[OPE-L:1849] Re: electronic money

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Sun, 21 Apr 1996 15:36:39 -0700

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Mike W wrote:

> 4 * If traditional forms of currency in circulation (coins and paper
> currency) were eliminated, this would change the relationship between
> the citizen and the state since it would mean that the state would
> (rather easily) have records of all earned income. Effectively, this
> would eliminate "unreported income" and the "underground economy."
> While this might be seen as a worthwhile objective from the
> standpoint of the state, one would imagine that there would be
> rather strong (in some cases, quite literally) social forces opposed
> to this process.
> Interesting - but I am not sure of its relevance to the reproduction of
> capitalism. Is there an implicit assumption here that (advanced)
> capitalism is incomapatible with an authroitarian state?

No. Capitalism (advanced or otherwise) is logically and
historically compatible with a variety of different political forms
including bourgeois democracy or various forms of authoritarian
governance. If there is an assumption, it is that the interests of the
state can come into conflict with a (quite literally) very powerful
group of capitalists re electronic money. Notwithstanding Paul C's
information, it seems reasonable to assume that many governments
would demand that information related to bank account balances and
interest earned be reported to the government. How do you think that
would play with those who receive a significant amount of unreported
income, e.g. organized crime?

Of course, such a scheme is theoretically possible. Whether the state is
prepared for such a conflict and/or whether the state would win such a
conflict is - at least - open to question.

> I have gotten an awful lot of flack since I started suggesting that
> commodity money was an albeit high profile, historicaly important,
> contingency (the latest salvo is by Dixon & Kay in a recent CJE). But I
> remain convinced. I would dearly like more discussion of the matter.

If you could summarize your argument and the counter-arguments advanced
by Dixon & Kay and others, we could discuss the question.

In OPE-L Solidarity,