Jacque Fresco

Jacque Fresco

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Jacque Fresco is a self-educated structural designer
Structural engineering
Structural engineering is a field of engineering dealing with the analysis and design of structures that support or resist loads. Structural engineering is usually considered a specialty within civil engineering, but it can also be studied in its own right....

, philosopher of science, concept artist, educator, and futurist. His interests span a wide range of disciplines including several in philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, and engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

. Fresco writes and lectures extensively on his view of subjects ranging from the holistic design of sustainable cities, energy efficiency
Efficient energy use
Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal of efforts to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a home allows a building to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature...

, natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

 management, cybernated technology, advanced automation
Automation
Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization...

, and the role of science in society, focusing on the benefits he claims this will bring.
With his colleague, Roxanne Meadows, he is the founder and director of an organization known as The Venus Project
The Venus Project
The Venus Project is an organization that advocates the futurist visions of the American Jacque Fresco, with the aim of improving society with a global sustainable social design that it calls a "resource-based economy"...

, located in Venus, Florida
Venus, Florida
Venus is an unincorporated community in southeastern Highlands County, Florida, United States. It is located on County Road 731 off U.S. Route 27....

.

In contemporary culture he has been popularized by three documentaries, Future By Design, Zeitgeist Addendum, and Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward is the third installment in Peter Joseph's Zeitgeist film series. The movie was independently released in over 60 countries and in over 30 languages starting on January 15, 2011 with over 340 screenings worldwide...

, His Venus Project has been inspirational worldwide, especially to activists.

Youth


Born on March 13, 1916, Jacque Fresco grew up in the minority neighborhood of Bensonhurst in the Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

 borough of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.
Precocious as a child, Fresco's interests did not pertain to the topics presented to him at school.
Unwilling, or unable, to conform with the setting of formal education, he sought a self-directed education throughout his later teen years. Fresco spent many days of his youth at the local library. At this early time, Fresco had a talent for acting and this won him the first prize at an All City drama competition. Fresco also exercised his abilities in painting and sketching. He took interest in classical music by the likes of Beethoven, Brahms, and Wagner. Atop the roof of his home at 67th and 20th Ave., Fresco spent time with his fellow comrades discussing Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

, Einstein, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, and the future
Future
The future is the indefinite time period after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the nature of the reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist is temporary and will come...

.
While mostly impoverished during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, Fresco claims that it was during this time when he developed the sensitivity and ambition to concern himself with the function of society and the future of humanity.
For a short time, Fresco took an interest in attending the Young Communist League
Young Communist League
The Young Communist League was or is the name used by the youth wing of various Communist parties around the world. The name YCL of XXX was generally taken by all sections of the Communist Youth International.Examples of YCLs:...

 wherein he caused commotion. After brief discussion and disagreements with the League president, Fresco was physically removed. Thereafter, Fresco turned his attention to Technocracy.
Among the places traveled in his youth was to Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 during his teen years where he developed an affinity for tropical climates. In the mid-1930s, Fresco traveled west to Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 where he began his career as a structural designer in many fields.

Career



In California, Fresco found employment at the Douglas Aircraft Company
Douglas Aircraft Company
The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer, based in Long Beach, California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas...

 after presenting to them many of his early alternative aircraft designs. Fresco had long taken an interest in designing flying saucers and tried to interest the aircraft industry at a time when experimental construction was underway.
Eventually, Fresco demonstrated such designs in the 1930s. After departing from Douglas due to safety design disagreements, he traveled to Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 in late 1939 where he then traveled to the South Sea Islands where he interacted with native islanders. Fresco claims that his visit to these islands effectively helped shape his understanding of cultural relativism
Cultural relativism
Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and...

 and the flexibility of human values in alternate environments. In California, Fresco took various residence in Hermosa Beach and Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

.

Before World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Fresco had entered the Army
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

. With difficulty adjusting to army life, a psychiatrist reviewed Fresco and suggested relocating his talents to the Army Air Force in the midst of John Northrop
John Knudsen Northrop
John Knudsen "Jack" Northrop was an American aircraft industrialist and designer, who founded the Northrop Corporation in 1939.-Entering aviation:...

. He was given technical design duties in a futuristic unit at Wright Field
Wright Field
Wright Field was an airfield of the United States Army Air Corps and Air Forces near Riverside, Ohio. From 1927 to 1947 it was the research and development center for the Air Corps, and during World War II a flight test center....

 design laboratories where he would produce up to forty designs a day. Among Fresco's many designs, a design of a radical variable camber wing attempted to optimize wing thickness for lift and flight. It received a patent
and was thereafter given to the Army Air Force. He was eventually discharged. Fresco had many advanced ideas for airplane aviation and this gained him a reputation in the aircraft industry for being "a man twenty years ahead of his time"

In the mid-1940s, Fresco began working with Earl Muntz and Michael Shore who employed Fresco to design a new low cost form of modernistic housing. The result was one of the first all glass-aluminum structures, known as the Trend Home, that could be erected by ten men in eight hours. Its design of light weight, high strength, and long lasting materials allowed for reduced production costs and streamlined production which increased its economic viability. The structure was first exhibited in 1947 at Stage 8 of the Warner Brothers Sunset boulevard. It would go on to attract over 20,000 visitors. The proceeds were donated to The Cancer Prevention Society to build part of a new hospital. For the next few years the Trend Home was to undergo mass production and was considered by the U.S. government as a possible solution for soldiers returning from World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Through the late 1940s and early 1950s, Fresco was director of Scientific Research Laboratories in Los Feliz, near Hollywood, where he also lived, lectured, and taught technical design, meanwhile researching and working on inventions as a freelance inventor and scientific consultant. Fresco claims that many of his inventions were patented by his employers. During these years, Fresco had difficulty managing finances and would face auctioneers as they entered his lab to compensate for his lack of payments.

Also during Fresco's years in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, he worked as model designer for science-fiction movies such as the television show Ring Around the Moon which became the film Project Moonbase
Project Moonbase
Project Moonbase is a black-and-white 1953 science fiction film directed by Richard Talmadge. The film is also known as Project Moon Base and is based on a story by Robert A. Heinlein, who shares screenwriting credit...

. Fresco was noted for his high quality models and special effects despite the low budgets of the B-movie
B-movie
A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse or pornographic film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature....

 productions.
His talents were recommended to Roger Corman
Roger Corman
Roger William Corman is an American film producer, director and actor. He has mostly worked on low-budget B movies. Some of Corman's work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and in 2009 he won an Honorary Academy Award for...

 for the film The Beast with a Million Eyes
The Beast with a Million Eyes
The Beast with a Million Eyes is a science-fiction movie about an alien capable to see through the eyes of the many creatures he takes control of. It was produced and directed by David Kramarsky, although some sources say that it was co-directed by Lou Place and co-produced by Roger Corman and...

, but Corman could not accommodate Fresco into the budget (of $23,000). Fresco also worked as technical adviser in the film industry, most notably for the 1956 Oscar nominated documentary The Naked Eye. Eventually, in the mid-1950s, Fresco left California after his lab was commandeered to build the Golden State Freeway.

Midlife


Pursuing his affinity for the tropics, in 1955 Fresco moved to Miami, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, where he lived on a boat for a short time. He began practicing private therapy sessions, and at a time when the American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States. It is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 154,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. The APA...

 was pressuring therapists lacking approved credentials to relinquish their practice, Fresco received criticism for his therapy service. In Miami, Fresco held public lectures throughout the late 1950s and 1960s. On the lecture circuit, Fresco sometimes utilized the title of "Dr." based on a doctorate of philosophy that he obtained from Sierra State University in California. It was not recognized as an accredited university by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. As a result, Fresco's degree came under scrutiny when he was practicing his therapy service. Fresco would eventually hold the doctorates degree only as an honorary title. Eventually, he disregarded the title entirely. Later, he acknowledged his lack of formal credentials as being a detriment in academic circles and has made it difficult for him to gain influence.

From the mid-1950s and throughout the 1960s, Fresco developed what he called "Project Americana." It was a ten year plan for American social change
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

. His vision included a circular city and the application of full cyber-automation of city operations wherein machines direct other machines to operate. Such was Fresco's conception of a "thinking city" in "The Machine-Machine Age." The national plan also included methods for aiding struggling nations by erecting prefabricated factories that produce prefabricated products for building, and a new curriculum for schooling. In 1962, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 approached Fresco about developing a series on his ideas after appearing on two successive episodes of On the Town with Fred Fischer.

Fresco spent much of his time in Miami trying to showcase his designs of a circular city and raise funds to get it built. He also designed a three-wheeled car that was to have only 32 moving parts, which he strove to fund as well. Fresco made much of his living working as an industrial designer for various companies such as Alcoa
Alcoa
Alcoa Inc. is the world's third largest producer of aluminum, behind Rio Tinto Alcan and Rusal. From its operational headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Alcoa conducts operations in 31 countries...

 and the Major Realty Corporation and from draftsman inventions through Jacque Fresco Enterprises Inc.

In 1969, with Ken Keyes
Ken Keyes, Jr.
Ken Keyes, Jr. was a personal growth author and lecturer, and the creator of the Living Love method, a self-help system...

, a book was written about Fresco's ideas, entitled Looking Forward. The first half of the book was dedicated to detailing some of the causes of many problems in humanity's thinking and behavior, the changes that humanity will have to make as it enters the future, and a description of three components which can be used to best correctly analyze the future: humanity's values, methods of thinking, and tools i.e. technological developments. All three are described as being interdependent much like a set of gears. The second half of the book was dedicated to a speculative look at the future revolving around the experiences of the fictional characters, Scott, and, Hella. It was one of the earliest publications to theorize the possible social implications of a central network knowledge bank (Corcen) used to bring about a "humanized man-machine symbiosis". Fresco and Keyes gave consideration for a wide range of technological and social possibilities resulting from the technologically governed societal design.

Sociocyberneering



Fresco's ideas for Project Americana continued to evolve and became what was known as Sociocyberneering Inc, a non-profit organization founded in 1971 for which Fresco was president. It was a non-political and non-sectarian membership organization having, at its peak, 250 members, many of whom became Fresco's pupils. Fresco frequently hosted educational lectures in Miami Beach and at his home in Coral Gables.
His lecture topics pertained to society, social change, science, technology, engineering, architecture, religion, prudence, semantics, anthropology, psychology, systems theory, and education, among other topics. Aside from educating, Fresco worked with members of the organization to produce designs, films, and literature pertaining to the aims and goals of the organization.

The term "sociocyberneering" was defined as "the application of the most sophisticated forms of computer technology in the management of human affairs."
The stated goal of Sociocyberneering was to apply "the most sophisticated forms of science and technology toward problem solving ... an approach at the restructuring of society in humanistic terms," and dedicated to finding practical solutions that could be rapidly applied to the many problems that faced society. The primary focus was to "investigate alternative solutions based in conservation of energy, international cooperation in all areas of social endeavor, and the assimilation of a systems approach for the design of cities." There was also heavy emphasis on the prospects of cybernated technology in the societies of human beings, arguing that, "the future of man and his cities does not depend on whether or not this or that design is preferred. It is determined by the forces of social and environmental evolution in which computerized approaches to human and environmental systems will ultimately emerge as the ultimate technique in all areas of the social sequences."

By this time Fresco had designed his circular city to be one mile in diameter with radially connected concentric rings "resembling the spokes of a wheel." Each ring was dedicated to a general function such as agriculture, recreation, housing, among others. At the nucleus center, in the dome, was a supercomputer that was intended to function as the centralized data management system for the automated processes throughout the city.

Throughout the 1970s Fresco worked to expand the organization and elevate its exposure to the general public by lecturing at universities and appearing on radio and television. Fresco became acquainted with Larry King
Larry King
Lawrence Harvey "Larry" King is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards....

 when King's career was emerging out of Miami. King featured Fresco on his television show and radio show several times to discuss, with academics and local callers, the proposals of Sociocyberneering.

At the apex of the organization's membership, they began investing in 40 acres of land in Naples. The organization set out to construct an experimental community in which they would live and expand. They encountered a setback in 1978 when members feared that the Collier County zoning board would complicate implementation. The result was a partial dissolution of Sociocyberneering membership.
The investment was abandoned and the land was resold. Fresco sold his home and new land was located in rural Venus. Upon an old tomato patch he established a research center for Sociocyberneering in 1980.
With the help of remaining members, Fresco constructed buildings based on the designs of his futuristic renderings. After the move, Sociocyberneering became less popular as many members remained in Miami. Eventually, Sociocyberneering became much less active and through the 1980s Fresco dedicated his time to designing and studying alongside Roxanne Meadows who remained with Fresco as his colleague.

Later life



In 1994, Fresco rebooted Sociocyberneering Inc. under the new title The Venus Project
The Venus Project
The Venus Project is an organization that advocates the futurist visions of the American Jacque Fresco, with the aim of improving society with a global sustainable social design that it calls a "resource-based economy"...

. By this time, Fresco had accumulated a large quantity of designs and models that could represent a general outline of how his vision may look and operate, and were used to gain exposure for the organization through educational films and literature distributed to teachers and universities. Aside from their educational materials, Fresco and Meadows continued to support the project throughout the '90s through freelance structural designing, such as for Pratt and Whitney, industrial engineering, and conventional architectural modeling. In the process, some of Fresco's futuristic designs succeeded in inspiring some development companies. At one point, Fresco claimed that The Venus Project was under consideration for developing plans to build a theme park/experimental city in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. A similar consideration occurred with Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

.
In 2002, Fresco published his main work The Best That Money Can't Buy. In 2006, William Gazecki
William Gazecki
William Gazecki is a documentary filmmaker and former sound mixer best known for his Academy Award-nominated and News & Documentary Emmy Award winning film WACO: The Rules of Engagement...

 directed the semi-biographical film about Fresco, "Future by Design" in which Fresco was compared to the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

 Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

. In 2008, Peter Joseph featured Fresco in the film Zeitgeist Addendum wherein his vision of the future was presented as a possible solution for the societal and environmental crisis expounded in the film. The reaction that followed was manifested by the development of The Zeitgeist Movement
The Zeitgeist Movement
The Zeitgeist Movement was founded in 2008 by Peter Joseph. The movement advocates the replacement of current civilization with a money-free and cybernated "resource-based economy". The Zeitgeist Movement and the Venus Project promote replacing human labour with automation, government will be...

 which actively professes Fresco's ideas and once considered itself the "activist arm" of The Venus Project. As of April, 2011, however, the Venus Project and Zeitgeist Movement disaffiliated.

In 2010, Fresco attempted to trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 the phrase "Resource-Based Economy" in the midst of its popularization to preserve his definition of it. The phrase was reviewed and found to be too generic to qualify. The action to trademark Fresco's specific meaning was therefore blocked. Other small Internet organizations now profess a version of a resource-based economy based on Fresco's original conception.

Throughout 2010, Fresco traveled with Meadows on a world wide tour in response to the growing popularity of The Venus Project
The Venus Project
The Venus Project is an organization that advocates the futurist visions of the American Jacque Fresco, with the aim of improving society with a global sustainable social design that it calls a "resource-based economy"...

. On January 15, 2011, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward is the third installment in Peter Joseph's Zeitgeist film series. The movie was independently released in over 60 countries and in over 30 languages starting on January 15, 2011 with over 340 screenings worldwide...

was released in theaters, again featuring Fresco and a more elaborate articulation of his vision as a possible solution for planetary dilemmas. Currently, Fresco holds lectures and tours at The Venus Project
The Venus Project
The Venus Project is an organization that advocates the futurist visions of the American Jacque Fresco, with the aim of improving society with a global sustainable social design that it calls a "resource-based economy"...

 location and has initiated the funding of a major motion picture that may be made which will depict The Venus Project future.

The Venus Project


The Venus Project is an organization depicting, as well as professing, the culmination of Fresco's life work and serves as a foundation that represents his vision of a future without poverty, crime, war, corruption, or waste. It was founded in 1980 and took its name in 1994. It is located in central Florida near west Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee , locally referred to as The Lake or The Big O, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the lower 48 states...

 about fifty miles northeast of Fort Myers. On its 21.5-acre lot, there are ten buildings designed by Fresco, which showcase limited versions of Fresco's architectural designs. It is partly a research center for Fresco and Roxanne Meadows, and partly an educational center for supporters of the project. They produce videos and literature depicting and explaining the future vision and the goals to actualize it. Among these goals, the salient are to produce a major motion picture portraying the future world the project promotes; constructing a theme park with the intention of exhibiting technologies and the ideas of the Venus Project; and constructing an experimental city in an attempt to test Fresco's hypotheses. Its ultimate aim is to improve society by moving towards a global, sustainable, technological social design that is termed a "resource-based economy".

Personal life and family


Fresco was born to immigrants from Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Isaac and Lena Fresco. His father was born in 1880 and around 1905 immigrated from Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 where he worked as a horticulturalist. He died in 1963. Fresco's mother was born in 1887 in Jerusalem and also migrated to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 around 1904. She died in 1988. Fresco was brother to two siblings, a sister, Freda, and a brother, David. His brother was born in 1909. He was a draftsman, a private during World War II, and became a theater actor and a character actor
Character actor
A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...

 in Hollywood. After being blacklisted by Hollywood in the 1950s for not cooperating with the House Un-American Activities Committee, he resurrected his career in the 1960s eventually appearing in many films and television shows. He died in 1997.

Fresco had one marriage when he lived in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

 and through his first couple years in Miami. He divorced in 1957. His wife, Patricia, gave birth to a son, Richard, in 1953 and a daughter, Bambi, in 1956. Richard was an army private and died in 1976. Bambi died of cancer in 2010.

Vision


Fresco's vision has formed as the culmination of many disciplines and schools of thought. The dominant features of it have been compared to earlier thinkers from as early as the nineteenth century. Titles such as The Paradise within the Reach of all Men without Labor by Powers of Nature and Machinery, Emigration to the Tropical World for the Melioration of All Classes of People of All Nations, and The New World or Mechanical System were written in the 1800s by John Adolphus Etzler
John Adolphus Etzler
John Adolphus Etzler was a German-American technological utopianist. Along with civil engineer John A. Roebling, he emigrated to Pittsburgh in 1831....

 who has been described as an early forerunner to Fresco's vision. Likewise, Ebenezer Howard
Ebenezer Howard
Sir Ebenezer Howard is known for his publication Garden Cities of To-morrow , the description of a utopian city in which people live harmoniously together with nature. The publication resulted in the founding of the garden city movement, that realized several Garden Cities in Great Britain at the...

 and his book Garden Cities of Tomorrow, as well as the Garden City Movement
Garden city movement
The garden city movement is a method of urban planning that was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by "greenbelts" , containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and...

 during the early 1900s has been described as another predecessor. Fresco's vision removes the mechanics of modern economics and his view toward modern economics has been compared to Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen was an American economist and sociologist, and a leader of the so-called institutional economics movement...

's concept of "the predatory phase in human development." Other facets of Fresco's vision have been labeled a "tabula rasa
Tabula rasa
Tabula rasa is the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Generally proponents of the tabula rasa thesis favour the "nurture" side of the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to aspects...

 approach."

Fresco himself cites several theorists and authors for contributing to his vision, such as Jacques Loeb
Jacques Loeb
Jacques Loeb was a German-born American physiologist and biologist.-Biography:...

, who established the Mechanistic Conception of Life; Edward Bellamy
Edward Bellamy
Edward Bellamy was an American author and socialist, most famous for his utopian novel, Looking Backward, set in the year 2000. He was a very influential writer during the Gilded Age of United States history.-Early life:...

, who wrote the extremely influential book, Looking Backward; Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen was an American economist and sociologist, and a leader of the so-called institutional economics movement...

, who influenced the Technocracy movement
Technocracy movement
The technocracy movement is a social movement which arose in the early 20th century. It put forth a plan for operating the North American continent as a non-monetary society. Technocracy was highly popular in the USA for a brief period in the early 1930s, when it overshadowed many other proposals...

 and Howard Scott
Howard Scott
Howard Scott was a controversial engineer who had an interest in technocracy, and helped to form the Technical Alliance, Committee on Technocracy, and Technocracy Incorporated.-Early life:...

, who popularized it; Alfred Korzybski
Alfred Korzybski
Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski was a Polish-American philosopher and scientist. He is remembered for developing the theory of general semantics...

, who originated General Semantics
General Semantics
General semantics is a program begun in the 1920's that seeks to regulate the evaluative operations performed in the human brain. After partial program launches under the trial names "human engineering" and "humanology," Polish-American originator Alfred Korzybski fully launched the program as...

; H. G. Wells, and many others. Fresco has often been heard stating, "I have been able to achieve what I have achieved because I stood on the shoulders of giants
Standing on the shoulders of giants
Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants is a Western metaphor meaning "One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past," a contemporary interpretation. However, the metaphor was first recorded in the twelfth century...

," paraphrasing Einstein, (though the metaphore was first made famous by Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

, and stated by others before him).

Resource-based economy


Primary in Fresco's vision is the concept of a "resource-based economy." It incorporates sustainable cities and values, along with the goals of energy efficiency, natural resource management, and advanced automation, focusing on the benefits that it might bring to humanity as a whole.

According to Fresco, poverty, crime, corruption and war are the result of scarcity created by the present world's profit-based economic system. He theorizes that the profit motive also stifles the progress of socially beneficial technology, and instead he favors a system that fosters the purpose motive. Fresco claims that the progression of technology, if it were carried on independently of its profitability, would make more resources available to more people by producing an abundance of products and materials. This new-found abundance of resources would, according to Fresco, reduce the human tendency toward individualism, corruption, and greed, and instead rely on people helping each other.

A resource-based economy replaces the need for the current monetary economy, which is "scarcity
Scarcity
Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having humans who have unlimited wants and needs in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfill all human wants and needs. Alternatively, scarcity implies that not all of society's goals can be...

-oriented" or "scarcity-based". Fresco argues that the world is rich in natural resources and energy and that — with modern technology and judicious efficiency — the needs of the global population can be met with abundance, while at the same time removing the current limitations of what is deemed possible due to notions of economic viability.

Reception


Critics and advocates of Fresco's vision are sharply divided. Throughout his life Fresco has been labeled a "dreamer," an "eccentric
Eccentricity (behavior)
In popular usage, eccentricity refers to unusual or odd behavior on the part of an individual. This behavior would typically be perceived as unusual or unnecessary, without being demonstrably maladaptive...

," an "utopian," an "idealist," a "crackpot
Crank (person)
"Crank" is a pejorative term used for a person who unshakably holds a belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false. A "cranky" belief is so wildly at variance with commonly accepted belief as to be ludicrous...

," a "charlatan
Charlatan
A charlatan is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception....

," etc., halfheartedly by some magazine and newspaper writers among others. Some feel that his vision is impractical, idealistic, and/or borderline science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

. The books Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

or Brave New World
Brave New World
Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's fifth novel, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540 , the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of...

are sometimes referenced in relation to The Venus Project. These attitudes continue today across some Web sites. Even further, some claims have labeled him a cult leader due to his figurehead status in The Zeitgeist Movement. Others accuse him of affiliations with conspirators of a New World Order. Fresco dismisses these accusations.

His hypothesis of a resource-based economy is sometimes equated with Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...


or technocracy. Fresco responds to these comparisons by stating, "The aims of The Venus Project have no parallel in history, not with communism, socialism, fascism or any other political ideology. This is true because cybernation is of recent origin. With this system, the system of financial influence and control will no longer exist."

One writer notes, "it's also true that his system of governance, in which authority is given to the expert in each field — in this case, specially programmed computers — is one that many writers, including Nobel-prize-winner Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

, have shown to be disastrous."

Another writer reviewing one of Fresco's films writes,
the more I listened to Fresco's specifics and fuzzy non-specifics it seemed to me I was encountering a God-like hubris coupled with the standard sci-fi dreamer's naivete vis á vis human nature. But just as I was jotting this last down in my notes, Fresco cautioned viewers — and it gave me the shivers, since he seemed to be responding directly to my written reservations — to remember that human nature is not synonymous with human behavior; the latter can be changed. Although Fresco's futurist scenario is — in my humble opinion — rife with problems, it's not every day that somebody comes along ambitious enough to offer a blueprint for re-designing the world.


Other criticisms have implied a scientistic approach due to Fresco's heavy emphasis on science alone to overcome humanity's obstacles,
His vision is eminently practical, and although this constitutes an innovative and welcome element with reference to previous utopian projections, his focus on science alone makes him fail as a generalist – the criticism Fresco himself passed on academics and scientists. Today's pressing problems require a holistic approach – various disciplines, arts science, philosophy working on a "convergence mode", unfortunately Fresco's vision seems to consolidate the long established view that the "two cultures" (Science and Art) are antagonistic.


Focusing on accusations of utopianism, a writer from the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies
Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies
The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies is Denmark's and one of Scandinavia's largest Futures Studies think tank. It was founded in 1970 by Professor Thorkil Kristensen, former OECD Secretary-General, Danish Minister of Finance and member of the Club of Rome...

 remarks, "For most people, the promise of the project sounds like an unattainable utopia, but if you examine it more closely, there are surprisingly many scientifically founded arguments that open up an entire new world of possibilities." Another writer for CIFS points out,
Perhaps the modern interpretation of the word "utopia" is to blame when the Renaissance man and futurist Jacque Fresco says ... he doesn't want to call his life work, The Venus Project, a utopia. However, this visionary idea of a future society has many characteristics in common with the utopia. ... the word utopia carries a double meaning, since in Greek it can mean both the good place (eutopia) and the nonexisting place (outopia). A good place is precisely what Fresco has devoted his life to describing and fighting for."


In response to association with utopianism, Fresco has stated, "We do not believe in the erroneous notion of a utopian society. There is no such thing. Societies are always in a state of transition. We propose an alternative direction, which addresses the causes of many of our problems. There are no final frontiers for human and technological achievement." One writer suggests instead that "The Venus project is no static utopia, rather a dynamic one: it requires an incremental process driven by an ever-changing extropic ideal."

Art historian Hans-Ulrich Obrist notes, "Fresco's future may, of course, seem outmoded and his writings have been subject to critique for their fascistic undertones of order and similitude, but his contributions are etched in the popular psyche and his eco-friendly concepts continue to influence our present generation of progressive architects, city planners and designers."

When asked by a reporter why he has such difficulty actualizing his many ideas, Fresco responded, "Because I can't get to anybody. I have no credentials." Nevertheless, positive attitudes toward Fresco regard him as "a genius, a prophet, and a visionary." General praise appears among futurists
Futurists
Futurists or futurologists are scientists and social scientists whose speciality is to attempt to systematically predict the future, whether that of human society in particular or of life on earth in general....

, especially the World Future Society
World Future Society
The World Future Society is a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Bethesda, Maryland, US, founded in 1966.The Society investigates how social, economic and technological developments are shaping the future...

 who have considered him a visionary engineer in review of his work in the Futurist,
commenting, "Whether the future Fresco envisions is probable or even possible is open to debate, but he succeeds in conveying the power of thinking of the future on a grander scale than we're used to."
Fresco's work has been compared to the work of Paolo Soleri
Paolo Soleri
Paolo Soleri is an Italian-American architect. He established Arcosanti and the educational Cosanti Foundation. Soleri is a lecturer in the College of Architecture at Arizona State University and a National Design Award recipient in 2006.-Early life:Soleri was born in Turin, Italy...

 and especially Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller
Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an American systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, futurist and second president of Mensa International, the high IQ society....

 for all attempting to actualize their vision against great odds, as well as Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer...

, Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

, and Da Vinci for sharing affluence in prolific innovation. The elaborate scope of Fresco's designs intrigued Forest Ackerman early on, later Doug Drexler
Doug Drexler
Doug Drexler, born in New York City, is a visual effects artist, designer, sculptor, illustrator, and an academy award-winning makeup artist who has collaborated with such talents as Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, Meryl Streep, and Warren Beatty. He began his career in the entertainment...

, and Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

 who, late in his life, briefly tried to help Fresco get exposure for The Venus Project. Synergetics
Synergetics (Fuller)
Synergetics is the empirical study of systems in transformation, with an emphasis on total system behavior unpredicted by the behavior of any isolated components, including humanity’s role as both participant and observer....

 theorist Norman Arthur Coulter appreciated Fresco's vision for his attempt to accomplish it "not for profit, but to meet the needs of human beings." Author, Harold Cober, comments, "Once you've seen the man's ideas and buildings, you can't let go of it." Bruce Eisner
Bruce Eisner
Bruce Jay Ehrlich , better known by his pen name Bruce Eisner, is an American writer, psychologist, and counterculture spokesman best known for his book Ecstasy: The MDMA Story.-Biography:...

 mentions that the Venus Project shares similar aims as his Island Sanctuary Project. Commenting on what he sees as Fresco's inspirational and charismatic teaching methods, physicist, Paul G. Hewitt
Paul G. Hewitt
Paul G. Hewitt is an American physicist, former boxer, uranium prospector, author, and cartoonist born in Saugus, Massachusetts in 1930. Hewitt lives in both Hilo, Hawaii and St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife.-Conceptual physics:...

, cites Fresco as being one of the three major sources of inspiration, turning him away from work as a sign painter and toward a career in science.

Psychologist and scientist, Jack Catran
Jack Catran
Jack Catran was an American industrial designer, behavioral psychologist, scientist, and linguist. He was a NASA human factors engineer on the first Apollo mission and was best known for his refutation of Carl Sagan's attempts to locate extraterrestrial life in outer-space.-Biography:Jack Catran...

, notes,
Contemplate the staggering realistic views of the future published by Jacque Fresco ... There are many futurists, "geniuses", and self-styled seers in our midst who, upon careful examination, turn out to be disappointingly commercial and exploitive. Most extrapolations into the future are made from fixed and narrow points of view. We are all products of today's mediocrity-breeding culture, but if anyone can be called a genius in our money system society, Jacque Fresco should be singled out as the broadest, most aware, individual of our time.


At Drexel University
Drexel University
Drexel University is a private research university with the main campus located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. It was founded in 1891 by Anthony J. Drexel, a noted financier and philanthropist. Drexel offers 70 full-time undergraduate programs and accelerated degrees...

, sociologist and futurist, Arthur B. Shostak
Arthur B. Shostak
Arthur B. Shostak , is an American sociologist and futurist, and former professor of sociology at Drexel University. His research areas include futuristics, the history and future of the American work force, organized labor, industrial sociology, the management and social implications of modern...

, often incorporated Fresco's ideas into his writing and teaching, stating,
His contribution to futuristics is singular, as few, if any around the globe, dare the sweep, the depth, and the drama of his vision. When he writes or speaks, futurists grow quiet, pensive, and finally, appreciative — as his work is sound in its call for a thorough examination of the assumptions under which we labor. While little of his vision may materialize in the lifetime of us all, our grandchildren may yet salute much of what Jacque first helped them set in motion.


In 2008 the Raelian Movement
Raëlism
Raëlism is a UFO religion that was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, now known as Raël.The Raëlian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call the Elohim...

 gave Fresco their Honorary Guide award for dedicating "his life to the betterment of humanity as a whole." In 2010, it was announced that Fresco has been selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Exemplar-Zero Initiative in the summer of 2011.

Articles


Films


External links