Jacque Fresco

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Jacque Fresco
Jacque Fresco and lemon tree (cropped).jpg
Born (1916-03-13)March 13, 1916
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Died May 18, 2017(2017-05-18) (aged 101)
Sebring, Florida, U.S.
Cause of death Complications from Parkinson's disease[1]
Occupation Futurist,[2] social engineer,[3] structural engineer, architectural designer, industrial designer, author, lecturer
Known for The Venus Project, resource-based economy ideas.
Notable work Looking Forward[4] (1969), The Best That Money Can't Buy[5] (2002)
Website www.thevenusproject.com

Jacque Fresco (March 13, 1916 – May 18, 2017) was an American futurist[2] and self-described social engineer.[3] Fresco was self-taught and worked in a variety of positions related to industrial design.

Fresco wrote and lectured his views on sustainable cities, energy efficiency, natural-resource management, cybernetic technology, automation, and the role of science in society. Fresco directed the Venus Project.[6] Fresco advocated global implementation of a socioeconomic system which he referred to as a "resource-based economy".[7][8]

Early life

Jacque Fresco was born on March 13, 1916,[9] and grew up in a Sephardi Jewish household,[10] at the family's home in Bensonhurst, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.[11] Fresco was a teenager during the Great Depression.

Fresco spent time with friends discussing Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, science, and the future.[12] Fresco attended the Young Communist League. After a discussion with the league president during a meeting, Fresco was "physically ejected" after loudly stating that "Karl Marx was wrong!"[13] Fresco left home at the age of 14, hitchhiking and "jumping" trains as one of the so-called "Wild Boys of the Road".[14] Fresco later turned his attention to technocracy.[12]

Career

Aircraft industry

Fresco worked at Douglas Aircraft Company in California during the late 1930s.[13][15] He presented designs including a flying wing[16] and a disk-shaped aircraft. Some of his designs were considered impractical at the time and Fresco's design ideas were not adopted.[17] Fresco resigned from Douglas because of design disagreements.[13][17]

In 1942, Fresco was drafted into the United States Army.[12][18] He was assigned technical design duties for the United States Army Air Forces at Wright Field design laboratories in Dayton, Ohio.[12][17][19][20] One design he produced was a "radical variable camber wing" with which he attempted to optimize flight control by allowing the pilot to adjust the thickness and lift of the wings during flight.[21][22] Fresco did not adjust to military life and was discharged.[12]

Model of the Trend Home

Trend Home

Fresco was commissioned by Earl "Madman" Muntz, to design housing that was low cost. Muntz invested $500,000 seed money in the project. Fresco, 32 years old at the time, along with his associates Harry Giaretto and Eli Catran conceived, designed and engineered a project house called the Trend Home.[23] Fresco came closest to traditional career success with this project. Built mostly of aluminum and glass, it was on prominent display at Stage 8 of the Warner Bros. Sunset Lot in Hollywood for three months. The home could be toured for one dollar, with proceeds going to the Cancer Prevention Society. In the summer of 1948, a Federal Housing Administration official met Muntz about the project. The official's proposal, according to Muntz, would add a bureaucratic overhead negating the low production costs. Without federal or further private funding the project did not go into mass production. This experience led Fresco to the conclusion that society would have to be changed for his inventions to reach their potential.[11][24]

Scientific Research Laboratories

In the late 1940s, Fresco created and was director of Scientific Research Laboratories in Los Angeles.[20][25] Here he also gave lectures, and taught technical design,[13] meanwhile researching and working on inventions as a freelance inventor and scientific consultant.[26] During this period, Fresco struggled to get his research funded[27] and faced setbacks and financial difficulties. In 1955, Fresco left California after his laboratory was removed to build the Golden State Freeway.[13][15]

Midlife

In 1955 Fresco moved to Miami, Florida. He opened a business as a psychological consultant, but had no formal schooling in the subject.[15] Receiving a "barrage of criticism" from the American Psychological Association Fresco stopped that business.[15] In a newspaper article from that time period Fresco claimed to have a degree from Sierra University, Los Angeles, California, which is unverified.[28]

Fresco described white supremacist organizations he joined to test the feasibility of changing people. He tells of joining a local Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Council in an attempt to change their views about racial discrimination.[29]

In Miami Fresco presented designs of a circular city.[30] Fresco made his living working as an industrial designer for various companies such as Alcoa and the Major Realty Corporation.[15]

In 1961, with Pietro Belluschi and C. Frederick Wise,[31] Fresco collaborated on a project, known as the Sandwich House.[15] Consisting of mostly prefabricated components, partitions, and aluminum, it sold for $2,950, or $7,500 with foundation and all internal installations.[31] During this period, Fresco supported his projects by designing prefabricated aluminum devices through Jacque Fresco Enterprises Inc.[32]

From 1955 to 1969 Fresco named his social ideas "Project Americana".

Looking Forward

Looking Forward was published in 1969. Author Ken Keyes Jr., and Jacques Fresco coauthored the book. Looking Forward, is a speculative look at the future. The authors picture an ideal 'cybernetic society in which want has been banished and work and personal possessions no longer exist; individual gratification is the total concern'.[33]

Sociocyberneering, Inc.

Fresco formed "Sociocyberneering", a membership organization claiming 250 members, according to an interview with Fresco.[34] He hosted lectures in Miami Beach and Coral Gables[35][36] Fresco promoted his organization by lecturing at universities[37] and appearing on radio and television.[38][39] Although Fresco is presented as a 'Doctor' on the Larry King show there is no evidence of that being the case. Fresco did not complete high school.[40] Fresco's "sociocyberneering" as a membership group was discontinued and land was purchased at another location in rural Venus, Florida. He established his home and research center there.[41]

The Venus Project and later career

Construction in Venus
Fresco with Roxanne Meadows in Venus

Fresco, with Meadows, supported the project in the 1990s through freelance inventing,[42] industrial engineering, conventional architectural modeling, and invention consultations.[11]

In 2002, Fresco published his main work The Best That Money Can't Buy. In 2006, William Gazecki directed the semi-biographical film about Fresco, Future by Design.[43] In 2008, Peter Joseph featured Fresco in the film Zeitgeist Addendum where his ideas of the future were given as possible alternatives. Peter Joseph, founder of the Zeitgeist Movement began advocating Fresco's approach. In April 2012, the two groups disassociated due to disagreements regarding goals and objectives.[11]

In 2010, Fresco attempted to trademark the phrase "resource-based economy".[44] The phrase was reviewed and found to be too generic, so the trademark was denied.

Throughout 2010, Fresco traveled with Meadows, worldwide to promote interest in the Venus Project.[45][46] On January 15, 2011, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward was released in theaters, featuring Fresco.[47]

In November 2011, Fresco spoke to protesters at the "occupy Miami" site at Government Center in Miami.[48] In April 2012, Roxanne Meadows released a film, Paradise or Oblivion, summarizing the goals and proposals of the Venus Project.[49] In June 2012, Maja Borg screened her film, Future My Love, at the Edinburgh International Film Festival featuring the work of Fresco and Roxanne Meadows.[50][51]

Fresco held lectures and tours at the Venus Project location.[52]

Personal life and family

Fresco was born to immigrants from the Middle East, Isaac and Lena Fresco.[9] His father was born in 1880[53] and around 1905 immigrated from Istanbul to New York where he worked as a horticulturalist.[9] He died in 1963.[53] Fresco's mother was born in 1887[54] in Jerusalem and also migrated to New York around 1904.[9] She died in 1988.[54] Fresco was brother to two siblings,[9] a sister, Freda, and a brother, David.

Fresco had two marriages when he lived in Los Angeles and carried his second marriage through his first couple of years in Miami.[20] He divorced his second wife in 1957 and remained unmarried thereafter.[55] His second wife, Patricia, gave birth to a son, Richard, in 1953 and a daughter, Bambi, in 1956. Richard was an army private[56] and died in 1976.[57] Bambi died of cancer in 2010.[58]

Fresco died on May 18, 2017 in his sleep at his home in Sebring, Florida, from complications of Parkinson's disease at the age of 101.[59][1]

Roxanne Meadows assisted Fresco from 1976. As Fresco's domestic partner and administrative colleague, she oversees much of the management of the Venus Project.[11]

Critical appraisals

It's a "lack of professional engagement", William Gazecki who in 2006 completed Future by Design, a feature-length profile of Jacque Fresco says, that hurt Fresco the most. "The real missing link in Jacque's world is having put Jacque to work," Gazecki says, "[It's] exemplified when people say: ‘Well, show me some buildings he's built. And I don't mean the domes out in Venus. I mean, let's see an office building, let's see a manufacturing plant, let's see a circular city.' And that's where he should have been 30 years ago. He should have been applying his work, in the real world ... [but] he's not a collaborator, and I think that's why he's never had great public achievements."[60]

When asked by a reporter why he had such difficulty actualizing his many ideas, Fresco responded, "Because I can't get to anybody."[61]

Views on Fresco

Fresco's critical view of modern economics has been compared to Thorstein Veblen's concept of "the predatory phase in human development", according to an article in the journal Society and Business Review.[62][63] Grønborg has labeled other facets of Fresco's ideology a "tabula rasa approach".[64]

Synergetics theorist Arthur Coulter called Fresco's city designs "organic" and "evolutionary", rather than revolutionary.[65] Coulter posits such cities as the answer to Walter B. Cannon's idea of achieving homeostasis for society.[65]

Hypothetical form of government

Fresco described his form of governance in this way: "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."[64]

Ludwig von Mises Institute scholar Robert P. Murphy has raised the economic calculation problem against a resource-based economy.[66] In a resource-based economy, Murphy claims there is no ability to calculate the availability and desirability of resources because the price mechanism is not utilized. Addressing this aspect, another article in the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, states criticism of "central plannings" computation problem applies to the ideas of Fresco.[67]

Question of utopianism

The Venus Project states on its website that it is not utopian.[68] Nikolina Olsen-Rule, writing for the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, supports this idea,

"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."[69]

Morten Grønborg, also of Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, points out the Venus Project is,

"... 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."[70]

Comments on Fresco

Hans-Ulrich Obrist wrote that "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."[71]

Fresco's work gained the attention of science fiction enthusiast and critic Forrest J Ackerman.[12] Fresco later attracted Star Trek animator, Doug Drexler, who worked with Fresco to produce several computer renderings of his designs.[72]

Commenting on Fresco, physicist Paul G. Hewitt wrote that Fresco inspired him toward a career in physical science.[35][73]

Awards

In July 2016, Jacque Fresco received a NOVUS Summit award for City Design/Community. NOVUS Summit is supported by UN DESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs).[74]

Works

Books

External video
Welcome to the Future on YouTube (1998)
Cities in the Sea on YouTube (2002)
Self-erecting Structures on YouTube (2002)
Designing the Future on YouTube (2006)
Paradise or Oblivion on YouTube (2012)
The Choice is Ours on YouTube (2016) Produced/Directed by Roxanne Meadows and Joel Holt
"The Venus Project – A New World System | Full Documentary". May 11, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016. 

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "RIP Jacque Fresco, the mind died but the idea lives on.". Indestructible Ideas. May 22, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "The World According to Fresco". IFF. Retrieved April 1, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Jacque Fresco – Social Engineer – Legendado Português.". dotsub. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ http://www.thevenusproject.com/downloads/ebooks/looking_forward/Looking-Forward-v2.pdf
  5. ^ http://zgm.se/files/Books/The-Best-That-Money-Cant-Buy.pdf
  6. ^ Diverse City, Inc., Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, archived from the original on December 20, 2013, retrieved May 28, 2013 
  7. ^ "TEDxOjai – Jacque Fresco – Resource Based Economy". YouTube. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  8. ^ "BBC News – Tomorrow's cities: How the Venus Project is redesigning the future". Bbc.co.uk. August 26, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e 1930 Census (Original Document), Brooklyn, New York: U.S. Department of Commerce, April 3, 1930 
  10. ^ "Brave New World". Tablet. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Gore, Jeff (October 13, 2011). "The view from Venus – News & Features". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Rolfe, Lionel (1998), "Unpopular Science", Fat Man on the Left, Los Angeles: California Classics Books, pp. 166–170, ISBN 978-1-879395-01-5 
  13. ^ a b c d e Rolfe, Lionel (1998), "Unpopular Science", Fat Man on the Left, Los Angeles: California Classics Books, pp. 158–161, ISBN 978-1-879395-01-5 
  14. ^ Gore, Jeff. "The view from Venus". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved October 28, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Mac. (December 31, 1961). "A Look Ahead Through Fresco's Window". Florida Living Magazine. Miami. pp. 2–3. 
  16. ^ I. "Flying Wing", Great Lakes Technocrat, 11 (11): 34, Jul–Aug 1944 
  17. ^ a b c Andreeva, Tamara. (March 6, 1950). "Advanced Plane Ideas Rejected". Abilene Reporter-News. Abilene, Texas. p. 9. 
  18. ^ "NARA – AAD – Display Full Records – Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 – 1946 (Enlistment Records)". Aad.archives.gov. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  19. ^ Scully, Frank (1950), "The Aerodynamic Correction", Behind the Flying Saucers, New York: Henry Holt & Co., pp. 122–123 
  20. ^ a b c "A Trip to the Moon" (PDF). Miami Herald Sunday Magazine. Miami, Florida. April 8, 1956. pp. Section G. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 27, 2013. 
  21. ^ Corporation, Bonnier (May 1947), "Wing Changes Its Camber", Popular Science, 150 (5): 115 
  22. ^ "Hydraulic Jack to Alter Airplane Wing's Camber", Science News Letter, 50 (20): 310, November 16, 1946, JSTOR 3923108 
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  24. ^ Rolfe, Lionel. "Fat Man on the Left: Four Decades in the Underground". California Classics Books. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Business Search – Business Entities – Business Programs". Kepler.sos.ca.gov. Archived from the original on April 2, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  26. ^ Magazines, Hearst (Dec 1955), "Plastics with a Charge Have Magical Effects", Popular Mechanics, 104 (6): 149 
  27. ^ Andreeva, Tamara. (March 3, 1950). "Frustrated Genius". Olean Times Herald. New York. p. 13. 
  28. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 27, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  29. ^ Fresco, Jacque (January 28, 2012). "The Immaculate Pig Experiment". TVP Magazine. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Floating Cities and Resource-Based Economies". News.co.cr. February 27, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "$2,950 House Shell Made of Aluminum". The New York Times. New York. May 28, 1961. pp. 1R, 8R. 
  32. ^ I. Corporation, Bonnier (March 1967), "We've Changed The Rules", Popular Science, 190V (3): 215 
    • II. Watson, Ernest William; Guptill, Arthur Leighton (March 1967), "Rack 'Em Up", American Artist, 31 (3): 8 
    • III. "Pamper Your Pipes", Esquire: 163, March 1967 
    • IV. Jacque Fresco Enterprises Inc., Florida Department of State Division of Corporations, retrieved May 28, 2013 
  33. ^ Cross, Michael S. (1970), "Review: 'Looking Forward'", Library Journal, 94: 612 
  34. ^ Hagan, Alisa. (June 13, 1979). "Environmentalists Put City of Future on Display" (PDF). Hollywood Sun Tattler. Hollywood, Florida. p. 1. 
  35. ^ a b Hewitt, Paul G. (2010), "Rotational Motion", Conceptual physics, Boston: Pearson/Addison-Wesley, p. 122, ISBN 978-0-13-137583-3 
  36. ^ Jenrette, David. (February 11, 1971), "Jacques Fresco", Gold Coast Free Press, 1 (1): 10 
  37. ^ I. The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Annual Report (Original Document). Miami: The University of Miami. 1970. 
    • II. Bassett, Melanie. (March 6, 1970). "Man Need Not Fear Machine". The Carolinian. Raleigh, North Carolina. p. 4. 
    • III. "Series to Explore Suicide or Survival". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. April 23, 1970. pp. 3B. 
    • IV. Steigleman, Walt. (October 20, 1971). "'Jules Vernesque' City Shows Plans at USF". The Oracle. Tampa, Florida. p. 9. 
  38. ^ The Larry King Show (August 19, 1974). Larry King Interview (Television). Miami: WTVJ 4. 
  39. ^ Renick, Ralph; Abrell, Joe; Fresco, Jacque (January 26, 1974). Montage Interview (Television). Montage (WTVJ). 
  40. ^ http://www.knowledgeoftoday.org/2012/01/jacque-fresco-interview-larry-king-1974.html Retrieved October-28-2015
  41. ^ Tice, Neysa. (October 29, 1981). "Venus Is Headquarters For Sociocyberneering Research Center" (PDF). Lake Placid Journal. Lake Placid, Florida. pp. 1B. 
  42. ^ Eyman, Scott. (July 14, 1985). "The Great Idea Chase". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. p. 7. 
  43. ^ Gazecki, W. (2006). Future by Design. on YouTube Docflix.
  44. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". tmportal.uspto.gov. Resource Based Economy Trademark, United States Patent & Trademark Office. 
  45. ^ Face of the Future (Digital Video). TV New Zealand. 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  46. ^ World Tour Lecture Dates
  47. ^ Joseph P. (2011). "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward" on YouTube
  48. ^ Tracy, Liz (November 19, 2011). "The Venus Project's Jacque Fresco Lectures Occupy Miami on His Visions of a Utopian Future". Miami New Times. Miami, Florida. 
  49. ^ "Free Documentary Solves Global Debt Crisis in 48 Minutes". PRWeb. April 15, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  50. ^ Adams, Mark (June 22, 2012). "Future My Love (Review)". Screen Daily. 
  51. ^ EDI Film Fest, edifilmfest.org
  52. ^ Newman, Alex (March 10, 2011). "Zeitgeist and the Venus Project". The New American. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  53. ^ a b Social Security Death Index Master File: Isaac Fresco, Social Security Administration 
  54. ^ a b Social Security Death Index Master File: Lena Fresco, Social Security Administration 
  55. ^ Florida Divorce Index, Miami, Florida: Florida Department of Health, July 1957 
  56. ^ I. "2 Sikh Converts Charged By Army". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. September 20, 1973. p. 2. 
  57. ^ Social Security Death Index Master File: Richard Fresco, Social Security Administration 
  58. ^ "Bambi Fresco Obituary – Venus, Florida". Tributes.com. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  59. ^ https://www.thevenusproject.com
  60. ^ Gore, Jeff (October 13, 2011). "The view from Venus – News & Features". Orlando Weekly. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  61. ^ 7 News Features: The Venus Project (Digital Video). WSVN 7 News. 2009. Archived from the original on March 23, 2011. 
  62. ^ Humphries, Maria; St Jane, Michelle (2011), "Transformative Learning in Troubling Times: Investing in Hope", Society and Business Review, 6 (1): 31 
  63. ^ For the term "predatory phase", see also the quote from Thorstein Veblen's book The Theory of the Leisure Class, Chapter One: Introductory (Gutenberg Project): "The predatory phase of culture is attained only when the predatory attitude has become the habitual and accredited spiritual attitude for the members of the group; when the fight has become the dominant note in the current theory of life; when the common-sense appreciation of men and things has come to be an appreciation with a view to combat."
  64. ^ a b Grønborg, Morten (2010), "The World According to Fresco", Future Orientation (1): 15–19, archived from the original on May 19, 2012 
  65. ^ a b Coulter, Arthur. (Oct 1996), "The Venus Project: A Review", Journal of the Synergetic Society, No. 247: 10 
  66. ^ Murphy, Robert P. (August 30, 2010). "Venus Needs Some Austrians". Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  67. ^ Engelhardt, Lucas (Summer 2013), "Central Planning's Computation Problem Review" (PDF), Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, 16 (2): 229 
  68. ^ "About". The Venus Project. Retrieved April 1, 2016. 
  69. ^ Olsen-Rule, Nikolina (2010), "Utopian Spaces", Future Orientation, Issue 1: 41, Archived from the original on March 31, 2013 
  70. ^ Grønborg, Morten (2010), "Editorial: Utopia", Future Orientation, 1: 5 
  71. ^ Obrist, Hans-Ulrich (Dec 2007), "Futures, Cities", Journal of Visual Culture, 6 (3): 360 
  72. ^ Doug Drexler (2006). Doug Drexler Interview (Digital Video). Docflix. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  73. ^ "Author Interviews: Paul G. Hewitt". Pearson. 2003. Archived from the original on November 4, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  74. ^ "Jacque Fresco (Social Engineer) – NOVUS Award Ceremony, NOVUS Summit 2016". webtv.un.org. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 

External links