We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, August 16, 2019

Brave New Money: PayPal, WeChat, Amazon Go - A Totalitarian World Currency in the Making (updated)

Click here to access article by Norbert Häring (German economist) from his weblog. (Update: Because Part 2 enlarges the topic to digital money in general, I won't be posting Part 2.) 

I am only posting one of the two part articles today, and will be posting the second part tomorrow. I can't say I understood everything he writes, probably because English is a second language for him, but I think he is one of the few who are concerned about developments that already are underway using digital money plus surveillance technology.

Because I am on Häring's email list, I received this article and several others. I encourage others who are concerned about this issue to do likewise--and, in my opinion, every thinking person should be concerned. Because money in its current form in the USA has mostly enabled our capitalist ruling class to maintain control over it. Of course, because the latter have so obscured the meaning of money and issues concerned with it, much like all other similar issues, they want us to remain in ignorance. But Häring, who will not tolerate this ignorance, alerts us on how these new development using digital money and surveillance technology very likely will have negative consequences for ordinary people.

I think these developments are very much going on under the radar of ordinary people's consciousness. I rarely have seen it addressed elsewhere, and I think it clearly represents a dramatic move toward all the horrible futures scenarios imagined by George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, the Wachowskis and their film The Matrix, and similar science fiction works. Such scenarios are now on their way to being implemented in the leading capitalist nations as well as in China. 

Digitization of money combined with the recent technological advances in surveillance are making these nightmarish scenarios possible and so appealing to our ruling masters. Because this new money is so convenient for us, we like it. But it comes loaded with the convenience of capturing all sorts of information about us and several other abuses. It appears that it matters not whether ruling classes are capitalist or shortsighted Chinese Communists because the digitization of money has the potential of giving them overwhelming control over us. Control and domination seem to be the most sought after drugs by, and for, ruling classes to get "high" (def.). Häring seems to be one of the few who are concerned about the adverse consequences for us.

I am convinced that only a thoroughly democratic society could use this new digital money, and we are a long way from accomplishing that. But since "we're all gonna die anyway", why worry? We are all fucked (def.#2)! And, obviously I don't mean in Vietnam. The destabilization of the climate will soon do the job for us, and a short-time later, the ruling classes (their fantasies about escaping to another planet are simply that--fantasies). Unlike our present societies and all wars, climate destabilization and/or a global nuclear war, will ignore inequality.