A Brief Description of Everything by Buckminster Fuller

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A Brief Description of Everything

by Buckminster Fuller


by Buckminster Fuller


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 [public monetary system].

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 the people.


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.


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 numbers biologically.

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 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 drive [especially with stock-market bubbles].


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 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 socioeconomic issues that were already too complex for omni-specialized society to understand.

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 [1973] 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 [was] $21 billion. [The U.S. national trade debt is now over $6 trillion with respectively preposterous interest payments.]


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 [was] 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 [and electronic manipulation of privately controlled, proprietary vote- counting machinery]. 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 United States. They have gone "world"; they have their own world inter-accounting, which transcends politico-economic sovereign accounting.


In order for a world-around democracy to prosper, world society must learn how to prosper; world society must learn how all this came about.

We discover that, historically, the exclusively agricultural accounting system now being ineptly applied to the 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.


Yet the sovereigns and landlords imposed themselves by force into the metabolic wealth-harvesting and sharing equation even earlier in history.

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 warlords, who suggested that the herder needed "protection" for their defenseless flocks and herds, which were tantalizingly stealable wealth.

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 herders' cattle.


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 account.


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 became negotiable.

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 sound words.

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 metallic money.

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.


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.


The commonwealth of Universe consists entirely of:

(1) physical energy, either in its associative phase as matter, or in its disassociative 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.


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 percent inefficient.

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 [ecological taxation and distribution] 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 aboard Earth.


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 and fear.

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.


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.


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