We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – the Digital Pound

The advantages [of the Digital Pound] over cash are, then, as clear as day. The pesky thing about cash is that it isn’t regulated. If you want to buy something in cash, you just hand it over to the person who is selling the thing, and that is that. This covers the transaction in a layer of kryptonite as far as government is concerned: it can’t control who ends up owning the money, and it can’t control whether the transaction takes place. The digital pound, and the way it is being set up, offers no clear advantage to the ‘user’, but, again, that isn’t the point. The advantages are obvious to those doing the governing, and that is ultimately what motivates the entire project for reasons which by now will be well understood.

David McGrogan.

Highly recommended that you read the whole thing.

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – the Digital Pound

  • Roué le Jour

    High rates of tax encourage a black market. The digital pound counters that. You’ll just have to pay for your pleasures in dollars, like the Russkies used to.

  • APL

    “… and that is ultimately what motivates the entire project for reasons which by now will be well understood.”

    There is no ‘slippery slope’. It’s a veritable slalom.

    It used to be said of the UK,that a subject could spend his whole life without once having anything to do with the State. Now, there is nothing to do in your daily life that the State doesn’t intend to give or deny the subject a permit to do.

    In my naivete, I welcomed ‘online banking’, it’s my habit to do everything from my study desktop computer, and that’s sufficient for my needs. But I’ve noticed, that increasingly, the banks are promoting their ‘app’, and discouraging the use of your desktop. There can be only one reason for that, which is to be able to ‘geo-locate’ a customer.

    In fact, much of the ‘financial crime’ has been nothing more than a Trojan, an excuse to increase surveillance. Look, if you really want to ‘know your customer’ what better way than to have a bank branch, an account manager, who you can speak to in person, ‘one to one’. But, no, the Banks would rather lose £billions to thieves and expose their customers to loss and fraud, than pay a bank managers and maintain a branch network.

    Now, we hear about AI. And one of the largest ‘ramps‘ in the stock price of NVIDA. And as if by magic, we’ve not got Klaus Schwab no less, suggesting that now that we’ve got AI, we no longer need elections, because AI can just predict the result with out the messy bother of holding a vote.

    Isn’t that nice and convenient for a dyed in the wool fascist ?

  • Kirk

    Again, the assholes are reaching for a power they can’t attain. Observe what happens, when and if this comes in: Some other exchange medium will come in, whether its cigarettes, the dollar, or coupons from LIDL.

    Control freaks are gonna try for control. It’s what they do; that they’re ultimately going to crash the system with this BS simply slides right past their mental processes.

    Anonymity is a key feature of any successful currency system. Watch what happens when they take it away; people will cease using it. If they have to, they’ll go back to barter.

    This is yet another example of why these types should never, ever be put in charge of anything. Ever. If we could test for “wants to control everything and everybody”, then that ought to be a criteria by which you were rejected for government service, and it ought to be treated clinically as a mental disorder.

  • APL

    “The advantages [of the Digital Pound] over cash are, then, as clear as day.”

    It’s all a bit of a joke really.

    The pound coin / or US$ note, is nothing but a piece of paper of no value other than that value that people attribute to it, by virtue of someone else accepting a bunch of notes or coins in exchange for goods or services ( it’s already a token ).

    Fact is, money has already been virtualized since ( in the UK,1947 ) when anything of value, was removed from the coinage. In 1935 a Crown coin was worth just as much as you could get for the silver content of the coin. I happen to have a 1935 silver Crown coin that in the year of production its face value was £1/4 (5-/-) and minted with one ounce of silver. Today, that same coin might sell for more than £60 while the price of one ounce of silver is £18,so by either measure,the ounce of silver coin minted in 1935 is worth many times its face value.

    The cost ‘saving’ by digitizing the currency is illusory too. The Banking authority may not have the expense of printing physical notes, but they’ve still got the expense of maintaining the machines on which the records are kept and the electricity they require for this massive survellance database. To some extent they’ve cost shifted the expense too, since it’s you that pays for your internet, and need to charge your mobile battery and pay for the electricity to run your router. In short the digital pound is not cost free, you just pay for it twice.

    Given that in this hell hole of a cuntry, you only have to be accused of a crime and all and any of your assets can be seized, the sooner the whole f*ck!@’ thing collapses, the better.

    I see those massive white elephants, Gordon Browns bribe to his constituents, can’t leave port, ostensibly because the RN doesn’t have sufficient crew. The real reason, aircraft carriers are the modern equivalent of sitting ducks, slow fat targets, but perhaps they shouldn’t have !vaxxed the crew.

    But then, I heard just yesterday, that the British armed services recruitment is now run by CRAPITA,no surprise then, they are obsessed with diversity, and can’t recruit enough ‘staff’.

  • george m weinberg

    It all sounds like nonsense to me. As far as I can tell, they’re trying to make something that
    resembles cryptocurrency in the same way that a guy in a cow suit resembles a cow. That is, just
    enough to see the costume is intended to represent a cow, and nowhere near closely enough to
    make anyone actually believe the man is a cow standing on 2 legs.

  • Phil B

    @Kirk (and others).

    I don’t think that barter will universally take over for small transactions.

    I can’t remember where I read it but one African country had rampant inflation so the Government “withdrew” the existing currency and replaced it with a new “1 for 10,000” (or whatever the new currency exchange rate was). No one handed in the old currency and few used the new. Why? Overnight the value of the old currency was frozen and as the Government wasn’t printing more and more, then it was unable to be manipulated by the Government.

    In short, it was a fixed value and as everyone knew the “existing” value, continued to use it in preference to the new currency.

    If digital currency is introduced, then for many personal transactions, the superseded currency will likely remain in use and a hell of a lot of the economic activity will disappear from the Governments sight.The old currency, being extremely familiar to the population and of known “value” could be the key to a parallel economy.

    For this concept to succeed then the idea will need to be widely discussed and the fine details thrashed out beforehand. Even if the Government make it illegal to hold old banknotes and coins, then I am certain that a) such a law will be ignored to a greater or lesser extent b) alternatives will come into existence. For example, cheques will no longer be used but if a group of individuals (or even a complete town) decided to create money from scratch, then collecting all the chequebooks in the town and someone deciding Barclays cheques are worth one pound, Lloyds are worth five pounds etc. when countersigned by the issuing authority would be another way around the problem.

    Of course some digital transactions will be needed and cannot be avoided (e.g. buying petrol or diesel which is essentially a Government controlled monopoly) but I would be very interested to see just how much economic activity takes place without using digital and how much revenue and tax the Government loses.

  • Paul Marks

    We already have a fiat (whim-command) Pound – till 1971 the official claim was that the Pound was linked to the Dollar and the Dollar was linked to gold, but then various governments (such as the French) asked the Americans for the gold they (the American government) had pledged for their Dollars – and the American government responded by breaking its promises to other governments (cheating them) – just as it had cheated American citizens in 1933 by stealing their gold and ripping up all contracts (public and private) in order to save the bankers. Britain had done something like this in 1931 – but in a less radical way.

    The “Digital Pound” is the logical end point of the Fiat Pound – indeed totalitarian control of ordinary people (by the state and “partner” corporations) is what this is all about.

    Keep the Fiat (whim-command) Pound and the Digital Pound is inevitable.

    Ditto in Russia and everywhere else – of course this monetary and financial system leads to tyranny, that is what it is for.

  • Kirk

    It gets down to the fact that people are going to do what people are going to do… Make a mandatory-use digital currency? They’ll figure out some means or method to bypass it, rendering it useless for control.

    The Chinese in Beijing are going to learn this, with the “social credit system” they’re trying to bring in. One of two things will happen, perhaps both. One, the system will be subverted; that’s a certainty. They won’t be able to rely on it for the purposes they want it for. Second, once they’ve managed to push enough people into the margins as “substandard” citizens? The result will be a huge underclass of people who don’t have a stake in the system, and who can’t get back into it easily. This will be a source of enormous social instability; instead of trying to push people out and marginalize them, the “system” needs to be working to bring everyone in and give them a stake in things. Once they reach a critical mass of disaffected people, the whole thing will blow up, much the way other Chinese despotisms did historically. Put enough of the peasantry off the land? Starve them? Guess what happens next…?

    The attempts at digital currency will have the same inevitable effect; you can’t control people to that degree. You may like it, a few of them might like it, but it will eventually run up against the hard stops of human incorrigibility. We don’t domesticate well… Ask the Turks how smart it was to recruit and train slave soldiers like the Janissaries. Took a few years, but who wound up running the Ottoman Empire for a fairly prolonged period?

    The one abiding principle I’ve found throughout my observation and reading of history is that you try to control people? You’re a damn fool. You might be successful for some period of time, but once the people you’re trying to make conform to your will figure out the game, you’re screwed. They’ll subvert it, they’ll bypass it, and they’ll eventually use it against you.

  • Paul Marks

    Long before computers were invented, the dream was to use fiat (fiat – whim-command-order) money to control people, to control what they could and could not buy, and how much.

    “Digital” money is just doing what Henri Saint-Simon and all the others (there were many) dreamed of from the start.

    Of course it leads to tyranny – it was always meant to lead to tyranny.

    Just as fiat money allows government and the Cantillon Effect banks (which are joined at the hip) to decide who is rich and who is poor (who needs customers when you have Credit Money – and the government can “Nudge” people to buy your stuff anyway, or buy it itself as with the toxic Covid “vaccines”), so in the future the Corporate State of Public-Private partnership will control everything.

    For example, want to see a film or television show? Of course you can – as long as it is anti racist, anti sexist, anti Transphobe, and attacks Climate “deniers”.

    You want to watch a film of show that supports these evil things? Then you must be an evil person – and will need “treatment” to help you out of your mental illness (remember you are an ist and a phobe and a denier – there are mental illnesses), the international system will help you – make you a better human.

    Violate your free will? There is no such thing as free will, so we can not be violating it because it does not exist – ask the pet “philosopher” of the World Economic Forum and World Health Organisation.

    And that Israeli “philosopher” is far from alone – there are plenty of “philosophers” for rent who are willing to say that free will, human personhood, does not exist – so, as it does not exist, international governance (the public-private partnership of the Corporate State) can not be violating it.

  • David Levi

    ask the pet “philosopher” of the World Economic Forum and World Health Organisation.

    Are readers just supposed to know who on earth you’re talking about? :-/

  • APL

    ” ask the pet “philosopher” of the World Economic Forum “

    I don’t know if this reptile is the individual Paul Marks is referring to. But he is one of the WEF advocates of ‘trans-humanism’**. The World Economic Forum is already a pretty repulsive outfit, but that this guy is the ‘intellectual brain trust’ of the operation, and Klaus Schwab the driving intellectual force behind the WEF, is enough to condemn the operation out of hand, as far as I am concerned.

    According to Wiki, it is incorrect that Schwab’s father was a member of the SS, but Schwab’s father moved FROM Switzerland TO Germany during WW2, but that’s OK because his family ‘was monitored by the Gestapo’. Presumably, he passed the scrutiny of the Gestapo. One shouldn’t condemn a man because his Dad was a badun, but the apple rarely falls far from the tree.

    ** Which is to say, utterly inhuman.

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