Integrity, to Buckminster Fuller, represented the degree to which any design or system actively enhances the regenerative processes that support life on Earth. Thirty years ago, he wrote the cautionary tale Grunch of Giants to warn of the immediate dangers posed by the lack of integrity within the “invisible, abstract, and completely ruthless” empire of corporations that control the world’s finances. Dubbing this corrupt system theGross Universal Cash Heist (GRUNCH), he argued that, as a non-living entity, it was incapable of recognizing how its legal mandate to maximize monetary gains by socializing risks and privatizing profits were in direct opposition to the long-term requirements for human survival.
The expanding occupations and protests around the world directed towards the global economic system testify to the prescience of Fuller’s critique concerning the lack of integrity within manufactured scarcity. The myriad of issues driving unrest reflects a rising awareness that the challenges facing humanity cannot be effectively addressed in isolation. They are in fact interconnected symptoms of a dominant socio-economic environment that is not designed to adequately support 100% of humanity.
Fuller argued that we must begin to transform this dysfunctional system by recognizing that it confuses money with wealth. He maintained that money is “a medium of exchange and a cash accounting system,” while wealth is the “organized technological capability to protect, nurture, educate, and accommodate the forward days of humans” that arises from supporting the integrity of living systems. Based on his calculations of world resources, human trends and needs, he demonstrated that it would be possible to support all of humanity at a better standard of living than ever before if the production capacity and technical know-how of global society were properly applied. Instead of fighting to tear down the existing system, he sought to harness its technological and economic forces to shift “from weaponry to livingry” through the problem-solving approach he called comprehensive anticipatory design science.
~ David McConville, President of the Board, Buckminister Fuller Society