The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance, Author: Brett Scott.
The Curse of Cash, Author: Kenneth Rogoff.
By Brett Scott – So here I am, the tired individual rationally seeking sugar. The market is before me, fizzy drinks stacked on a shelf, presided over by a vending machine acting on behalf of the cola seller. It’s an obedient mechanical apparatus that is supposed to abide by a simple market contract: If you give money to my owner, I will give you a Coke. So why won’t this goddamn machine enter into this contract with me?
This is market failure.
To understand this failure, we must first understand that we live with two modes of money. ‘Cash’ is the name given to our system of physical tokens that are manually passed on to complete transactions. This first mode of money is public. We might call it ‘state money’. Indeed, we experience cash like a public utility that is ‘just there’.
This second mode of money is essentially private, running off an infrastructure collectively controlled by profit-seeking commercial banks and a host of private payment intermediaries – like Visa and Mastercard – that work with them. The data inscriptions in your bank account are not state money.
Rather, your bank account records private promises issued to you by your bank, promising you access to state money should you wish. Having ‘£500’ in your Barclays account actually means ‘Barclays PLC promises you access to £500’. The ATM network is the main way by which you convert these private bank promises – ‘deposits’ – into the state cash that has been promised to you. The digital payments system, on the other hand, is a way to transfer – or reassign – those bank promises between ourselves.
The cashless society – which more accurately should be called the bank-payments society – is often presented as an inevitability, an outcome of ‘natural progress’. This claim is either naïve or disingenuous. Any future cashless bank-payments society will be the outcome of a deliberate war on cash waged by an alliance of three elite groups with deep interests in seeing it emerge. more> https://goo.gl/KRlMGW
Posted in Banking, Book review, Broadband, Business, Economy, Net, Technology
Tagged Banking reform, Broadband, Business improvement, Cashless, Credit, Payments
By E J Spode – We need to talk about trust and its place in the fabric of our lives. Trust seems to be in short supply these days, although we have no choice but to rely on it.
We trust schools and babysitters to look after our children. We trust banks to hold our money and to transfer it safely for us. We trust insurance companies to pay us should we meet with some disaster. When we make a large purchase – such as a house – we trust our solicitors or an escrow company to hold the funds until the transaction is complete. We trust regulators and governments to make sure these institutions are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
A good way to wrap our minds around ‘blockchain’ concept is to think of its most famous application: Bitcoin. And the best way to think about Bitcoin is not in terms of coins at all but rather as a giant ledger.
Bitcoin is just one version of the blockchain. The fundamental technology has the potential to replace a much wider range of human institutions in which we use trust to reach a consensus about a state of affairs. It could provide a definitive record for property transfers, from diamonds to Porsches to original Picassos. It could be used to record contracts, to certify the authenticity of valuable goods, or to securely store your health records (and keep track of anyone who’s ever accessed them).
But there’s a catch: what about the faithful ‘execution’ of a contract? Doesn’t that require trust as well?
What good is an agr’ement, after all, if the text is there but people don’t respect it, and don’t follow through on their obligations? more> https://goo.gl/rW7huO
Posted in Banking, Broadband, Economic development, Economy, Education, Net, Technology
Tagged Banking reform, Blockchain, Broadband, Business improvement, Capital, Government, Internet, Technology