The Zeitgeist Movement

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The Zeitgeist Movement
Zeitgeist Movement globe.png
Movement logo
Abbreviation TZM
Formation 2008[1]
Type Political movement
Region served Global
Key people Peter Joseph

The Zeitgeist Movement describes itself as a grassroots, sustainability advocacy organization. Established in 2008 by Peter Joseph, the organization says it has no leaders.[2] Zeitgeist group members advocate a transition from the global money-based economic system to what they define as a resource-based economy.[3]

The alternative action movement was popularized in a series of films critical of market capitalism. The films created a political movement that, according to The Telegraph, assumes future generations will view religious ideas as a misleading method of societal control. [4] The Zeitgeist Movement argues that a religious or political ideology is of no value for societal operations but instead the scientific method is the way to develop a system of human equality based on cooperation and a balance of technology and nature.[5]

The name of the group comes from the German word Zeitgeist, which refers to the "spirit of the age" or "spirit of the time."


Following the release of Peter Joseph's first film, Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007),[5] Joseph says fans began asking what to do about issues raised in the film.[6] A sequence at the end of Joseph's second film, Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008), introduced the Zeitgeist Movement.[7] The fans of the first two films became organized into the Zeitgeist Movement.[7]

Zeitgeist formerly described itself as the activist arm of The Venus Project, which was featured in Zeitgeist: Addendum and Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011), but in April 2011 the groups stopped their association with each other.[8]

The Zeitgeist Movement's ideas are presented through local and national chapters and online release of media. [3] Zeitgeist holds an annual event, Z-Day, in March. Z-Day 2014 was held in Toronto, Ontario.


The group describes the current socioeconomic system as structurally corrupt and in need of replacement with their concept of a system based on efficient use of resources and sustainable development.[9] The Zeitgeist Movement advocates renewable energy and automated systems worldwide to collect, process, and distribute food and shelter and necessities of life without using a price system.[5] The movement advocates the elimination of money and private ownership of property in exchange for their version of a resource-based economy.[5]

The Ventura County Reporter, described the views of The Zeitgeist Movement in part thusly: "Our greatest social problems are the direct results of our economic system. The monetary-based system on which the world operates is a broken and corrupt scheme that promotes obsolescence for the sake of profit. Sustainability and resourcefulness only hinder that idea in a monetary-based economy."[3]


The Huffington Post,[5] The New York Times,[9] and The Palm Beach Post[10] have reported critical reactions to various aspects of the Zeitgeist movement, including utopianism, reduced work incentives in their proposed economy, practical difficulties in a transition to that economy, and subscribing to 9/11 conspiracy theories in Zeitgeist: The Movie. The The New York Times article noted that Zeitgeist The Movie may be most famous for alleging that the attacks of Sept. 11 were an “inside job” 'perpetrated by a power-hungry government on its witless population', a point of view that Mr. Joseph said he has recently "moved away from".[9]

In Tablet magazine, journalist Michelle Goldberg criticized Zeitgeist: The Movie as being "steeped in far-right, isolationist, and covertly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories," and called the Zeitgeist movement "the world's first Internet-based cult, with members who parrot the party line with cheerful, rote fidelity".[6]

An article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion describes the movement as an example of a "conspirituality", a synthesis of New Age spirituality and conspiracy theory, asserting that Zeitgeist: The Movie claims that "organised religion is about social control and that 9/11 was an inside job".[11]

Peter Joseph reacted to accusations of the Zeitgeist movement being an 'arm of communism, conspiracy theorists, anarchy, or just wide-eyed dissidents dreaming of an unattainable Utopia' by saying in an interview (Ventura County Reporter): "They call it a utopia and say it can’t happen," "They can’t fathom it because they are so used to the deprived, neurotic, twisted world where people are trying to screw each other over as fast as possible for their own self-interest, which is essentially what this system is based on."[3]

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