“Zero Money”: First Principles Thinking About Monetary Value
Change the Money, Change the World (29)
Addendum 3 — Political strategy and tactics: DiEM25 Tech Sovereignty 3
Commentary 8: This is the third posting in this addendum. The series comprising this addendum provides commentary on the specific agenda for Technological Sovereignty on the platform of the Democracy in Europe Movement. DiEM25 is the regionally developed leading model for The Progressive International. Commentaries are grouped under the links to which they refer. These need to be referred to to see the context.
Commentary 9: In the first posting in this addendum I provided commentary on the introduction of the specific agenda for “Technological Sovereignty” on the platform of the Democracy in Europe Movement. In the second posting I continued with commentary on the single subsection of the introduction, followed by commentary on the second section of the DiEM25 “Technological Sovereignty” platform and its first subsection. In this posting I begin with the second subsection of the second section (2.2):
DiEM25 Tech Sovereignty 1 (Commentary 1 to 2)
DiEM25 Tech Sovereignty 2 (Commentary 3 to 7)
DiEM25 Tech Sovereignty 3 (Commentary 8 to 12 Current posting)
Commentary 10: This subsection extends the discussion of problems to be resolved by “democratization” to the state and other actors, not just to platform monopolists. Detailed in this subsection are the next three tactical objectives of twelve specific political objectives of the “Technological Sovereignty” platform of Diem24:
5. Automated Decision Making 6. public data commons 7. digital rights for citizens
“Automated Decision Making”, ADM, rather than being algorithmic decision making using AI programmed to enhance and expand egalitarian governance, concentrates power and information monopolization with little accountability and oversight by the public. The text in this subsection recognizes it is time for a new paradigm, the primary tactic for this being use of digital technologies to create a digital commonwealth. What is not clarified is what digital technologies and how they might function. In the “change the money, change the world” thesis, we must transition away from a credit and debt fiat currency inflation model which is the engine of exploitation. Morally corrupt governance generates the growing wealth divide in the global economy, among populations within and across national borders. A transition that accomplishes our tactical objectives, even to a significant degree, without ending the exploitative monetary and fiscal medium of fiat money, will still be rotten at the core.
ADM, from the outset of political activism, should be countered by AI programmed to enhance and expand egalitarian governance. The digital technology at the root of that AI algorithmic design should be digital currency aimed at mitigating and replacing fiat dollars. A complete overview of the digital monetary medium spectrum and the phases of transition for their integration in economic life is provided in the essay postings 13 to 20. That overview is of a spectrum of digital monetary instruments from those not actually replacing the inflationary monetary policy at all, such as Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), to those completely replacing it with personal self-sovereign mediums in the cryptocurrency category of digital currencies. That medium with entirely peer to peer exchange capability, with no third-party point of moral failure is Bitcoin. Within the crypto currency spectrum are several bridging digital mediums that support the disruptive strategy for tactics against ADM. Rather than calling them currencies the term “token” is used because tokens have additional functions beyond being a medium of exchange, or value storage (also differently designated in the spectrum of tokens as “staking”).
The “Digital Commonwealth” as discussed in this subsection of the DiEM25 Technological Sovereignty platform includes the political tactics of creating a “public data commons” supporting “digital rights for citizens”. These tactics seek to change governance of the use of personal data as well as recourse to institutional enforcement of these changes. These tactics for a “Digital Commonwealth” form the basis for “alternative business models” that are the topic of sub-subsection 2.2.1. What I want to emphasize is that all these tactics can and should be aligned in using several types of bridging cryptocurrencies that support the disruptive strategy. In particular I refer to smart contracts embedded in digital monetary tokens. These are decentralized by algorithmic design to harness data power for public good rather than for private profits. Other tokens are specifically designed for personal privacy and other personal sovereignty enhancement. Importantly, are tokens called “oracles” that verify and decentralize communications between tokens and the legacy economic system. This enables seamless information to and from the two domains during the paradigm transition at whatever degree it evolves.
Commentary 11: Sub-subsection 2.2.1 about ”Democratizing the Economy: Alternative Business Models” introduces the models of egalitarian economic exchange called “platform cooperatives” to counter platform monopolies. These are to be discussed in-depth in subsection 4.2 later, but I think it is clear how such economic exchange can be best governed with the use of digital currency technology and the cryptocurrency tokens discussed in the last paragraph. The same is true of the tactics discussed in more detail in sub-subsection 2.2.2 “Decommodifying Data: Personal Data Storages, European Data Commons”. Again as before, for 2.2.2, the demarcation of these tactics is between countering private monopoly platforms and countering the state and other actors. Using data for cooperative and collective purposes depends, as recognized in the text, on technological solutions that are secure and inviolable to manipulation, while ensuring accountability. Here, for the first time in the DiEM25 Technological Sovereignty platform, I found explicit reference to block chain technology and digital money, though not with that terminology. It came through discussion of “data commons” and “democratic governance” leading to a conception of “democratic ownership of data”. This conceptual transition comes with a definition of “Personal Data Storage”:
“a decentralised, anonymous and encrypted peer-to-peer-network that takes user data and splits it up into encrypted chunks, which get processed by hundreds of other computers across the network. The crucial aim here is that no raw data is revealed to third parties.”
The text quoted above, which is clearly an example of the use of a block chain data ledger, is then followed by a statement that indicates the DiEM25 platform intends to monetize “democratic ownership of data” by having the income of which: fund a “universal basic dividend” as is proposed in the DiEM25 political platform for a “Green New Deal”. It is a lovely distinction to use the language of a “universal basic dividend” rather than “universal basic income”, because, unlike the latter, a dividend is related to the use of capital for production of goods and services through the employment of labor. That income comes from a portion of the prices which are naturally determining wages. Its healthy capitalism instead of “socialism for the rich”. UBI, unlike UBD, is simply printing fiat currency, possibly in the form of CBDC, and perpetuating the debit and credit cycles of unsustainable debt. This “socialism for the rich” is fully described in the essay of which this is an addendum: see postings 8 to 12.
Of course my question is “What is the monetary medium of this income funding a UBD, surely you don’t mean government fiat trash cash?” — after all, this income used for UBD, in fact consists in and of digital data on a block chain ledger. Doesn’t this income, if considered a unit of account, really have its own value rather than a value nominally calculated in reference to fiat currency? The calculation of the value of data should be accounted in a digital information monetary medium. Its value can be maximized by having of a fixed supply of such digital currency. A digital currency of absolute scarcity, is not merely anti-inflationary (see posting 13), it is infinitely superior to an ever inflationary fiat currency no longer redeemable of anything having measurable value (such as when it was pegged to gold). I made the ontological supposition that value is an epiphenomenon of phenomenal scarcity, of which fiat currency is entirely decoupled: see postings 5 to 7. I advocate DiEM25 adopt the Bitcoin standard of absolute scarcity and incorporate Bitcoin and other bridging cryptocurrencies in the coming political struggle to reject continuing an inflationary monetary and fiscal policy. This immoral systemic legacy economy will probably now take the guise of Central Bank Digital Currencies in a continuing criminal cabal with national political parties and the corporate donor class. International coordination of CBDCs in the service of socialism for the rich will probably come in the form of a “New Bretton Woods”.
Commentary 12: Sub-subsection 2.2.3 about ”Introducing Digital Rights” constitutes tactics appropriate for a political confrontation on the grounds of a first principle of morality. I support all these tactics in a specific way. The topics of this sub-subsection are categorized in two domains: individual “digital citizen rights” and “use of algorithms in everyday life”. The former are concerned with the sovereignty of individuals over information about themselves. The “use of algorithms in everyday life” are concerned with how the algorithms intrinsic to programmed services must be designed if they are to adhere to human rights of the collective of individuals. Without repeating here the particulars of the elements in either of these sets of “digital rights”, and without repeating the efficacy of the block chain applications discussed previously as to “democratizing the economy” and ”decommodifying data”, I would assert the same benefits of those technological monetary innovations for ensuring “digital rights”.
The importance of sub-subsection 2.2.3 about ”Introducing Digital Rights” should be explicitly an exposition of how to overcome the hegemony of the legacy economic paradigm by exposing its immoral ontological structure. The thesis of “change the money, change the world” is focused on disruption of existing monetary and fiscal governance, but it does so precisely in allegiance to a subjective/objective idealistic ontology (essay posting 5 and 6). I mentioned it earlier in Commentary 1: the idea of “democracy” was asserted to be positively reflected in our objective reality only when there is allegiance to a specific understanding of the sovereignty of every individual as a subject in relation to all others. In this sub-subsection, individual subjects and the collective of subjects are demanding rights whose objectives and means are egalitarian. Why they should be:
A subjective/objective idealistic ontology means Consciousness is the unifying fundamental of equality reflected in and between all individuals. For governance of this first principle of nature to be violated, by any individual or party of individuals by acts of hubris and greed, depriving the rights of others or the collective of all individuals is therefore immoral in this definition of morality. ”Introducing Digital Rights” should explicitly be a category of political tactics asserting human rights in a confrontation exposing, condemning and disappearing from social discourse the existing power structure governing economic life.