The population will never go beyond 6 billion. When people are successful they stop making babies; nature regulates local birth rates so there will be adequate human life going despite sickness and ill-fortune.
GERSTNER: You say in Critical Path that the computer will allow people to work only 141/2 years to earn their living. Do you still see work as being central to most people's lives even if they aren't required to work for economic reasons?
FULLER: I can think of nothing more powerful in human life than the drive to demonstrate competence in respect to the challenges. So there would be great competition to see who is going to be allowed to do the work. Nobody is going to be paid for it. You will do it because you like to.
GERSTNER: What impact might human greed or laziness have on your projections?
FULLER: We can go 30 days without food. We can go about a week without water, but less than two minutes without air. When people have to have something and don't get it they panic and go looking out for themselves. So I find that selfishness and aggressiveness are innate only as fail-safe secondary circuits to keep life itself going. Selfishness comes out because humans have been deprived in some great way.
GERSTNER: What do you consider yourself, an architect, inventor, thinker, futurist?
FULLER: I call myself a comprehensivist.
GERSTNER: There aren't too many comprehensivists around, are there?
FULLER: Every child is born so, but the power structure funnels it. The power structure has a grand strategy that is inherent: divide and conquer, to keep conquered, keep divided. For eons, specialization has been the means of keeping bright people professionally divided and powerless.
GERSTNER: In the current recession, a lot of people want work but can't find it. Yet people want and need things that aren't being produced. Has the system broken down?
FULLER: Yes, the system is not correct, but evolution is at work and eventually we are going to lay off everybody.
GERSTNER: Because of automation?
GERSTNER: Should people be afraid of that?
FULLER: No. They should be afraid of not being paid now. The system as run is that they are supposed to die if they don't earn their living. The system is based on the misassumption that there is not enough to go around.
GERSTNER: How well known is your discovery that, because we have learned to produce so much more per each pound of materials and erg of energy and second of time invested, there is now for the first time in history plenty to go around?
FULLER: It is very difficult to say, but nature has me on the TV and on the plat- form so frequently that there are many millions now who comprehend what I am saying and they are spreading the news. For instance, one 175-pound trans-ocean satellite communication system can out-perform 375,000 tons of trans-ocean copper cabling in both fidelity and capacity of performance. One human-baby's-little- toenail-size silicon chip contains all of the trigonometric and calculus computing capability, plus all the information-storing and retrieving requirements of a large corporation. One earthquake- and hurricane- proof geodesic dome of 300 tons can enclose the same volume of space as that of the 80,000-ton Queen Mary, or the circa-l-million-ton cathedral Notre Dame. So narrowly focused are the specialists' scientists who make the more-with-less technology breakthroughs that they do not see the synergetic significance of their individual gains along with the myriads of others which altogether now make possible the physical success of all humanity, the obsolescence of all politics, and replacement by a world-embracing, selfishly incorruptible, electronic democracy.
GERSTNER: Yet you say we are at a very critical stage in human history.
FULLER: It's very touch-and-go as to whether the news that there is enough for everybody can get around fast enough. The invisible technology that people don't understand is their only means of exercising their option to make it on this planet. I say 1985 is the critical year. It's right at hand. In other words, within the next two or three years we will know whether humans are going to stay on this planet or not.
GERSTNER: Is that mainly because of the arms buildup and the confrontation between the U.S. and Russia?
FULLER: That is nothing. That is a mess man has got to get rid of. It is clear as can be that up to now monev makes the most money with weapons. The big rnoney has to keep their media saving that Russia is a threat in order to warrant spending all these billions of the people's money. I am sorry to say it is rather a mean picture. Russia has no interest whatsoever in destroying us.
After World War II when we officially turned against Russia, the Russian leaders were all wearing peasant clothes. They’re not wearing them anymore, because thev discovered that evolution had introduced a completely different revolution... a revolution of benignly pulling the bottom up instead of revengefully pulling the top down. The USSR is intent on comprehensive disarmament so that thev can turn their industrial productivity on their people which the arms race frustrates. That means that the United States doesn't have anything to worry about in Russia. The best thing to worry about is evervbody's standard of living. it's a very tough one, but everybody has to be a billionaire.
GERSTNER: How is this going to occur?
FULLER: The way it's going to occur is that the power structure is getting itself all involved with money, and monevy is not wealth. And thev have been stretching it bevond its popular credibility. Mv book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth is the most popular English-language book in China now. It describes and differentiates between wealth and money. I make it clear that wealth is everything that humanity has accomplished to take care of a given number of humans for a given number of forward calendar days. This wealth is basically of two kinds. The first one is phvsical--the walls that keep you warm, clothing, food, etc. Anvthing that is phvsical is energy and it is agreed bv scientists from the beginning of this centurv that energy cannot be created or destroyed. The other component of wealth is the know-how, the metaphysical, the discoverv of cosmic principles by the mind and the ability to use them. The very extraordinary thing about the metaphysical know-how is that every time we use it, we alwavs learn more; you cannot learn less. Since the phvsical part cannot decrease and the metaphysical can only increase, wealth is something that can only increase--it's very exciting.
So we are in an incredible position todav with all these banks around. Every building is a bank. And everyone is playing games with our money there, and increasing interest rates. The big power structure today is really going to be in trouble. The United States government is completely bust. It can't pay the interest on its debt. To be talking about buying armaments is preposterous.
GERSTNER: Do you expect a crash?
FULLER. Yes, a world accounting crash, very soon.
GERSTNER: And this will be beyond the U.S.?
FULLER: It will be the whole world.
GERSTNER: You say that the 160 nations of the world act as 166 blood clots blocking the free and unobstructed exchange of ideas, scrap metals, tools, and real wealth. But isn't it hard to imagine the world's people giving up their strong nationalistic instincts?
FULLER: No, it isn’t. I have been around the world 48 times. The United States isn't a nation. It is a crossbreeding world of humans. In one section of Los Angeles there are 81 nations' people interbreeding.