Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Source of Failure: We Optimize What We Measure

Rather than measure consumption and metrics that incentivize debt, what if we measure well-being and opportunities offered in our communities?
The problems we face cannot be fixed with policy tweaks and minor reforms.Yet policy tweaks and minor reforms are all we can manage when the pie is shrinking and every vested interest is fighting to maintain their share of the pie.
Our failure stems from a much deeper problem: we optimize what we measure. If we measure the wrong things, and focus on measuring process rather than outcome, we end up with precisely what we have now: a set of perverse incentives that encourage self-destructive behaviors and policies.
The process of selecting which data is measured and recorded carries implicit assumptions with far-reaching consequences. If we measure "growth" in terms of GDP but not well-being, we lock in perverse incentives to boost 'growth" even at the cost of what really matters, i.e. well-being.
If we reward management with stock options, management has a perverse incentive to borrow money for stock buy-backs that push the share price higher, even if doing so is detrimental to the long-term health of the company.
Humans naturally optimize what is being measured and identified as important.
If students’ grades are based on attendance, attendance will be high. If doctors are told cholesterol levels are critical and the threshold of increased risk is 200, they will strive to lower their patients’ cholesterol level below 200.
If we accept that growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) is the measure of prosperity, politicians will pursue the goal of GDP expansion.
If rising consumption is the key component of GDP, we will be encouraged to go buy a new truck when the economy weakens, whether we need a new truck or not.
If profits are identified as the key driver of managers’ bonuses, managers will endeavor to increase net profits by whatever means are available.
The problem with choosing what to measure is that the selection can generate counterproductive or even destructive incentives.
This is the result of humanity’s highly refined skill in assessing risk and return.All creatures have been selected over the eons to recognize the potential for a windfall that doesn’t require much work to reap.
When humans were hunter-gatherers—our natural state for hundreds of thousands of years, compared to roughly 5,000 years of agriculture—those on the lookout for a calorie-rich windfall that didn’t require a lot of work ate better (and had more offspring that survived) than those who failed to reap windfalls. In the natural world, such windfalls might be a tree heavy with ripe fruit or a beehive loaded with honey.
Calories were scarce, and work burns a lot of calories, so the ideal scenario for the hunter-gatherer is a windfall that can be harvested with a minimal investment of calories/effort.
In our economy, qualifying for a positive reward without investing too much effort is a windfall. As a result, whatever is measured sets up a built-in incentive to game the system (i.e. exploit short-cuts) or cheat to qualify for the reward with the least effort possible.
So if students are graded on attendance, and attendance is measured by the students signing in at the start of class, students can get the reward of a high grade by signing in and then sneaking away.
If students are graded on submitting homework daily, some students will extract homework from other students that can be copied with less effort than actually doing the work. Those seeking a windfall might use bribes or threats or blandishments to get the free homework, as the investment required to pursue these strategies is still smaller than that needed to do the homework.
If the grades are measured by a multiple-choice exam, some students will attempt to steal the answers ahead of the exam.
Compare these relatively easy-to-game thresholds to difficult-to-game tests such as long-hand answers to randomly selected questions assigned to each individual at the start of the exam. If the answers must be composed within the test period, it is essentially impossible to learn which questions students will receive beforehand and therefore impossible to prepare an answer (or pay someone else to answer) beforehand.
Once the time and effort needed to game the system exceeds the investment required to learn the material, the incentives shift to learning the material with the least effort possible.
Notice that the system’s cost of measuring data and enforcing compliance is correlated to the effectiveness of the enforcement and the value of the data. The lower the system’s costs, the lower the compliance rate and the value of the data. Any system which makes compliance cheaper in effort invested than shortcutting the system will have high costs. The more effort invested in obtaining meaningful data, the higher the value of the data.
In our example, the cheapest measures of student performance--attendance, multiple-choice tests, etc.--do the poorest job of measuring actual student learning. To actually measure student learning requires significant investment in the process, and a careful analysis of what metrics best reflect real student learning.
There is a growing dissatisfaction in the economics field with the current measures of economic activity: GDP, unemployment, and so on. This dissatisfaction reflects a growing awareness that these legacy metrics do a poor job of capturing what is actually important in fostering sustainable, broad-based prosperity, what many call well-being.
What are we measuring in healthcare?
Healthcare metrics offer a useful analogy. If cholesterol levels are a critical measure of health, then the medical community devotes its resources to lowering cholesterol levels below whatever threshold has been identified as critical. But what if a better overall yardstick of health and risk is the body mass index (BMI), which measures height and weight?
While there are limits to BMI (for example, some super-fit bodybuilders might have an elevated BMI, even though they are not fat), for the vast majority of people BMI is a useful measure of risk for cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome-related diseases such as diabetes.
Unlike measuring cholesterol, BMI does not require drawing blood; anyone with access to a tape measure and a cheap scale can calculate their BMI. Unlike cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which can be lowered with medications, BMI is difficult to short-cut. The only way to lower your BMI is to lose weight, which in the vast majority of people means losing accumulated fat via a disciplined regime of diet and fitness.
The status quo is based on legacy metrics that are misleading or counter-productive. The status quo has been optimized to gather these measurements and assign great meaning to them.
Does it make sense to optimize expanding consumption when resources are finite and the incentives to squander resources on unproductive consumption are so high?
If profits are the only metric that matter, and labor costs are rising for structural reasons, then why would private enterprise hire more workers when robots and software are cheaper and more productive in terms of boosting profits?
If we measure academic achievement by the issuance of a college degree, but the process of earning that degree does not measure real student learning, then what are we measuring with college diplomas? What we’re really measuring is the students’ ability to navigate an academic bureaucracy for four or five years. Since we’re not measuring useful learning, we have no way to hold colleges accountable for their demonstrable failure to teach useful skills.
What are we measuring in the workplace?
The key point here is systemic success or failure arises from our choices of what to measure and what thresholds we set as meaningful. Whatever we select to measure and deem important, participants will optimize their choices and behaviors to reach the rewards that are incentivized.
If we choose counterproductive metrics, we built perverse incentives into the system, incentives that guide the goals, strategies and behaviors of participants.
Rather than measure consumption and metrics that incentivize debt, what if we measure well-being and opportunities offered in our communities? What if we measured doing more with less rather than consuming more? What if our primary measure of economic well-being was the reduction of inputs (resources, labor, capital, etc.) that resulted in higher output (increased well-being)?
How can we select metrics that productively measure well-being, sustainability and opportunity not just for elites but for every participant? What thresholds can we set that will create incentives for adopting best practices and appropriate technologies?
These questions help us see that to create a sustainable system that alleviates inequality and poverty, we must first choose metrics that create productive incentives for best practices and disincentives for fraud, corruption, waste and inefficiencies.
This essay was drawn from my new book Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform.


A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All is now available as an Audible audio book.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book's website.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here's Why All Pension Funds Are Doomed, Doomed, Doomed

There are limits on what the Fed can do when this bubble bursts, as it inevitably will, as surely as night follows day.
It's no secret that virtually every pension fund is dead man walking, doomed by central banks' imposition of low yields on safe investments, i.e. Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP).
Given that both The Economist and The Wall Street Journal have covered the impossibility of pension funds achieving their expected returns, this reality cannot be a surprise to anyone in a leadership role.
Public Pension Funds Roll Back Return Targets: Few managers count on returns of 8%-plus a year anymore; governments scramble to make up funding
Here's problem #1 in a nutshell: the average public pension fund still expects to earn an average annual return of 7.69%, year after year, decade after decade.
This is roughly triple the nominal (not adjusted for inflation) yield on a 30-year Treasury bond (about 2.65%). The only way any fund manager can earn 7.7% or more in a low-yield environment is to make extremely high risk bets that consistently pay off.
This is like playing one hand after another in a casino and never losing. Sorry, but high risk gambling doesn't work that way: the higher the risk, the bigger the gains; but equally important, the bigger the losses when the hot hand turns cold.
Here's problem #2 in a nutshell: in the good old days before the economy (and pension funds) became dependent on debt-fueled asset bubbles for their survival, pension fund managers expected an average annual return of 3.8%--less than half the current expected returns.
In the good old days, the needed returns could be generated by investing in safe income-producing assets--high-quality corporate bonds, Treasury bonds, etc. The risk of losing any of the fund's capital was extremely low.
Now that the expected returns have more than doubled while the yield on safe investments has plummeted, fund managers must take risks (i.e. chase yield) that can easily wipe out major chunks of the fund's capital if the bubble du jour bursts.
Here's problem #3 in a nutshell: everyone who rode the great bubble of 1994 - 2000 (including pension funds) soon reckoned 10%+ annual returns on equities was The New Normal, so expecting 7.5% - 8% annual returns seemed downright prudent.
When that bubble burst, decimating everyone still holding equities, the Federal Reserve promptly inflated two new bubbles: one in stocks and another in housing. Once again, everyone who rode these two bubbles up (including pension funds) minted hefty profits year after year.
This seemed to confirm that The New Normal included the occasional spot of bother (a.k.a. a severe market crash), but the Federal Reserve would quickly ride to the rescue and inflate a new bubble.
When the dual bubbles of stocks and housing both burst in 2008, once again the Fed rushed to inflate another set of bubbles, this time in stocks, bonds and rental housing. Lowering interest rates could no longer generate a new bubble. This time around, the Fed had to lower interest rates to zero indefinitely, and embark on the most massive monetary stimulus in history--quantitative easing (QE) 1, 2 and 3--to inflate a third bubble in stocks.
This unprecedented expansion of free money for financiers and dropping interest rates to zero generated a bubble in bonds and an echo-bubble in real estate--specifically, commercial real estate and rental housing.
These three bubbles once again generated handsome yields for pension funds.Once again fund managers' faith in the Federal Reserve maintaining a New Normal of occasional crashes quickly followed by even bigger bubbles was rewarded.
But the game is changing beneath the surface of Fed omnipotence. The returns on zero interest rates (or even negative rates) have diminished to zero, and the Fed's vaunted monetary stimulus programs have been recognized as enriching the rich at the expense of everyone else.
Even with the unprecedented tailwinds of one massive bubble after another, pension funds are in trouble. The high-risk returns of Fed-induced bubbles followed by the inevitable crashes cannot replace the safe, high yields of the pre-bubble-dependent economy.
If funds are in trouble with stocks in a new unprecedented bubble high, how will they do when stocks fall back to Earth, as they inevitably do in boom-bust cycles?
The usual justification for nose-bleed valuations is sky-high corporate profits.But profits have rolled over, and irreversible headwinds are increasing: a stronger U.S. dollar, an aging populace desperate to save more for retirement, an entire generation burdened with student debt and often-worthless college diplomas, a global economy on the brink of recession, diminishing returns on firing workers, diminishing returns on financialization legerdemain, etc.
Meanwhile, commercial real estate loans have soared above the previous bubble highs.
This seems to prove that no bubble bursts for long with the Federal Reserve at the helm, but there are limits on what the Fed can do when this bubble bursts, as it inevitably will, as surely as night follows day.
The Fed can't lower interest rates below zero without signaling that the economy is well and truly broken, and it can't force people who are wary of debt to borrow more, even if it effectively pays borrowers to take on more debt.
All the Fed can do is extend new debt to unqualified borrowers who will default at the first sneeze. This will trigger the collapse of whatever new credit-fueled bubble the Fed might generate.
The political winds are also changing. The public's passive acceptance of central banks' let's make the rich richer and everyone else poorer policies may be ending, and demands to put the heads of central bankers on spikes in the town square (figuratively speaking) may increase exponentially.
It's looking increasingly likely that third time's the charm: this set of bubbles is the last one central banks can blow. And when markets free-fall and don't reflate into new bubbles, pension funds will expire, as they were fated to do the day central banks chose zero interest rates forever as their cure for a broken economic model.


A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All is now available as an Audible audio book.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book's website.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Anger of the Unprivileged Is Rising Globally

Privilege serves the same purpose--benefiting the few at the expense of the many--regardless of the system's ideological labels.
The righteous disgust with the status quo that spawned the broad-based campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is not unique to the U.S.Globally, those disenfranchised by the status quo--the unprivileged, or in Peggy Noonan's phrase, the unprotected-- are starting to express their discontent in the streets, in social media and in elections.
Why are people around the world angry? It's obvious to everyone in the unprivileged classes and a mystery to the "we're doing just fine here, what's your problem?" privileged classes: The system is rigged to benefit the protected few and marginalize the unprotected many.
The problems are not just political; they are structural. As I outline in my new book, Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform, there are two structural engines of disorder at the heart of the system:
1. Automation, software and the forces of globalization are disrupting jobs and wages everywhere.
2. Centralized hierarchies and the forces of financialization have extended the power of privilege globally so the few are benefiting at the expense of the many, as revealed in this chart of global wealth:
The growing concentration of wealth and power in the privileged elites is evidenced by the fact that 8% of the world's populace owns 85% of its wealth.What is driving this increasing concentration of wealth and power? In a word:Privilege.
To understand rising wealth/income disparity and the increasing concentration of wealth, we must first understand the dual nature of privilege. Just as power comes in two flavors--hard power (military power) and soft power (exporting cultural wares and values)--so does privilege.
Hard-wired privileges are those that grant the holder of an office or position in the hierarchy specific rights to accumulate income, wealth and political power that are not available to the unprivileged. Officials in corrupt countries gain the right to collect fees from citizens as a direct result of their official position. Financiers in the U.S. have access to unlimited credit at low rates (free money for financiers) as a direct result of their position atop the financial pyramid.
Field-effect ("soft") privileges are defined by class and access rather than by the hard-wired authority of office or position in a formal hierarchy. Field-effect privileges include: enhanced access to Ivy League higher education granted to children of alumni and major donors; membership in exclusive clubs; access to "old boy" networks of alumni and partners, and so on.
Field-effect ("soft") privileges are one primary reason why the income of the top 20% has risen from 40% of total U.S. income to 51% in the past two decades. In a rapidly financializing, globalized economy, those with access to higher education, class connections and abundant credit have built-in advantages over those without all three advantages, which are self-reinforcing.
(I use the term field-effect to suggest that these privileges act like electrical fields, affecting all within their range, often without the privileged even being aware of their privileges. Hence the upper-middle penchant for overlooking all their class advantages and attributing their success to hard work. Well, yes, but that's not the entire story: we must also measure the often-subtle benefits of field-effect privileges.)
Over time, these privileges accrue substantial income and wealth: the 10% difference between 40% and 50% of total household income is $1.4 trillion per year. In the past decade, that means the top 20% has gained about $12 trillion more in income than it would have if its share of total household income had remained at 40%.
Having an Ivy League (or equivalent top-tier public university) diploma is a plus, but it doesn't provide a wealth of self-reinforcing privileges unless it is combined with upper-class connections and networks and easy access to credit (to scoop up productive assets on the cheap). Together, these field-effect privileges create synergies that concentrate wealth and power.
Interestingly, privilege serves the same purpose--benefiting the few at the expense of the many--regardless of the system's ideological labels. Socialist, Communist and free-market elites loot their populaces and national wealth with equal gusto. Those who came to do good and stayed to do well first accumulate privileges, which they then leverage into wealth and power.
The grievances of Chinese workers robbed of their wages, Greek small-business owners burdened by ever-rising taxes, downsized corporate warriors in the U.S., etc. may appear to be different, but beneath the surface these grievances all arise from one source: unearned privileges that benefit the few at the expense of the many.
The only way to eliminate social and economic injustice is to eliminate privilege, which is the heart of my book A Radically Beneficial World.


A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All is now available as an Audible audio book.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book's website.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Choice For Venezuela Is Stark: Either Print Money and Fail or Establish Sound Money (USD to the Rescue?)

There are a number of reasons why adopting the USD is a natural choice for any Venezuelan government that is not bent on self-destruction.
Let's start our analysis of Venezuela's economic plight with two exhibits: Exhibit A is a chart of the market (free) exchange rate of the Venezuelan Bolivar and the U.S. dollar (USD), and Exhibit B is a chart of the USD.
Back in 2003, when the writing was already on the wall, one USD bought 1.6 Bolivars. Today, it takes over 1,000 Bolivars to buy one U.S. dollar. Though the official rate is 10 Bolivars to one USD for subsidized goods and 416 to the USD for everything else, the street exchange rate is 1,050 Bolivars to the dollar.
(The official exchange rate has multiple levels, creating multiple layers of confusion and opportunities for graft/corruption.)
While Venezuela's currency was in a free-fall to oblivion, a fundamental revaluation of the U.S. dollar pushed the USD up about 20% in the past two years.
Once a currency is mortally wounded, the government has a stark choice: either print more money and try to stimulate a dying economy by spending the fast-depreciating money, or relinquish the dead currency and establish a sound currency that will attract capital to the country's economy.
There are only two paths: either the state/central bank creates or borrows money into existence in an attempt to "print and deficit-spend our way to prosperity," or the state accepts sound money that it cannot print or borrow into existence. This stability soon attracts private capital.
If the state/central bank attempts to create capital by printing or borrowing money into existence, private capital will flee because the writing is on the wall: the currency and economy are doomed. You can create currency out of thin air, but you can't create sound money out of thin air or real capital out of thin air.
If the state/central bank surrenders the money-printing press, and accepts the limitations of a currency it can't print into hyper-inflation, then private capital will enter the economy because it can trust that the currency can't be devalued by politicos or the central bank.
I was interested in a recent article on Zero HedgeWill Venezuela Be Forced To Embrace The Dollar?, for it followed my suggestion of four years ago that Greece should adopt the U.S. Dollar as its new currency (May 14, 2012).
There are a number of reasons why adopting the USD is a natural choice for any Venezuelan government that is not bent on self-destruction.
Adopting the U.S. dollar would deprive the Venezuelan state of its power to devalue its currency. The basic idea behind devaluing one's currency is to boost one's exports by making one's goods cheaper in other currencies.
But since Venezuela has few exports other than oil, which typically trades in USD, there is no export-driven reason to devalue the currency.
A gold-backed currency would be sound money, but does Venezuela have enough gold left to back a new currency? Perhaps, but if there are pervasive doubts about the state's policies and the ability of the Venezuelan economy to survive its present woes, everyone will quickly convert their currency into gold, and the nation's gold reserves would quickly be depleted.
Many people see the ability to devalue a currency as necessary to attract investment. The basic idea here is that if a currency gets cheap enough, foreign capital will smell a bargain and flood into the country, boosting growth.
I think this is absolutely backwards: what capital will sniff out is the possibility that a cheap currency will get even cheaper. As I always note, no nation has ever devalued its way to prosperity or influence. Devaluing one's currency impoverishes every holder of the currency, which invariably includes the bottom 99.9% of your population.
The practicalities also favor the U.S. dollar. With $1.4 trillion of actual physical cash in circulation globally, there is enough USD cash to grease daily commerce in Venezuela, which has about 30 million residents and a GDP of $131 billion (at the official exchange rate, about the size of Nevada's economy) or purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP of about $500 billion, about the size of North Carolina's economy.
The USD is already recognized and used as money in Venezuela (and virtually every other nation on the planet), and so the infrastructure is already set up to maintain a pricing mechanism in USD.
The current government of Venezuela has failed. That much is obvious. The only unknown is what sort of governance eventually replaces it and at what cost in human lives and suffering.
The new government, whether it labels itself Socialist, Communist, free-market or a hybrid of various ideologies, would immediately establish sound money and financial stability by adopting the U.S. dollar as its currency.
Since the USD is already a global currency, the new government would not need the American state's permission; it could announce the adoption, bank the dollars being paid for Venezuelan oil and get about reorganizing the economy for the betterment of Venezuela's people based on a currency that is recognized as a means of exchange everywhere.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book's website.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

The War on Cash Is a War on Your Freedom to Opt Out

Cash is a proxy for the freedom to maintain some privacy in an era of Big Brother repression, surveillance and the suppression of dissent.
I've covered the war on cash i.e. the proposed elimination of cash, a number of times, for example, The War On Cash: Officially Sanctioned Theft (June 13, 2015)
Our first question should be: just how big a share of our financial universe is cash? The answer is: vanishingly small. Look at this chart of total credit in the U.S. economy--$63 trillion--and total cash: $1.45 trillion. Cash is the thin red line at the bottom of the chart--it barely registers.
Meanwhile, total household/non-profit-sector financial assets total $70.3 trillion (net $55.8 trillion minus liabilities of $14.5 trillion).
Total money (currency in circulation and demand deposits) is over $10 trillion.
If cash is such a small share of money and assets, why are governments so keen to ban cash?
The official answer is to limit money-laundering by drug traffickers and criminals. But laundering money through official banking channels is not that difficult, so cash is not necessary for laundering.
Another official reason is tax evasion. But tax evasion is now so easy, once again cash is not required: The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States:Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new business.
THE BIGGEST TAX HAVEN OF THEM ALL? THE U.S., FATCA AND THE CRS “By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth. Everyone from London lawyers to Swiss trust companies is getting in on the act, helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota.”
The irony of the situation has not been lost on at least one foreign observer – a Swiss lawyer quoted in the Bloomberg report:
“How ironic—no, how perverse—that the USA, which has been so sanctimonious in its condemnation of Swiss banks, has become the banking secrecy jurisdiction du jour. That ‘giant sucking sound’ you hear? It is the sound of money rushing to the USA.”
So if large-scale money-laundering and tax evasion no longer require cash, why are governments so anxious to ban cash? The simple answer is to eliminate small-time tax evasion by making every transaction visible to authorities.
This raises the obvious question: how much extra tax revenue would be raised by eliminating cash purchases at swap meets, garage sales, farmer's markets, etc.? Let's face it--the revenues gained would be modest, as many of the people using cash don't earn enough to pay much income tax anyway.
As for drug-related transactions--does anyone seriously think a buyer of street heroin is going to log the sale electronically via a debit card? Or that the dealer would digitally transact the purchase as "heroin, sold by ABC Dealers, Inc."?
(Legalizing drugs and treating addictions as a medical issue would eliminate the illegal drug trade in one fell swoop. Look at Portugal's positive experience as a real-world guide.)
The real goal behind calls to eliminate cash is to limit our freedom to opt out: to drop out of the entire must-get-a-paycheck-and-pay-payroll-taxes lifestyle that supports the status quo.
As I have often noted, a very common response to the decay of the Roman Empire was to opt-out / drop out: in effect, stop working for the Man, stop paying taxes and stop borrowing money.
As taxes rose to crushing levels, productive people fled to monasteries or the relative protection of large estates (whose wealthy owners naturally evaded taxes), or simply went off the grid.
This is known as Voting With Your Feet (August 14, 2015).
There are many ways to opt out, and most involve reducing expenses, living low to the ground and developing multiple income streams. Cash is integral to this lifestyle, and not just for purposes of tax evasion: cash is a proxy for the freedom to maintain some privacy in an era of Big Brother repression, surveillance and the suppression of dissent.
For the record, I am a proponent of rendering under Caesar that which is Caesar's, i.e. paying all taxes owed to the various levels of government. Evading tax is personally beneficial, but it simply increases the burdens on those who are unable to skim/scam their way out of taxes.
Ultimately, the war on cash is all about increasing control by eliminating privacy and the freedom to abandon the debt-serf rat-race. I should have the right to conduct my business with cash and pay my taxes digitally. Cash is necessary to maintain some modicum of privacy in an age of all-pervasive financial repression, surveillance and the suppression of dissent.
I recently discussed the war on cash with Adam and Daniel of the Wake Up Podcast: The War on Cash with Charles Hugh Smith (YouTube)
Readers of my book A Radically Beneficial World will not be surprised to find that I see crypto-currencies as playing an increasingly important alternative role in a world of state-sponsored financial repression.
My new book is #2 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book's website.

NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
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