Let’s not kid ourselves, because the end of money, as we know it, really means the beginning of the transactional surveillance State, which makes this a serious debate about the boundaries of State power and the dignity of an individual.
Unfortunately, the real world extends beyond Wolman’s polite corner of Oregon.
There are activists and dissidents in hostile regions paying for Internet blogs, food supplies, and safe harbor. There are payments being made to border guards on a daily basis to flee a murderous government somewhere. There are women selling baskets and blankets at street markets to feed their hungry families. There are cancer patients buying weed from a friend if their state doesn’t accommodate medical marijuana. And even before and after the Third Reich, persecuted peoples have always needed a way to protect and transfer what little remained of their wealth.
The persistent war on cash has more to do with moralistic society than it does with civil society as Wolman claims. With ultimate tracking capabilities, how does Wolman decide when a government’s “right” becomes a wrong? Does he defend the victimless crime laws against online gambling and consensual sex for money between adults? Does he defend confiscation of private sector wealth when a socialistic regime runs out of funds? Does he defend an orchestrated payments blockade against whistleblower site Wikileaks? Does he defend brutal government law enforcement measures in Syria and Gaddafi’s Libya?
Anonymity and civil society do mix — it is omnipotent violent government and civil society that do not mix.