The purpose of this article is to summarize the impact on the lives of every single person in connection with the potential introduction of visible money.
Visible money is a project that aims to make people’s coexistence more effective by creating a new means of exchanging values – a banking system that contains most of the society’s cash flows and assets and can be viewed for the most part by every member of society. It envisages a full transparency of assets and cash flows. This writeup summarizes the impact of the introduction of such a system on the lives of individuals.
First of all, I should say that thinking about the societal changes that would occur with the introduction of visible money requires a lot of imagination: we should forget how society works today, detach ourselves from the status quo and see things differently from how they are at the moment.
Try to imagine being born into a world where people have no secrets. This very realization already requires a superhuman effort. In today’s world, many things are built on the fact that some things are just secret. But why can’t all mankind live in the “one family” mode in which everything is open? The very fact that this is not the case makes 90% of people in today’s society suffer and the remaining 10% exploit and abuse their suffering.
Basic economic relations
For example, should you stay in the dark regarding how much the company you work in actually earns thanks to your work, and how much your colleagues and managers earn? Why shouldn’t you know how many eurocents of the yogurt you’ve just bought from a local manufacturer goes to the employees’ salaries, how much is set aside as an investment in a better production line, and how high is the profit of the manufacturer and retailers? The fact that such information is not publicly available allows people to ask for any amount that other people are willing to pay. And, according to the classic capitalist mantra, this is a good thing. I beg to differ. It sure is good in classical capitalism because there is no judge to objectively assess whether this or that price is already exaggerated or not. This status quo, however, changes with the advent of visible money. The judge function will be played by a multitude of people thanks to unprecedented information at their disposal. If people could see that strawberry yogurt can generate an 80% margin, the competitors would immediately see it as an advantage and hurl themselves into this segment. People would also think twice before buying the yogurt once they realize that the main motivation behind its production is to fill the owner’s pockets. Each producer would think about the boundaries in pricing – what is still fair and what is already thievery.
A better social policy
Imagine being born into a world with no social cases or single mothers who can’t pay rent or buy school supplies for their children. If money were visible, one could actually see in the financial flows of such individuals that they indeed don’t have the funds to buy bread, and are not spending money on slot machines or alcohol. To the maximum of our abilities and minimum of our needs. And the second half of the sentence – the minimum of our needs – goes hand in hand with the economic growth of society.
Drug problems and property crime
Your children may be easily born into a world with no risk of falling into the drug trap. A simple glimpse at the financial flows of a drug dealer would be enough and the entire network would be exposed down to the smallest dose. Maybe they will be born into a world in which it is not possible to simply take ownership of another person’s belongings because, for it to become yours, it must be on the list of your assets in the visible money system. And, it can only get there if you make the relevant transaction in the system, and the system will also show the purchase price and the consideration you paid for it.
Recoverability of stolen property
Your children may be born into a world where politicians won’t even think about corruption because they realize it simply doesn’t pay off: (1) someone can immediately figure it out and (2) it will cost them more than what they reap. In visible money, theft will be punished by confiscation of the perpetrator’s property that surpasses the stolen benefit. In other words, if Peter Pellegrini stole 150 000 euro as through political corruption, a slightly higher factor of his property would be taken from him – say 165 000 euro. Such perpetrators will have no way to hide their real property from the system as before because everything will be transparent.
Problems with basic human emotions such as envy, laziness, distrust and curiosity
Paradoxically, although it may seem at first sight that the transparency of money promotes negative emotions such as envy, I think it will ultimately have an opposite effect. The moment of surprise is a very strong impetus that fuels envy. You suddenly notice your neighbor has a new car. You thought he could barely make ends meet – and now this! But, if money were transparent, you could see that he’s been saving for it for many years. There would be no surprises in a life with visible money. This notion may evoke the feeling that people would suddenly live in a dictatorship of transparency with nowhere to escape. The reasons why this is desirable are analyzed here.
Visible money would eliminate distrust in an exemplary way. People would begin judging not by what others say, but by what the financial flows indicate. Visible money will become a platform from which the truth can be inferred. If someone tells you something and it doesn’t fit in with their financial flows, they are simply lying to you. In today’s world, money flows are the best documentation of truth. We may get to live in a world where this is no longer the case but in such world article like this one would be useless.
A very important effect of visible money is the strengthening of the direct relationship between what a person does for society and his/her appreciation. Those who in fact create the most value will rapidly rise to the top of the social ladder after the introduction of visible money. People will simply see that those who are a real benefit and try hard are also rewarded. And it will be a cure for laziness.
In fact, I consider curiosity to be a positive emotion. It can be a driving force for positive change – not only in science.
I’ve described the most fundamental changes that I believe will take place in the daily lives of individuals after the introduction of visible money. When writing this article, I was guided by what the world would look like after the full introduction of visible money. However, reality will probably be more complicated in some ways, and perhaps simpler in others. It won’t be possible to introduce the system in a jiffy by a single move of a magic wand across society. And it’s not even desirable. Just like the communists thought they had reached the pinnacle of history with their social establishment but completely underestimated the role of private property and overestimated the role of central planning, even I could have made fundamental mistakes that disqualify the visible money project and send it to the dustbin of history. It is therefore vital that any possible introduction be done gradually in incremental steps. Possible disasters and pitfalls can then be eliminated.
For more information about visible money, please register by subscribing to our newsletter. Registration is used to build the core community of people interested in this issue.