Bruce Sterling on 13 Mar 2001 17:27:00 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] FW: Money a Waste, Economists Conclude

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Subject: Money a Waste, Economists Conclude
Date: Sun, Mar 11, 2001, 10:31 AM

September 21, 2084

Money a Waste, Economists Conclude

WASHINGTON DC--A special research committee convened by the U. S. Treasury
Department, and including officials and economists from the General
Accounting Office and Federal Reserve Board, released on Thursday its
"Final Report on the Role of Money in the Economy," concluding that "money
is currently the single greatest source of inefficiency in the exchange of
services and goods," and recommending that Congress "take steps to phase
out the public use of the U. S. Dollar."  U. S. Treasury Secretary Frieda
Bootle welcomed the report, and simultaneously announced a proposed 23 step
phase-out schedule for the beloved currency:  "We're pleased that the
Committee has come to the same conclusion that a number of us have reached
privately in recent years, and we're prepared to take concrete steps to
increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the U. S. economy."

 Pointing to recent developments in valuation, bargaining, and proxy
technologies, the Committee concluded that "alternatives of considerably
greater efficiency and lesser transaction costs" could save a dollar-less
economy up to 14.7 trillion dollars annually, including the costs of
maintaining dollar-oriented accounting and financial systems.  Discussing
the potential savings, Secretary Bootle noted that "it is not entirely
specious to say that, by eliminating the dollar, we will be saving, on an
annual basis, the total number of dollars exchanged in a given year."

 The majority of the currency alternatives cited by the Committee are based
on a computational technology known as an "eigenutil."  Eigenutils are
dynamic, compressed descriptions of individual "utility functions" the
function which translates an individual's needs and desires into
comparative valuations of the goods and services offered in the
marketplace.  Because eigenutils are computationally describable, they can
be easily exchanged and compared over computer networks, enabling
frictionless barter transactions of unprecedented complexity and efficiency.

 "Money was always a dumb technology," exclaims MIT economist Professor
Jessup Hare.  "A useful technology, but a dumb one nevertheless.  An
eigenutil economy is orders of magnitude more subtle in its ability to
capture and fulfill the needs of actors in a market.  Translating my needs
into a dollar figure was always reductive.  Sure, it was easier than
bartering at every step, but that increased efficiency came at the cost.
With eigenutils, we no longer have to make that trade-off."

 Using eigenutils, bartering bots and software proxies can automatically
and efficiently negotiate the direct exchange of goods, including value
exchanges between employers and employees.  Instead of receiving money in
exchange for labor, employees will, likely, receive a negotiated bundle of
goods and services, which she can in turn barter for others in the open

 "At last, all goods in the market will be accurately valued," notes
Professor Hare, "and value will flow freely throughout the economy.  The
real difficulty with money was that it created an inefficient meta-need:
the need for money itself.  Resources were often expended solely for the
purpose of accumulating money, which, in itself, is largely worthless."

 Among concerns about the move to a dollar-less economy are objections to
the Treasury Department's proposal to privatize the dollar as part of the
phase-out process.  "First, let me say that, during this transition period,
it makes sense for us to get some value out of the dollar by spinning it
off," explained Secretary Bootle.  "And we won't spin it off until it
clearly no longer has monopoly power over the valuation market."

 Additional concerns about the impact of the plan on the consumer savings
rate will be addressed by "the development of futures bartering and related
transactions," notes Bootle.  "This will be a brave, new economy, fueled by
incredible technical solutions.  The Fed, for instance, will be able to
influence the economy directly by tweaking the eigenutil infrastructure.
Once valuation technologies get smarter, so will our policies."


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