Re: The Economy Of Plenty

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 20:23:05 -0500

James North wrote:
> from Mouse Monitor, sept. 1997 by Robert E. Bauman: "The US Treasury
> Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on May 21, in a
> little-noticed rule proposal, began the government's take-over of all forms
> of electronic and digital cash in America. For the first time the US
> government asserted direct control over all so-called financial "stored
> value systems," defined as "...funds or monetary value represented in
> digital format (whether or not encrypted) and stored, or capable of storage,
> on electronic to be retrievable and transferable electronically."
> (Official text at ) This definition covers
> so-called "smart cards", online Internet banking and any other cash
> transactions in electronic form."

Am I glad it's not the U.N. doing this! Well, either the attempt will be
ill-fated and abandoned, or the system will get started in a country outside
the U.S.A.

I'm starting to get annoyed by this encryption business. Do you suppose that
if, say, 10 million people sent copies of 128-bit RSA code overseas as an act
of protest, they'd give it up? You could use electronically coordinated civil
disobedience with registered snowball cooperation.

> I'm all for your system (or something like it) myself, and I would be very
> interested to hear about how you are going to implement it.

Well... the obvious, electronic way, I suppose. Once all digital 'cash'
shifts to the Internet and digital contracts (even automatically generated
ones) are freely enforceable, then making the software available might simply
be enough. First a few corporations would use it for simple barter, then the
some people would use it for complex barter, and before you know it, the whole
economy would have shifted over.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.