Friday, March 16, 2007

New money? and other issues

Today we discuss actual news, the third paragraph. News that you might not get from the mainstream press.

I think that Ryan Fugger will change the world. You might ask, Who is Ryan Fugger? Well he's a Canadian who has decided to try to put different concepts of money into practice. The result, Ripple monetary payment system. Ripple is a program currently being beta tested, which provides a different payment system. At first the basis of the idea behind the payment sounds a little out there, but after review its surprising properties are discovered. The principal is that payments are processed merely by creating a debt or erasing a debt between trusted parties. To pay a party that you don't trust, ripple must find a chain of trusted relationships and will create/erase a chain of debts. Ryan promotes his payment system as a natural competitor to a bank. Simply put, with ripple, trusted relationships can serve the same purpose as a bank and credit card. Ryan is focused on keeping track of debt in the various national fiat currencies around the world. Another application of ripple is that, once established, it would make micro-payments a piece of cake. Also I, and at least a few others, think that there is the possibility that ripple monetary payment system could completely supplant traditional currency.

And now for the news. Dialstation, a prepaid telephone calling service, has an interest in integrating ripple into its service. The idea is that you could pay for phone service and receive a credit on a ripple server. The customer then could establish credit relationships and use the ripple credit to purchase other goods and services. The phone service could act like a value backer for ripple debts, and it is pondered that this could seed the ripple program. For dialstation users that do not want to be caught up in this new idea, they could not establish any credit relationships and the addition of ripple will have no effect on their account.

Now for a twist with commentary. I categorize this idea of ripple as a free thought, a thought that is reasoned out without any constraints that society may provide. Freethoughts lead to other freethoughts, and freethinkers are drawn to other freethinkers. It turns out that there is another freethought embedded in this story. This dialstation is somehow connected to Telekommunisten. Notice the word "kommunisten," Communist in German. So now if you are of a free market persuasion like me this word strikes fear into your heart. This article(german) from Süddeutsche online newspaper refers to this bout of "Venture-Communism" as an application of the "sozialistischen Anarchismus" (socialist anarchist) model. As a proponent of free markets I am sceptical of this venture. At the same time if this actually works, and no force or violence is used to secure this telephone service. I don't see any reason a free market proponent would complain. In fact I would welcome the peaceful competition of different business models, as long as everyone involved agrees to their involvement. Now that I have supported peaceful competition I will discuss some worries that I have.

Socialist anarchist could be another term for a group of people that call themselves libertarian socialists in the United States. There have been a few libertarian socialist uprisings in the United States. You can surely identify a libertarian socialist uprising by the black clothes, and the black (or red) handkerchief that is worn over the face of protesters. These uprisings sometimes involve protesting on the street blocking traffic. I also saw a video that showed vandalism perpetrated by libertarian socialists. I have an interest in these libertarian socialists because they are anarchistic. I certainly do not agree with the tactics of blocking traffic and vandalism. I consider these actions to be against the "non-violence axiom" that is central to free market anarchist thought. I sometimes consider if a libertarian socialist population could peacefully co-exist with a free market anarchist society. I think that they could, and there has been some written about this concept. The divergence between the two ideologies is based on property rights. The co-existence issue revolves around people learning to respect different forms of property rights perhaps even in the same town. I would love to know an actual libertarian socialist's view on the idea of co-existing. Telekommunisten however states that it's goal is to own the world, by that they mean that libertarian socialist own the world. I think that this goal is unobtainable, and misguided, however it should be interesting to see what unfolds.


Anonymous said...

Hello Daniel, thanks for the comments, you seem to have things right regarding ripplepay and dialstation, I thought I might touch for a minute on your comments regarding telekommunisten.

First of all, it is our belief that the free market is the ultimate expression of socialism, we consider capitalism to be incompatible with a truly free market.

Second, we do not advocate insurrection, violence nor vandalism, as we consider that workers ultimately bear the price of these acts.

If you would like anymore information regarding us, our products, or our political beliefs, please email me or drop into our irc group.

Dmytri Kleiner
Telekommunisten, Berlin

Daniel Tobas said...

Thank you so much Dmytri! I'm glad that you posted your comment. I wish you success on your endeavor.

Robin said...

Hi dan,
This is my first visit to your site, it's great keep up the good work - the poems are especially thought-provoking. I came here searching for Ripple, I've known about Ryan's project for a few months now and I fully agree with you. It certainly does have the potential to 'supplant'(I prefer subvert) the global money system that is such a sham currently. Thank you for spreading the thoughts about ripple, I believe our(as a fellow anarchist) only chance at revolution is one using nonviolent weapons that strike at the heart of capitalism (weapons like information, tactics like anonymity). I am no pacifist, I just don't believe it is wise to attack a well armed enemy with force (it will only give the enemy reason to retaliate). Cheers, keep writing

Daniel Tobas said...

Thanks for your comments. I think the only long term solution is non-violence. I'm not a pacifist either, if attacked I may attack.