Bitcoin and The Public Function of Money by Dmytri Kliner (blog.p2pfoundation.net)
“It is no secret that the national State form [of money] is unsatisfactory. Not only is it burdened by its aristocratic roots, and not only is it corrupted by the fact that its modern form is largely captured by the international corporate elite, but the State is clearly unsatisfactory for modern publics as a result of the fact that static territorial forms are increasingly ineffective and inappropriate structures to serve global, distributed communities.
“The public form has to evolve from the state form to the networked form, but for that to happen, new, networked public forms will need to emerge that are able to take over the socially necessary public functions. Including the management of forms of public money.
“The critical feature required of public money is that we can socially determine how much of it there is, and how much of we want to apply to public purpose. We need ways to create and destroy public money so that we can can have a counter-balance to private activity, to manage cycles, to counter-balance economic sectors, and to socially pursue public objectives, such as health, education, and justice.
“Thus, Bitcoin’s innovation in terms of creating a networked form of commodity money is not useful in creating networked forms of public money, and as a result it does not create a way for networked public forms to replace the current State forms.”
Poor Richard’s comment: I don’t know that international “network money” would not wind up needing to share many of the features of Bitcoin, for the same reason that Bitcoin has the features it has.
As far as I can see the only difference between Bitcoin and a networked international “public” currency would be the particular arrangements for controlling the supply.
ps An interesting comment at Dmytri’s blog:
in response to dmytri:
I want to write a bit about the public function of money, especially as compared to the market function of money, in light of some of the recent discussion about Bitcoin. Bitcoin is already a very useful technology due to the fact that it allows transactions to take place without any central authority. This alone […]
Wow that’s a terrific piece. Congratulations on your ability to articulate! Let me tell you what i think an alternative to bitcoin looks like. Imagine if community based organisations could be persuaded to adopt a digital way of recording and rewarding the time volunteers gave to their community. imagine if that time were converted into points (say 1 hour = 1,000 points) then you’d be able to identify those people who deserved reduced or concessionary prices on goods and services that might otherwise go to waste, and capture a universal measure of positive social impact. Stuff that perishes – end of line stock (costly to business) or idling capacity (such as seats on public transport or cinema). Give those businesses a means to dispose of this ‘waste’ to people who deserve it and you end up with personalised pricing instead of a one-size fits all pricing system that we have now. The points would be the store of value (‘we value your contribution to your community, so thanks and come again!’), a means of exchange (one mans trash is another mans treasure) and a unit of account (gross national contribution rather than gross national product). The points = social impact thus conusmers can see which businesses give to community and which businesses don’t. this would counter-balance our mindless consumerism economy with a mindful version of the same. In my opinion. And the currency is backed by the world’s most valuable resource which is time. Peace.
- Bitcoin’s value is decentralization (paulbohm.com)