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Everything You Need to Know But Forgot to Ask (english)
by R. Buckminster Fuller
Email: jpchance (nospam) egroups.com
Address: 72 Peterborough Street, Boston MA 02215 USA
23 Oct 2002
The first manifestation that humanity may make good on this planet is the serious introduction of cosmic costing into the mainstream deliberations of Earthians....
Everything You Need to Know But Forgot to Ask
by R. Buckminster Fuller www.bfi.org
HAMILTON vs JEFFERSON
In the decades immediately following America's successful 1776
revolution, a group of political strategists led by Alexander
Hamilton persuaded the Congress of the United States that it was not
the intention of the founders of the republic that their government
should have any capital-wealth-initiating capability.
Wealth, they maintained, was a mysterious reality that emanated
exclusively from inherited fortunes and the private ventures of large
landowners. There were no government or public inspections of the
nature of their wealth other than the self-evident land and the
publicly registered deeds of ownership.
All the U.S. Government's financial needs, said the Hamiltonians,
must be underwritten by funds from these for the first time
exclusive, self-accredited, wealthy individuals, loaned to the
government through the wealthy citizens "banks," and must be repaid
to their banks by the government with funds raised by taxation from
DEBT vs WEALTH
And this exclusively negative, politically sustained interpretation
provides the legal precedent for today's limited liability privilege
of bank's and insurance corporations to loan out at interest to
humanity (as government of individuals) the very same earnings and
savings deposits that humanity had entrusted to the banks and
insurers for safekeeping.
Unauthorized by the depositors and unbeknownst to them, the banks
have been loaning out the deposits of the borrowers themselves. Thus
the banks are "justified" by precedent in paying exclusively to
themselves the interest earned on the deposits.
BANKING vs BIOLOGY
Since the deposited monies are not biological, those monies cannot
actually multiply in physical-energy fact.
The "interest" earnings were predicated historically on the use of
cattle as currency – a real currency that did indeed multiply its
That present paper and metal money cannot multiply the so-called
earnings of interest on it means automatic increase of the number of
dollars in respect to the true wealth of life-support items for which
the money is exchanged.
Thus interest charges on non-biological money automatically deflate
the value of the money.
The banks' continuing escalation of discount and interest rates [or
stock-market and real-estate inflation] progressively devalues
humanity’s commonwealth equity while siphoning over the deposited
wealth into the banks' credit accounts, so that the depositors’
realized funds of later years have only a fraction of the buying
power they had commanded at the time of deposit.
The banks of 1970 have all but abandoned their specious
representation, popularly advertised until the time of the 1929
crash, that suggested that the individual's consistent bank-deposited
savings would continually grow, ultimately to provide handsomely for
the individual's old-age needs.
But the myth persists as a popular concept and as a psychological
CRASH & DEPRESSION
The American banker’s "wealth bluffing" poker hands were "called" for
the first time in the 1929-1933 stock-market crash and Depression.
Their empty-handedness occurred because:
1) the banks themselves had no real wealth, and
2) the banks had used the depositors’ funds as investments elsewhere
in "non-liquid cash" ventures.
These frozen resources brought about unmeetable "runs" and bankruptcy
of the banks.
After Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the U.S. government reopened the
"banks" with public knowledge of the fact that the people's deposits
were now being guaranteed only by the people's government, and not by
the bankers or by private-enterprise wealth.
The banks and their managers, "owners," and employees were then put
under stiff government regulation. Thus the U.S. Congress and
administration socialized the banking system, but without saying so
in a forthright manner. The people's government, and not the
bankers, became the guarantor of last recourse.
The reestablishment of the "banks" were restored by the New Deal only
because people were accustomed to placing their savings in the
safekeeping of banks, considering them less subject to robbery than
when hidden under mattresses.
The Roosevelt administration found it easier to yield to this
popularly conditioned reflex than to re-educate the people on
economics. The public of 1933 knew little or nothing of the
Alexander Hamilton fiscal coup of a century earlier.
THE WARFARE STATE
The U.S. Reconstitution Finance Corporation – which rehabilitated and
refurbished the prime industrial production corporations such as U.S.
Steel – plus World War II further confused the socio-economic issues
that were already too complex for omni-specialized society to
Most of the humans who remember the great crash bankruptcy, which
peaked to a 5,000 failed-bank crescendo in late 1932, are now dead,
and the New Deal's invention of non-banker banks, with postal-clerk
status bank employees, has been perpetuated and transformed, through
enormous political maneuvering and obscure economic semantics.
As a consequence, the bank stockholders have succeeded in regaining
their debt-exploiting prerogatives, thereby running the U.S. national
debt  to a record $400 billion "owed" to them, on the books
with intensely interesting "interest" to the banks, insurance
companies, and their bond-buying customers.
The annual interest on this is $21 billion. The U.S. national-debt
service of $21 billion interest was equal, pre-Nixon, to one-half the
value of all the monetary gold in the world.
With the U.S. Dollar in 1972 realistically deflated 50 percent by
true world-market, international-trading value, the Nixon $21 billion
public-debt interest is annually equal in value only to one-eighth
the world's monetary gold.
This obscurely managed, complex system of wealth now promises again
to bankrupt the U.S. people, whose presidential elections can only be
won through corrupting, multimillion-dollar TV-time-buying campaigns.
This could bring about the end of a sovereign United States and swift
emergence of its people as world citizens.
Unnoticed among all the world-political-crisis news, the 155 largest
industrial corporations born and developed in the United States had
committed 80 percent of their wealth to operations outside of the
They have gone "world"; they have their own world inter-accounting,
which transcends politico-economic sovereign accounting.
FEUDALISM vs COMMONWEALTH
In order for a world-around democracy to prosper, world society must
learn how to prosper; world society must learn how all this came
We discover that, historically, the exclusively agricultural
accounting system now being ineptly applied to word industrialization
began with a sovereign's claim to the lands established by his
conquering "deeds or arms."
Public recognition of the claims was secured by the sovereign's
continued and ever-increasing armed might.
The sovereign of his or her assignees then issued paper deeds to
great lands to pay for the armed deeds of their comrades-in-arms who
became the lords of all the conquered lands other than the king's.
This landlordism, or land ownership, was originally dispensed from
deeds of war.
Then the great landlords loaned or sold parcels of their lands to
share-cropping farmers who had to pay the landlord a tithe, or rent,
and "interest" out of the wealth produced by nature within which to
store the grains collected in the basket (fiscus is Latin for basket;
thus the fiscal year is that which winds up within the basketed
measuring the net grains harvested).
The real pay-off, or course, was in regenerative metabolic increments
of the botanical photosynthetic impoundment of Sun radiation and
hydrocarbon molecules' structuring and proliferation through
hydrogenic and biological inter-accommodations.
Obviously none of this natural, wealth-regenerating and multiplying
process was accreditable to the landlords.
COERCION vs COOPERATION
Yet the sovereigns and landlords imposed themselves by force into the
metabolic wealth-harvesting and sharing equation even earlier in
Nomadic tribal herders – after wandering the seemingly infinite
wilderness for millions of years, as their semi-domesticated cattle
led them to verdant pastures – found the once free, open land being
gradually claimed, proclaimed, and patrolled by the most powerful
armed war lords, who suggested that the herder needed "protection"
for their defenseless flocks and herds, which were tantalizingly
The roving, sword-brandishing strongmen imposed their "protection" on
all comers within their realms and battled with other strongmen to
increase their respective territories.
Finally, the herders were forced to "buy" the lands they roam from
the lords who sold the herders their "own" special ranches.
The ranches were sold at prices far beyond the herders' total savings
in skins or total livestock value, so the landlords "loaned" the
herder the down-payment purchasing price to acquire the ranch while
the lord took back, and held as collateral a number of heads of the
From collateral, the lord took as "payment in kind" both the annual
reduction in total purchase price and – to cover "interest" – the
young cattle bred seasonally. The word capital (capita in Latin,
originally referring to heads of cattle) was thus derived.
The herder hopefully earned (i.e. bred) enough additional heads of
cattle eventually to pay off the landlord in kind.
In later millenniums the herder could sell his cattle in exchange for
the landlord's inanimate, non-herding money in the form of coins and
thus repay the landlord or traffic in other goods, all of which had
fallen prey to the landlord's "protection."
During the interim the cattle deposited as collateral continued to
breed, and the newborn cattle became basic "interest" claimed
unilaterally by the landlord and appropriated exclusively to his own
THE BIRTH OF MONEY
Metallic coin money was invented only four millenniums ago when ships
capable of sustaining sea commerce were developed. It became
impractical for traders to carry aboard ship cattle with which to
negotiate, so coins with patterns of sovereign conquerors gradually
Both phonetic spellings and coined money were the "inventions of
necessity" of the Phoenicians. Overseas traders needed negotiability
written words with which to contract long-term trading arrangements
between people who never came into direct contact with one another
and knew little or nothing of the language, conditions, and resources
prevailing in the mystically far-apart lands of those with whom they
traded. The Phoenecian's phonetic alphabet provided graphic symbols
for sounds, and thus made possible the spelling out of any language's
After a millennium or so of high-seas battling, of sea lords, such as
the Vikings (Veekings) and other great pirate-fleet operators who
imposed their "protection" on great empires, the Veeking Phoenicians,
or Fenecians, became the Benetians of Venezia.
Shakespeare's merchant of Venice, and this attempt to substitute
human flesh for live cattle flesh as collateral for the banker's
trade "accommodations," dramatizes the nonsense of equating that
which is biologically productive and the "protector's" non-productive
Society no longer equates the "protection"-imposing racketeer with
the banking establishment. But this long-ago, muscle-warped concept
of wealth, and the unjust and lethally conclusive way in which it was
established ("to whom this and that belonged"), was developed over
the millenniums in just this manner.
THE DEATH OF MONEY
Considered independently of yesterday's dubious claim, the
exclusively biological premises of the agrarian era are utterly
inapplicable to the new, inanimate, industrial metabolics.
The difference is that existing between failure-prone, local
agricultural metabolics and the never-failing eternally
inter-regenerative, radiation-mass-radiation-mass recycling that
characterizes the fail-proof metabolics of a universe and its
increasing availability to humanity aboard planet Earth.
Only through the human mind does the inexhaustible cosmic wealth
become increasingly available for local terrestrial evolution.
This harnessing of eternally inexhaustible energy into human-task
powering can be factually accounted for as part of the irreversibly
amplifying inventory of metaphysical know-how.
ENERGY & INFORMATION
The commonwealth of Universe consists entirely of:
1) physical energy, either in its associative phase as matter, or in
its dis-associative phase as radiation (both of which phases are
eternally and completely inter-transforming without any overall loss
by the universe); and
2) abstract, weightless metaphysical laws, knowledge of which, and
know-how to employ which, constitute humanity's most unique faculty.
Since first, the physical cannot "wear out" or decrease and, second,
the know-how can only increase, wealth, consisting entirely and only
of the physical and metaphysical, can only increase.
EFFICIENCY vs WASTE
Throughout the multi-millions of years of humanity's known presence
aboard planet Earth – until the inception a century ago of applied
science’s conversion of water-wheel and steam-engine power through
electro-magnetic regenerators distantly delivered by wire to
electric-motor driven or heated or refrigerated tools – 99 percent of
the total energy consumed and used by humanity was consumed as food
to power both humans and domestic animals.
In the U.S.A., in 1971, only 1 percent of all the energy consumed was
in the form of food to support muscle-accomplished work, while 99
percent of the energy was consumed by inanimate power-driven tools
and electro-chemical processes.
Twenty percent of all the inanimate energy was consumed by
automobiles; that is, the American automobiles consumed twenty times
as much energy as that going to feed Americans.
In America, at all times, 2 million cars are halted at stoplights
with their engines running. This means that the equivalent of 200
million horses are jumping up and down going nowhere.
While human metabolic processes are far from 100 percent efficient in
converting food energy to realized foot-pounds of work, humanity’s
ignorant, sheepish waste of both its muscle power and technological
power is horrendous.
Mechanical efficiency is expressed in relative percentages of work
realized per units of energy consumed: water wheels are 90 percent;
fuel cells, 80 percent; jet engines, 60 percent; turbines, 30
percent; reciprocating engines, 15 percent.
But as operated, all the work that humanity gets out of its
technology is 5 percent of the potential 100 percent energy consumed.
Only one-twentieth of all the energy consumed by humanity produced
physical work is either useful or wasteful.
Out of every 100 barrels of petroleum distributed and consumed by
world society today, 80 barrels are completely wasted, going into
powering machines and processes that, averaged overall, are 80
Scientific calculation shows that the amount of time and energy
invested by nature to produce one gallon of petroleum, "safety
deposited" in subterranean oil wells, when calculated in foot-pounds
of work and chemical time converted into kilowatt-hours and at the
present commercial rates at which electricity is sold, amounts to
approximately $1 million per gallon of petroleum as cosmically
developed prior to its discovery and exploitation by humans.
When humans discovered the petroleum, they wrongly assumed that it
was absolutely free and belonged to the finder. Humans take into
account only the cost of pumping, processing, and distributing oil.
Anyone should be able to sell a million dollars for fifty cents!
Only cosmic costing properly accounts for the entirely biological
evolution and cosmic inter-transformative regeneration in general, as
well as for the parts played gravitationally and radiationally in the
astro-totality within which our minuscule planet Earth and its
minuscule star – the Sun – are inter-functionally secreted.
Cosmic costing makes utterly ludicrous the selfish and fearfully
contrived "wealth" games being reverentially played by humanity
Fortunately, the Sun does not demand for all the energy that it
delivers by radiation to Earth in the overall cosmic scheme, which is
trying to make humanity a success despite its overwhelming ignorance
The stars – the Sun – are trying to tell humanity to awake and
prosper and to consciously assume the important cosmic
responsibilities for which it was designed.
Since realization and fulfillment of that responsibility involve
evolutionary discovery by humanity of the cosmic stature of its mind
and the inconsequentiality of its muscle, the planting of humans on
Earth may not bear fruit.
ACTION OR OBLIVION
When Universe is developing important functional dependencies, she
does not put all her embryos in the same locale. So poor is the
probability of self-discovery by humans of the infinite potential of
the mind and the relative triviality of muscle power that nature must
have planted a myriad of humanity seedlings on a myriad of planets.
The first manifestation that humanity may make good on this planet is
the serious introduction of cosmic costing into the mainstream
deliberations of Earthians.
It completely eliminates the economic validity of bankruptcy
accounting, except when humans make the mistake of trying to hoard or
withdraw critical "capital" assets from productive functioning.
It is akin to attempting to withdraw one of the stars from the
celestial system. Into what universe, other than the cosmic
totality, may the star be transferred?
Every atom and electron is an essential part of the eternally
regenerative, ergo totally inexhaustible, (but always locally ebbing
and flooding), pulsative Universe.
Buckminster Fuller's COSMIC COSTING originally appeared in Saturday
Review/World in February 1973. It was reprinted in TrimTab
http://bfi.org during Autumn 1990 and in Solar Mind during