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Round 2: TheWayISeeIt vs The Vagabond: Digital Reserves?

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posted on Mar, 8 2009 @ 05:08 PM
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The topic for this debate is "The Benefits Of A Cashless Society Outweigh The Detriments"

TheWayISeeIt will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
The Vagabond will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

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posted on Mar, 9 2009 @ 08:55 PM
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Thanks to any and all who take the time to read this with a special shout-out of appreciation to MemoryShock for moderating, the Judges for donating their valuable time and to my fearsome opponent for this opportunity to go toe-to-toe with a giant.
 


"The Benefits Of A Cashless Society Outweigh The Detriments"

Ladies and Gentlemen, while I am certain I am outmatched by my opponent’s rhetorical skills, I am so confident of the basic contention of my position -- namely that the benefits of a cashless society outweigh the detriments -- that I remain hopeful that I will, at the very least, be able to put-up a sporting fight because, quite simply, the facts are on my side.

While I anticipate that the topic will call for a certain level of speculation from both my opponent and I, there is more than ample evidence currently available to highlight the benefits of electronic commerce which also ably demonstrate how a digital-cash economy will benefit society from top to bottom.

In the course of this debate we will look at a myriad of areas where the conversion to a cashless society creates clear and far-reaching benefits for all. Well, all but those who engage in:

Crime – By moving to a cashless society we would knock the legs out from underneath not only organized crime and drug trafficking ‘industries’, but the motivation for a slew of attendant, violent crimes; kidnapping, armored car heists, armed robberies, muggings, purse snatchings, retail robberies from both the armed and ‘inside jobs’ (employee cash theft).

Counterfeiting – The counterfeiting of the U.S. dollar not only drains the U.S. economy, but further adds a burden to the tax-paying consumer.

Terrorism – Moving to a cashless society would make the funding of terrorists and terrorist organizations infinitely more difficult and create a host of ways to find those who attempt to.

Tax Evasion – It is estimated that conservatively hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes are avoided annually by businesses who do not declare all of their cash receipts.

We will also see the positive impact in:

Reducing Cost of Currency Production & Seniorage – It is estimated that the Treasury spends approximately 600 million dollars per year creating and keeping currency in circulation. While there would be initial costs in the creation of an infrastructure for a cashless society the costs would dwindle significantly.

Health Benefits - We will see that paper money is truly a dirty, filthy thing that can not only sicken us in our daily lives, but has the potential to be a catalyst for the next global pandemic.

Environmental Benefits - By moving to a cashless society we would alleviate a great strain on our global environment by eliminating the tree loss, mining and smelting that are a prerequisite to ‘hard currency’ production.

Private Sector/Industry Benefits - While some shady cash-dealing businesses may get caught for not paying their fair share in taxes, business at large will benefit so significantly, and across-the-board, that one is hard-pressed to find an area where it does not.

Consumer Benefits – From convenience to costs we will see a host of ways that a cashless society saves money, time and lives.

 


AND HOW WOULD THIS WORK?

In order to have this debate we first need to address the mechanisms for making digital cash secure. This is where a certain level of speculation is required as a federally mandated system for digital economy has yet to be fully implemented. That does not mean that there are not plans for how one could be implemented. There are and these plans in turn show how our security, financial and otherwise, will be greatly enhanced in a digi-cash world.

For one such plan let us look to Singapore which announced in 1998 its intent to move to a cashless society by 2008. While they are still in the process, the last estimate 2010, it serves as an ideal case study of how a government can create and regulate a ‘cashless society’.

The study by Low Siang Kok Director (Quality), Board of Commissioners of Currency Singapore (BCCS), is from 2002 and references the project when it was still in conceptual stages, but it provides the clearest overview of the reasons, and benefits for, Singapore’s proposed move to a digi-cash economy. (The following link is to a pdf file and the paper referenced begins on page 145 and ends at 153).

Singapore Electronic Tender (SELT)



SELT, with its offline capabilities, offers convenience to the ordinary
consumer who will also pay less bank charges. The incorporation of a password to
lock the smart chips is an added protection for the ordinary consumer against
criminal acts such as theft and robbery.


I am highlighting this particular segment of the paper for two reasons as they both speak to important aspects of any sound cashless society which is beneficial to the consumer. The latter point being the obvious safety of password protected digital cash. The former being an example of how, in a cashless society, we will no longer have to pay money to access our money.

Let’s whet our appetite with an amuse bouche before the banquet of benefits I will be serving up, shall we ?

BUH-BYE ATM FEES

To be clear, I am not proposing that in a cashless society the consumer will be entirely freed from bank fees for credit; that is still a service that the consumer may opt for and will in turn have to pay. But in the instance of accessing cash it is my position that logic dictates when digi-cash is the government mandated norm, there can be no viable way to suggest that the consumer pay to access the only form of currency available to them.

The link below is parsing a press release of the most comprehensive study done on ATM usages and their attendant fees as of 2006. Unfortunately the full study is $395.00, so I will not be able to link to it in its entirety, but you can see from the figures that are available that Off-Premise ATM use (the kind where the fees pile-on) are said to be 1.5 billion sessions per annum.

It further goes on to explain that the cost to the consumer is on average $3.00 for each of the 1.5 billion sessions, which adds to up $4.5 billion dollars in annual fees that would, by logical dictate, be saved by the American consumer every year in a ‘cashless society’.
ATM STATISTICS 2006
 


Before I turn the page over to my esteemed opponent and his inevitable -- and I am going to predict paranoid -- screeds about security and privacy issues, allow me to point out that as of 2008 63% of all consumer transactions in the United States were done electronically.



The 2008 Study of Consumer Payment Preferences found that 63 percent of all consumer purchases are made using electronic payment methods. Electronic payments now account for the majority of payments across all three major payment venues-including bill payment.

4 (Emphasis mine).

From this we can clearly see that the consumer is avidly embracing all forms of electronic payment and through the course of this debate we will not only explore why, in much more depth, but I believe we will also be able to further extrapolate and arrive at the conclusion that the benefits of a cashless society surely outweigh its consequences.

SQ1 – Do you believe there is any form of secure electronic payment methods?

SQ2 – Do you believe the average American is willing to give up privacy for convenience?



posted on Mar, 10 2009 @ 06:42 PM
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I will be using my 24 hour extension.



posted on Mar, 11 2009 @ 08:25 PM
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Again my thanks to Memory Shock and Semperfortis, as well as to the judges and my opponent for making this all possible.

In the course of this debate, I intend to show that a cashless system, as my opponent has begun to describe it, is incompatible with privacy, and to show, with need for only limited paranoid screeds, that privacy is a practical necessity. Further more, I will show that precisely because this system acts primarily on privacy, that honest people will be affected while the various criminals my opponent refers to will be largely unaffected.

In the end, it will be as simple as this: a cashless system will burden us with expanded government powers, open new threats to our very liberty, create new and more dangerous vulnerabilities to crime, and fail to deliver on the majority of its positive promises to any extent beyond what our current system either already does or easily could with much smaller changes.

I will begin with my opponent's socratic questions, as they go so nicely with my argument.

Answer to SQ 1. (SQ1 – Do you believe there is any form of secure electronic payment methods?):

No. Security is proportional to control, thus perfect security cannot be achieved in practice.

Hackers have proven it again and again
Some systems are harder to crack than others, but secure? Not in a world where Markus Hess (source 1a) can hack the pentagon, and the only way to catch him is by tricking him into mailing in for hard copies.

Great cryptographers have come to see their quests for perfect security as "naive"

Even accomplished cryptographers who once believed that security could be mathematically ensured have come to understand that the inability to account for all external factors represents an Achilles' Heel to security systems.

Source 1b: Bruce Schneier

In Applied Cryptography, he implies that correctly implemented algorithms and technology promise safety and secrecy, and that following security protocol ensures security, regardless of the behavior of others. Schneier now argues that the incontrovertible mathematical guarantees miss the point. As he describes in Secrets and Lies, a business which uses RSA encryption to protect its data without considering how the cryptographic keys are handled by employees on "complex, unstable, buggy" computers has failed to properly protect the information. An actual security solution that includes technology must also take into account the vagaries of hardware, software, networks, people, economics, and business.


They figured that out in part because systems that were perfect on paper ended up failing

This is well demonstrated by Soviet misoperation of a theoretically fool-proof system, which the US-UK VENONA Project exploited in order to compromise several Soviet agents. Source 1c: VENONA Project

There is a balance between security and liberty
In short, your control over a system is only as good as your control over every single component, including the individuals who participate in the system. This is why the most democratic societies often prefer systems which function with minimal control, such as the free market, and are even willing to accept a certain level of insecurity in the system (conveniently, the fact that such systems can only be minimally controlled makes them fairly resilient inspite of their vulnerability).

On the other hand, when tight controls are put in place, they tend to corrupt the system, even when power is not the original object. Power is in fact anathema to Communism, yet in pursuit of the security they believe is needed to develop a functioning, egalitarian state of anarchy, they inevitably stray into far darker realms than greedy capitalists have ever dared.

Not only do perfectly secure systems not exist, but the reason they do not exist is because to develop them you would have to be willing and able to establish an unprecedented level of tyrany. I do mean unprecedented, which brings us to my next point and my opponent's next question.

Privacy limits control and safeguards Liberty

Privacy is not dead

Answer to SQ 2.(SQ2 – Do you believe the average American is willing to give up privacy for convenience?)

No, the average American does not give up the right to privacy. My opponent has clearly shown, and I do not dispute, that most people will sometimes choose not to exercise that right in particular situations. However, they retain their right to privacy and their ability to begin exercising it at any time. The option of privacy and thus ultimate control remains with the people.

This is a crucial distinction, because the right to privacy, particularly as understood and practiced in the United States, does not originate merely from an abstract right to have secrets. A great many of the landmark SCOTUS precedents which strengthened the right to privacy did not originate with the authorities actually committing a violation of privacy, but with the authorities claiming the right to regulate private conduct.

Abortion and sexual morality cases, from Griswold v. Connecticut (prohibition of contraceptives overturned) to Roe v. Wade (Prohibition of Abortion overturned) to Lawrence v. Texas (prohibition of consentual sodomy overturned) and on, have time and again prompted the courts to not merely to over-rule the government on the matter in question, but to protect much broader areas of life from such government control through continued application of one solution: privacy. The courts realize that the government can't oppress what it doesn't know about.

In so many words, the court has several times protected privacy with the motive of checking the government's knowledge as a means to check the government's actions.

In fact the very first interpretation of a right to privacy in the 14th Amendment was the result of one of those cases.Source 2: Griswold v. Connecticut

In other words, the option (even when not being immediately exercised) of denying access to information is a constitutional safeguard of liberty.


A cashless system as my opponent describes it inherently threatens privacy

My opponent suggests that a government mandated system should become

the only form of currency available
(emphasis NOT mine).

This consolidates the tracking of all transactions into a single system, which my opponent herself implies will be unconstitutionally monitored.

As my opponent points out, some businesses currently pay in cash, "under the table" to avoid paying the half of FICA taxes that the employer is responsible for. She says that a cashless system will prevent this.

Even under the current system, such conduct creates discrepencies which are readily discovered once the books are opened up. All the government needs to do is get into the books, usually in the form of an IRS Audit. With all transactions under a government system though, the government is the one keeping the books. Which means that can investigate everyone.
Afterall, if the current system is already extremely good at catching the guilty upon investigation, then the only way to dramatically increase how many people you catch is to dramatically increase the number of people you investigate. And what limits investigations? Probable Cause and the Right to Privacy.

A cashless system will do much of what my opponent claims (not all of it though, as I will cover later) but only because the system would allow the government to discretely monitor and ascertain the nature of all transactions. Without this breach of civil rights, the cashless system changes almost nothing.

We can now select from a multitude of alternatives: ATM debit cards, pre-paid "smart cards", charge cards, credit cards, gift cards, money orders, etc, with many options on cost, payment terms, security, privacy, and convenience. We have many choices of source as well. We have them all without giving up the ultimate in privacy- a form of payment that actually has somebody else's picture on it- cash. And whatever its faults, we're using paper instead of electronic forms for over a third of our transactions still, according to my opponent's own source, and it's not because over a third of us are criminals, terrorists, and tax evaders.

Thus it is wise that Singapore will continue to give people a choice
That's right. Singapore is NOT going cashless. Non-electronic payment will continue, and electronic payment cannot be forced onto merchants- the free market will be allowed to decide.

From page 142 of my opponent's source:

Providers of goods and services in the market are free to set conditions upon which they will supply goods and services. If a merchant stipulates that he will supply a service only if payment is made electronically, he can refuse the service if payment is offered by some other method.


Misconceptions abound on this subject, but this should clear many of them up and explain how they arose (see page 3)Source 3: Economics for the Future


It was only after the presentation by BCCS director Low Siang Kok at the OECD Future of Money Forum in Luxembourg in July 2001 (Low, 2002) that it became clear that the news reports misrepresented the BCCS's true intentions on a number of points. Most importantly, the news reports gave the impression that by 2008 merchants in Singapore would be obliged ("legally required") to accept electronic money as payment 7.



Till next time, know this: this idea will not coexist with privacy, which is crucial to our liberty



posted on Mar, 12 2009 @ 05:29 PM
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Please notice how my opponent is spinning a word he put in my mouth. I never used the word ‘perfect’ and certainly not in the various ways he is contorting it to limit the idea of a feasible security mechanism for our cashless society. Furthermore, I agree, security is proportional to control. It is a given and obvious point.

In my opening I noted that the discussion of this topic was going to call for some conjecture on the part of both my opponent and myself. Who is in control of our cashless society is a question we have not addressed yet, but it surely has to be government mandated and regulated.

Do the levers of control lie with the government? Maybe so, maybe not. This is something we can explore in various hypothetical scenarios throughout this debate, but I can guarantee that unless one takes the perspective that motives of those in control are nefarious, the benefits of a cashless society outweigh the detriments.

Anyone Can Knock Someone Over the Head and Stick their Hands in a Cash Register

Furthermore, at no point did I intend to argue that any system would be failsafe, but there are certainly systems that are superior to others, some vastly so.

In our hypothetical cashless society we would have to include hypothetical security mechanisms; security mechanisms that would be inherent to its very creation and implementation; security measures and mechanisms that are least equal to, if not better than, the most secure aspects of various digital monetary systems that is in place today. This I believe is much more germane to our debate than speculating about how Communism leads to my opponent’s subjective definition of corruption and tyranny, or how Ciphers were used and cracked in the 1940’s.

There are currently many sophisticated and very difficult to hack encryption technologies. We have seen 128-bit SSL Certificates , give way to 256-bit AES encryption and when adding the Rijindael algorithmic application we currently have an encryption standard that is proving sound and secure.



Attacks on the algorithm have succeeded only in an extremely limited environment and, while interesting from a mathematical viewpoint, appear to have little consequence in the real world.


When, and if, AES Rijindael, becomes hackable to real world applications we can safely assume that there will be another encryption code that offers ever more security as this is how these things go. Nothing will ever be 100% secure. But if we are comparing the skill-sets it takes to steal money in a cashless society to the ones it takes to steal in a cash society, we are dramatically reducing the number of individuals who can commit these crimes.

 


My opponent is also welcome to keep having arguments with himself about U.S. constitutional law that allows for a right to privacy. As I understand the topic of the debate, it is not my job to argue whether a cashless society should be created, but rather to answer the question “do the benefits of one outweigh the detriments”.

So on to the task at hand. In another example of the obvious benefit of a cashless society let’s look at my opponent’s position in regards to uncollected taxes:



Afterall, if the current system is already extremely good at catching the guilty upon investigation, then the only way to dramatically increase how many people you catch is to dramatically increase the number of people you investigate.


From the last reported audit by the IRS in 2001 we see that the current system is woefully incapable of collecting almost $300 BILLION dollars a year it knows it is owed in taxes.



Based on an analysis of audited tax returns from 2001, the I.R.S. recently estimated that the government lost $290 billion that year as a result of underreporting and underpayment of taxes.
(snip)
The I.R.S. estimated that it lost $109 billion on unreported business income, almost all of that from sole proprietors, like painters, plumbers, dry cleaners, florists, limousine drivers and restaurant owners.

Link

An extra $300 billion dollars per annum would have a major impact on the life of virtually every American. Even if that number was almost halved and the IRS was able to collect only $150 billion dollars a year in taxes it knows it is owed, in the course of a decade with the 1.7 trillion dollars collected we could:



(1) eliminate more than two-thirds of the public debt according to CBO projections, or (2) cut income tax rates across the board by more than 10 percent, or (3) provide health care for the uninsured and a generous prescription drug benefit under Medicare, or (4) fully fund the transition to individual accounts under Social Security.

Link 3
The link above is from Leonard E. Burman’s ( a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute; Co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; and Research Professor, Georgetown Public Policy Institute) testimony before congress in 2003. His testimony is geared towards encouraging more assets for the Treasury and IRS to collect these unpaid taxes. Much the same as my opponent is suggesting in his previous statement, but here it is 2009 and most of those plans have not been implemented. Why?

Well, because as we can see from the NYT’s article, small businesses are lobbying furiously against it. Which brings us to the simple fact that in a cashless society these owed taxes would be recorded and, ostensibly, collected. And there is no getting around the fact that we as a society would certainly benefit from that.

 


Time for the Soup Course! Unfortunately circumstance dictates that I have to serve up a sickening stew, because now we are going to learn about –

DIRTY FILTHY PAPER MONEY

Truer words, it turns out, were never spoken and as much as I hate to waste character count on external sources it is in this instance required to get the full picture (NOTE: it was also necessary to edit some of them down, so if you really want the fullest picture use the link).



Staphylococcus aureus: A bacterium commonly found in the nose of a healthy person that can cause a range of symptoms, from minor skin infections and abscesses to potentially fatal illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis, endocartitis, toxic shock syndrome and septicemia.

Klebsiella pneumoniae: The bacterium can cause flu-like symptoms, the coughing up of blood-tinged sputum, broncho-pneumonia, bronchitis and urinary tract infection.

Streptococcus: A bacterium commonly found on skin and in the mouth, intestine and upper respiratory tract that can cause strep throat, meningitis, bacterial pneumonia, endocarditis, erysipelas and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating infection).

Enterobacter: A species of bacteria commonly found in the human intestinal tract that can cause opportunistic infections of the urinary tract as well as other parts of the body, and are sometimes associated with respiratory tract infections.

Pseudomonas: These bacteria can lead to urinary tract infections, sepsis, pneumonia, pharyngitis and other potentially fatal illnesses.

Link 4

Bad news, if you’ve got some cash on you? You probably have much of the above on you too.

The link is to an article that is discussing a 2001 study that was conducted by infectious disease expert Peter Winder of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Centre. He and his team went to a nearby high-school and collected dollar bills from people who were in line to purchase snacks during a basketball game.

They tested the money and found that 86% of the bills had what is considered the more benign bacteria and germs namely pseudomonas, streptococcus and enterobacter which will sicken those with compromised immune systems. While 7% had Klebsiella and Staphylococcus aureus which can take even the most hardy down.

Would it not be beneficial to remove this filthy lucre from our daily lives? Purely from a health standpoint on that basis alone I say, yes! But wait, it gets worse. Not only can this paper money one is invariably required to handle in a cash society expose us to these pathogens, but paper money is now considered to be a prime culprit for the spread of the next global pandemic.



The flu virus persists so well on banknotes that money could help spread the next pandemic, researchers say.

5

The 2007 study found that not only can the flu-virus survive on paper money, but that the most common strain lasted for up to 72 hours. And when they combined the virus with human mucous -- the most common way it would be transferred to the money -- they had contagious strains that lasted for 17 days!

Frankly, given what we know now, I think one can safely extrapolate that a terrorist in New York city whose agenda was to indiscriminately kill, could certainly do more damage with a deadly flu-strain, a runny-nose and a $1000 bucks of $20 bills than was done with a few planes and a couple of skyscrapers.

On that note, I will once again turn the page over to my opponent and look forward to his defense of this bio-hazardous material that, with its inherent distribution model, could serve as an ideal delivery-mechanism for the next scourge that wipes out a large portion of planet.

SQ1 – Do you agree that paper-money serves as a delivery mechanism for pathogens?

SQ2 – Do you support tax evasion?



posted on Mar, 13 2009 @ 05:14 PM
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Our system is built on limitation and decentralization of power because that is historically proven to protect against great threats and bestow great benefits.

I am somewhat taken aback by the naiveté of my opponent's response to my opening. Particularly the following two quotes.


I can guarantee that unless one takes the perspective that motives of those in control are nefarious, the benefits of a cashless society outweigh the detriments



My opponent is also welcome to keep having arguments with himself about U.S. constitutional law that allows for a right to privacy. As I understand the topic of the debate, it is not my job to argue whether a cashless society should be created, but rather to answer the question “do the benefits of one outweigh the detriments”.


These quotes beg a few socratic questions before I proceed:

SQ1. Is human nature is essentially good, honest and trustworthy?

SQ2. Aren't our constitutional rights put in place to prevent abuses which would be extremely detrimental to the people?

SQ3. Do the benefits of the constitutional right to privacy outweigh its detriments?

SQ4/5. Is there any number of lives and/or dollars that would be too high a price for America to pay in order to preserve its freedom, and if so, what do you believe those numbers to be?



It should be fairly clear where I am going. However well intentioned this system might be, and whatever its promises, it represents a direct reversal of precisely the features which have made our nation (and several others) so prosperous and powerful.

The trials of America's first 90 years would have meant the rise of tyranny if not final ruin even for most great nations near their primes. The greatest empire on earth kicked the snot out of us for the better part of our first decade before we finally got rid of them, but then we got caught between them and their greatest rival, so they came back and burnt our capital to the ground. Then just as things were starting to look OK, we fall into civil war, and the British very nearly entered that war as well, on the confederate side.

What normally happens under those conditions?
Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussien- those men are what happened to Rome, France, Germany, Russia, and Iraq under similar conditions.

Most nations, when they endure multiple revolutions and a long period of near-constant military threat, end up under a tyrant if they survive at all.

Our system has proven to be more resilient under even the most enormous strain because we redundantly limit what our leaders can and cannot do, regardless of circumstance, and we make up for this lack of control by decentralizing many functions.

The free market, and not the government, allocates spending for the vast majority of our efforts. State and subordinate local agencies, not the federal government, are the primary enforcers of our laws. We have competing cabinet agencies within our executive branch and our courts refuse to interfere when they clash. We even maintain four divergent military chains of command under our president.

In short, we have found that an emphasis on independence and freedom yields the most stunning successes, and compartmentalizes failures or vulnerabilities in order to limit the scope of potential attacks or disasters.

A cashless system necessarily reduces limits on power and centralizes power.

The necessary workings of a cashless system inherently threaten the above-described recipe for success.

In order for a cashless system to work, there must be a central accounting of who has how much money, since physical possession would no longer be a viable test.

This central accounting will either be done by banks or by government. In light of the current mortgage crisis, and the role that lender fraud played in the creation of all these now-toxic assetts, and their subsequent claims that they have no idea where they spent the billions we gave them, it is plainly laughable to even consider that the people or the government will trust banks to reliably execute all accounting and transactions for every holder of US dollars world wide.

This leaves us with the government to operate a system without which nobody can buy or sell anything. They will be not just able to, but in fact counted upon, to know every detail of everyone's finances and every single transaction- because if they don't, your odds of ever seeing your money again would be better if you lost your wallet in Tiajuana.

So what if the intent of those who emplace the system is not nefarious? This enormous power will still be sitting there in the hands of our government, run by imperfect mortal men.
What will happen when we place great power, and thus great temptation before them? We have always been rewarded for distrusting them in the formation of our laws and constitution, and more often than not been harshly punished when we lay the temptations of power before them.

Look at Social Security, which provides far less room for abuse than the proposed cashless system. The government is already holding A LOT of our money for us. Are they doing a good job?

They borrow our retirement money without asking us, and they lose it.
They're the only entity in America's insurance industry that can actually FORCE everyone to become customers, and they still can't make money.
That doesn't fill me with confidence for what will happen when they are handling ALL of my money.
If we give them the keys to the whole operation, the social security debacle will be nothing by comparison.

I'll be wrapping up here for now, after answering my opponent's socratic questions of course, but be sure to tune in tomorrow. In my next post we will move beyond the tedium of civil rights and the principles that define us as a people, which my opponent so far doesn't seem all that interested in anyway, and begin the fun part- detailed prognostications of doom and gloom wrought at the hands of the other side, and promises of tremendous glory delivered by my position- in sort, everything that draws people to the Main Stream Media, only not fictional.


SQ1 – Do you agree that paper-money serves as a delivery mechanism for pathogens?


Yes, as does the air I breathe. I like both quite a bit never the less.


SQ2 – Do you support tax evasion?


No, but there are limits to what I will do to stop it. I oppose tax evasion but I'm not giving up my privacy and final control of my money to a central authority.

In a similar spirit, though most Americans oppose lying in court, we would never allow witnesses and defendants to be drugged before their testimony.



posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 05:08 PM
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First allow me to thank my opponent for his version of an early American history lesson – a biased and narrow version though it may have been -- and then go on to the topic at hand which is debating whether “The Benefits Of A Cashless Society Outweigh The Detriments".

We have seen my opponent’s paranoid, dystopic, disempowered (strictly American) Peoples version of a hypothetical cashless society, well, we’ve seen it in as much as he is willing to engage on the topic. Now let us look at one of mine, and we can, in this particular instance, even presume it is America with all of its current attendant economic turmoil and its banking and governmental-financial malfeasance…Wait. What’s that I see? Why it’s –

A Surprise Course of Benefits Coming Out of the Kitchen!

Yes indeed, because given the state of our current economy and deregulated banks run amok; what is it we need more than anything at this time? Regulation and transparency and a move to a cashless society would create a unique opportunity to regulate not only the government and its fiscal transparency, but banks who are at this time, largely unregulated in virtually all senses of the word.

Furthermore, if we are throwing the word naive around, I think it is utterly naive to think that any cashless society could come to pass without it being approved of and avidly embraced by the vast majority of the people. There would have to be obvious assurances of conveniences, benefits and liberty maintained. Period.

The government does not have the resources to arrest every man, woman and child in this country that would continue to deal in cash. Nor the resources to stop a nationwide revolt that would no doubt occur where the populous not behind such a personal and specific transition that would affect every aspect of their lives.

It is also my position that in order to make such a significant sea-change and get the People to support such a system there would have to be CLEAR LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS, constitutional amendments even, that protect the consumer/citizen or the change would simply NOT BE ADOPTED. Citizens would most certainly take to the streets and flatly refuse to embrace the change a cashless society would bring if they did not see the clear benefits and protection it offers without robbing them of their liberty.

I also believe an open move to cashless society would galvanize the populous to better protect their rights where they to be infringed upon at a later date, as there would have to be significant political engagement before any such endeavor could take place and every American would have a true investment in every other American’s newly established rights being encroached upon or threatened.

Why in this scenario, it is almost possible to see the average American citizen getting positively ‘French’ when it comes to putting pressure on the government.
 



TWISI - SQ2 – Do you support tax evasion?
TV ANS. -No, but there are limits to what I will do to stop it. I oppose tax evasion but I'm not giving up my privacy and final control of my money to a central authority.

So not only do you have a laissez faire attitude about law enforcement if it infringes on your personal sense of power and control, but by the nature of your argument it seems that you also presume your sense of personal power and control, as well as your vision of US, should be the deciding factor for society as a whole. Not to be rude but, egocentric much?

You also presume that a cashless society would have to have a ‘central authority’ as opposed to a more diffuse, but a highly, and legally, regulated one that would mirror in its function the one we have today, but without its flawed checks and balances. Let me be clear, I will not subscribe to your view as the one required of a cashless society. Nor will I allow you to insist that it is the only way one could be in existence.

There is no reason to believe that there could not, and would not, be the ‘firewall’ that is around banks and government today, but one that is infinitely more effective and held to much higher accountability. To example, and as you said in an earlier post, if the government wants to know what is in your bank account they are required to investigate it.

If we had regulations and constitutional laws in place that made the banks highly accountable to the consumer/citizen, and held the government to equal standards, ‘money’ would still be issued by the government to the banks, the banks would still distribute it but a new opportunity to create informed consumer/citizen protections in the form accountability most definitely exists.

Again, in order to get the People (American in this instance) to embrace this change they would have to be dealt, and negotiated with, and would I would argue become more empowered by dint of that negotiation. We could well and truly get some feet in our hands to put to the flames, and we would all have an active interest making sure that we were, each and everyone us, able to hang on to those feet.
 

CASH IS COSTING YOU MORE THAN YOU KNOW

The cost of creating ‘hard’ currency is not only staggering it its actual manufacture and amount, but it is also incredibly damaging to the environment. Let us first look at the production of paper money:



The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Federal agency that produces paper currency, prints about 37 million notes each day. Ninety-five percent of this cash replaces bills that are too tattered to remain in circulation.
(snip)
… about 17 million pounds annually nationwide.

1:1

And what is that paper money printed with?


the ink currently in use contains cadmium, mercury, and arsenic, according to Jerry Nelson, Information Officer at the Chicago Fed.

1:2

Ironically, in an effort to increase the longevity of the bills, so as to cut down on the staggering tonnage of bills that end up in landfill, the BEP is resorting to more colorful, longer lasting inks.

And these inks are even more toxic:


According to an environmental assessment prepared by Potomac Hudson Engineering, Inc, these new inks contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be highly carcinogenic.

1:3

In 2008 alone 3, 577, 600, 000 dollar bills were produced , 90% of these are not recycled.. NOTE: The numerical link also provides a full overview of exactly how many bills have been printed and, largely disposed by being shredded and deposited into landfills since 1980.

And if we take into consideration that most of our coins are made from copper and nickel and how toxic the mining process for that is:


Metals in ore bodies (snip) — form around sulfides that, when the ore is brought to the surface, can combine with air and water to form sulfuric acid, which is deadly to fish and other aquatic life. Less than a percent of the ore is mineralized, meaning that for every ton of mined metal there are 99 tons of waste rock containing small amounts of sulfides. The sulfides will remain in piles long after mines are exhausted and could leach into the ground and surface waters.

Link 5

I find that one is hard-pressed to argue that it would not be beneficial to do away with this poisonous outdated form of currency.
 

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS


SQ1. Is human nature is essentially good, honest and trustworthy?


Yes. Not only do I believe that, but I believe that our natures are not only essentially, but intrinsically good, honest and trustworthy.

If that was not the case civilization of any kind would be impossible and we would one and all, most likely, have not been born or would be already dead. It is also exampled by your/my neighbor not 'poisoning your/my barking dog' and 'slitting your/my throat' for playing loud music or aggravating them in general.

SQ1 - Would you, if you could legally get away with it, kill everyone who annoyed or upset you?

SQ2 - Would you lie about it if you did? If so, why?


SQ2. Aren't our constitutional rights put in place to prevent abuses which would be extremely detrimental to the people?


While I cannot answer that question in a Socratic fashion as it is not posed as such, you presume subjective extremes and a foreknowledge of true intent, I will say that the constitution if properly applied serves to protect the citizen from governmental abuses and would most likely need to be amended to continue to do so in our empowered cashless society.


SQ4/5. Is there any number of lives and/or dollars that would be too high a price for America to pay in order to preserve its freedom, and if so, what do you believe those numbers to be?


Unfortunately for you, your definition of ‘America’s freedom’ is not the subject of this debate. To that end, I am not fully versed in what statistical data would need to be considered in order to answer that question in any way that is salient to the topic of the particular subject we are debating.


SQ3. Do the benefits of the constitutional right to privacy outweigh its detriments?


I am currently engaged in a debate titled “Do the benefits of a cashless society outweigh its detriments". You should feel free to join me in it at any time.



posted on Mar, 15 2009 @ 04:27 PM
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I will be delaying the move into other facets till the tail end of this post in order to exploit my opponent's recent errors, so indulge me.

The first word when I answer an SQ is yes or no, but my opponent has been far less honest, because my recent questions, in and of themselves, are FATAL to my opponent's position.




SQ2. Aren't our constitutional rights put in place to prevent abuses which would be extremely detrimental to the people?


While I cannot answer that question in a Socratic fashion as it is not posed as such, you presume subjective extremes and a foreknowledge of true intent...


Perhaps my opponent has never actually read the constitution which she is so eager to amend; the answer is in the very first sentence.

The Preamble to the US Constitution

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity


Our constitutional rights unquestionably exist to protect us from abuse of our liberty. My oppponent has plainly admitted that some of that protection has to go away in order for us to go cashless.


I will say that the constitution if properly applied serves to protect the citizen from governmental abuses and would most likely need to be amended to continue to do so in our empowered cashless society.


This is why my opponent also had to evade my questions 3 and 4/5- she cannot allow the importance of the protections she says we must lose to become obvious, because they outweigh the benefits of going cashless.


SQ3. Do the benefits of the constitutional right to privacy outweigh its detriments?


To answer, she would either have to say that the right to privacy is hurting us more than it helps us (demonstrably untrue), or admit that going cashless would be incurring a detriment.


SQ4/5. Is there any number of lives and/or dollars that would be too high a price for America to pay in order to preserve its freedom, and if so, what do you believe those numbers to be?


Nail in the coffin. We have spent TRILLIONS on defense over the years. To date over half a million American warriors have laid down their lives. We have holidays commemorating those sacrifices and the fact that they were worth it to preserve our liberties. That sacrifice DWARFS what keeping our cash would cost us. So how can the benefits outweigh the detriments?

Which brings us back to my first question.
My opponent answers that people must be essentially good, honest, and trustworthy because civilization has not crumbled, and points out that most people do not hurt eachother over annoyances.

I respond with the first of my first socratic questions:
SQ1. If people are, as you say, intrinsically good, honest, and trustworthy, by nature, then shouldn't all evil arise either from error or from an abnormality in the offender?

SQ2. Doesn't a great deal of the evil in our world in fact arise from greed though?


People do hurt eachother for personal gain. Utopian philosophies which deny this, particularly Communism, have almost invariably been taken advantage of by men like Stalin, in some instances coming very near the breakdown of civilization indeed (had the entire world been communist when the Soviet Union fell, we would probably be in a dark age now, just like the dark age which eventually resulted from the rise and failure of tyrants in Rome).

The distinction between hurting people for personal gain and hurting people over mere annoyance also demonstrates the flawed construction of my opponent's questions.

To SQ1. No, but I'd kill several members of the Hessians motorcycle gang, starting with the one who has owed me 500 dollars since I was 18 years old. And if I were in government, even more. Even Carter left D.C. with blood on his hands.

To SQ2. Yes I would lie to avoid revenge. And if I were a politician... well, that speaks for itself (from both sides of its mouth).

And what of my opponent's only defense on constitutional matters; her little surprise from the kitchen?

She says we must assume that in the adoption of the proposed system that new protections will automatically be created and appropriate amendments will be made to the constitution.

I disagree. Constitutional amendment is the most difficult function of American government, and we almost never use it for anything except taking powers away from our central government. 27 amendments. 2 of them authorize new modes of taxation. 1 of them prohibits alcohol. The other 24 (including every single one since 1920) takes power away from the government or reorganizes that power to solve a problem that it had previously created.

We cannot ASSUME, with no specifics whatsoever from my opponent as to how the system will be setup to protect against abuses, that people will simply embrace it and magically come up with unspecified solutions to all of the problems with the idea, when the far easier and more likely method of passing this is to simply do it in congress and then claim to the Supreme Court that the Interstate Commerce Clause or some other empowering article restricts the scope of application for our rights.

They certainly didn't amend the constitution to allow for the PATRIOT ACT. Likewise, there was no amendment to usher in the phenomenon of what the ACLU has dubbed, The Constitution-Free Zone. The ACLU is being a bit sensationalist in that title, but it is a 100-mile deep zone containing 2/3s of the US Population wherein DoHS and the Border Patrol can search you and make copies of your private files and papers without probable cause, in an "administrative capacity" if they claim that border security is their motive.

My opponent said:

The government does not have the resources to arrest every man, woman and child in this country that would continue to deal in cash. Nor the resources to stop a nationwide revolt that would no doubt occur where the populous not behind such a personal and specific transition that would affect every aspect of their lives.


More socratic questions are in order.
SQ3. Will the populous be behind this transition in all parts of America?
SQ4. Will a nationwide revolt that you just said will "no doubt occur" create consquences which outweigh the benefits of a cashless society?
SQ5. Can you specifically describe such iron-clad assurances of liberty as would completely prevent that revolt, particularly such assurances as would circumvent the fact that under this system, there is a searchable database of private information and a computer system capable of rendering people unable to buy and sell?


But if opening the door to tyrany and civil war does not resolve this question once and for all, lets go deeper in. Since most of my opponents argument thus far could be solved by a recylcing bin installed at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and a bottle of hand sanitizer by the cash register (and in the case of bank regulation, new measures are already being emplaced which require far less power given to the government than a cashless system), we'll wait on those and start with crime. It turns out, going cashless is statistically likely to increase crime and the damage that it does.

Bureau of Justice Statistics: Criminal Victimization for the US, 2006 (please see page 90)

Note on page 90 that personal effects are the most stolen item, followed by motor vehicles and their parts, then followed by credit cards and other purse/wallet contents, and cash comes in 4th.

So will the thugs who are now holding up liquor stores and mugging your granny stop, or will they just learn to focus more on the higher dollar items that they already prefer over cash?

Front companies, such as the pawn shops that currently provide a large amount of the drug money in this country and the shipping companies which are used to import drugs, are already thriving in seeming legitimacy and even paying taxes on what they have taken from society. That will not stop.

And electronic crime will get even worse.
Bureau of Justice Statistics on Cybercrime for 2007


The 3,247 businesses that incurred monetary loss from cybercrime lost a total of $867 million.


That's an average loss to victim of $267,015. Ever get mugged for that much?

BJS on identity theft for 2005


About 1.6 million households experienced theft of existing accounts other than a credit card (such as a banking account), and 1.1 million households discovered misuse of personal information (such as social security number).


As you'll see at that source, the average loss to ID theft was about $1600, which means add another 2.59 billion dollars to the 867 million that hackers cost people. That's a partial total of 3.45 Billion lost to sophisticated criminals- and that's just the ones that the cops know about (the BJS itself admits there is a tendency not to report computer crimes).

When people no longer have cash- when everything that there is to steal is in the computer- every instance of ID theft will cost us more, and hackers will be able to attack they very money in our pockets at once centralized location. In fact they could just delete our whole economy. It wouldn't be the first time that somebody Deleted Billions of Dollars (although in that case it was an accident and a paper trail saved the day, unlike a cashless system). More to come.



posted on Mar, 16 2009 @ 03:11 PM
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My opponent seems to think that by insisting that there is only his myopic, dystopic view of a possible future, based on his highly egocentric view of the present, that he will somehow win this debate. As I have said before, and I will demonstrate again, there are logical ways that our ‘cashless society’ would be structured, all of them exampling the benefits outweighing detriments.

This excludes the one my opponent keeps insisting is the only valid one, the one that fits his view of the world and humanity. Which is a world full of people like himself; one populated with men who would kill another man over five hundred dollars owed and then lie about it because they are afraid of retribution.

I wholeheartedly do not subscribe to this view of humanity and believe we are not only capable of creating an open cashless society, but given that we are already conducting 2/3’s of our life cashless -- and keeping in mind how technology relentlessly marches ahead -- there is real and quite possibly urgent merit in discussing how we would do so.

Before I get to that, please allow me to clear up any confusion in regards to my “FATAL errors” my opponent alludes to, and address a few more of his points.

I stand by my answer to his response to SQ2 as he does presume foreknowledge of, the mostly Freemason, Founding Fathers’ intent. There are countless threads on this site alone speculating what the real agenda was when founding this country.



Our constitutional rights unquestionably exist to protect us from abuse of our liberty


I did not disagree with that.



My oppponent has plainly admitted that some of that protection has to go away in order for us to go cashless.


I admitted no such thing.

I also stand by SQ3 in so far that the content of my post that preceded the answer specified that a loss of privacy is not an absolute if the right regulations and protections are put into place. But if that point was lost, please allow me to address it here by pointing that out. And also point out, once again, that my opponent is only willing to engage in this debate on his limited terms.

As to not addressing his ”SQ4/5”. I cannot answer that question(s) as I am unclear about what exactly “we are preserving her freedom from”. That is because the question is pure, pointless jingoism and slanted to serve his agenda, which is to infer great loss of freedom, but not to commit himself to exactly how that would be the case in an openly regulated cashless society as he will not admit that one is possible and instead chooses to rely on rhetorical fear-mongering.
 




Constitutional amendment is the most difficult function of American government, and we almost never use it for anything except taking powers away from our central government.


Which is exactly what we would be doing if we created an open cashless society. Creating laws, and possibly amending the constitution, to take ‘central authority’ power away from the government and putting it into the hands of the Citizen/consumer. This would be done be creating clear and defined laws that strictly limit the exchange of information about individuals personal financial data, with legal and financial recourse and meaningful penalties if that data was to be unlawfully shared.

And while we were engaged in addressing, and having a national dialogue about, what Citizen/consumer protections would need to be in place for the switch to a cashless society, we would also have the obvious opportunity to regulate all of the attendant data collection and distribution that is currently happening in the private sector at this time. The regulating of which would also surely be a benefit were we to peaceably move to a cashless society.

There would also need to be profound disincentive not only for the handful of criminals that would possibly have the skill-sets to break through the advanced encryption technology, but also for the Citizen/consumer gaming the system who is, for instance, hiring illegal immigrants. An issue that would be virtually done away with in a cashless society and yet another clear benefit.

Readers and Judges, please keep in mind that creating these protective and beneficial laws is not an inconceivable idea, or task, even though my opponent asks you to believe that the most craven and underhanded way, is the only way.
 




Note on page 90 that personal effects are the most stolen item, followed by motor vehicles and their parts, then followed by credit cards and other purse/wallet contents, and cash comes in 4th.


I must admit I am a little befuddled at my opponents parsing of his link since between 57.9% – 94.9 % of all the categories of crimes committed result in the LOSS of CASH and PURSE/WALLET/CREDIT CARDS. Property loss that would not be motivated to occur in a cashless society for the obvious reasons.

My opponent is, I believe, directing you to the second set of numbers which is statistics for crimes where victimizations occurred and all we can glean from that is that muggers are less violent than car-jackers or home robbers.



Front companies, such as the pawn shops that currently provide a large amount of the drug money in this country and the shipping companies which are used to import drugs, are already thriving in seeming legitimacy and even paying taxes on what they have taken from society. That will not stop.


Care to put some statistical weight behind that assertion.
The illegal drug narcotics industry is hardly reliant on pawn shops to conduct its business, and above-board tax-paying shipping companies do not remotely represent how the majority of illegal drugs reach this country and you know it. Furthermore if legal tax-paying shipping companies did move the enormous amount illegal drugs coming country, one could easily see how that train would quickly run out of track in a cashless society.

And how my opponent believes that his reference to cyber-crimes in 2005, that is primarily discussing the cost of malicious viruses that land on employees computers, is relevant to this conversation is also lost on me. The statistics mostly represent lost productive time to clean up random cyber attacks, NOT FUNDS BEING STOLEN.



The vast majority of cybercrimes (20 million incidents) were other computer security incidents,
primarily spyware, adware, phishing, and spoofing. There were nearly 1.5 million computer virus infections and 126,000 cyber fraud incidents.


The above is excerpted from my opponent’s link and from this we can see that even in a self-regulated, using unspecified random safety precautions and unknown use of encryption technology – none of which would be the case in our cashless society – that less than 10% of these cyber-crimes (embezzlement, fraud or loss of personal/financial data) resulted in monetary loss. And 75% of those were conducted by “Insiders” that were directly working with, or for, the business.

Furthermore these employees and contractors would not have that ability in the cashless society I am putting forth. Logic dictates, as I said in my first statement, that only the most secure forms of encryption technology would be used and updated and that access to it would be streamlined with buffers and ‘firewalls’ in place around the consumer, the merchant, the bank accounts as well as the governments access to it.

His link to 2007 cybercrime is not correct, so I cannot respond to what specifically he is implying beyond saying again that the types of cybercrimes that are being reported are not salient to the cashless society I am proposing. Because the large part of the personal cyber-crimes that people are currently victim to is a result of the fact that there is NO UNIFORM, PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS, STANDARDS IN PLACE.

And no one is talking about a paperless society. There would still be official paper-trails of your cashless transactions between you and your financial institution. Just like there is today for over 2/3’s of all financial transactions completed in the United States.
 


ANS SQ1. - No, and again you are using subjective terms in phrasing your question. I think it is evil that you would like to kill someone over $500 you loaned them 10 or more years ago.

SQ1 - Do you?

ANS SQ2. - One could certainly say that some of you may call ‘evil’ in our world could be judged to be motivated by greed, but I don’t think that those who are committing those crimes tell themselves that.

ANS SQ3. - It would depend on how it was enacted.

ANS SQ4. - Spinning again. I said it would occur if it was forced on the populous, but if we were to engage the public in the creation of a cashless society, possibly as an answer to our current economic woes, and the populous saw that it offered them greater power and protection than they currently have, I do not think a revolt would occur and would go far as to say a cashless society would be embraced.

ANS SQ5. - See above answer AND above statement that calls for lawfully adjudicated ‘decentralized data’ collection with attendant protections for the consumer/citizen.
 


SQ2 – Do you agree that illegal immigrants taking U.S. citizen jobs would be greatly hampered, if not almost entirely done away with, in a cashless society?

SQ3 – If so, do you agree that this will benefit the American Worker as well as the U.S. economy?

SQ4 – Do you agree that a cashless society would not only serve as a great disincentive for those looking to illegally immigrate, but would encourage those already here to legally immigrate or leave?



posted on Mar, 17 2009 @ 02:48 PM
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Since my opponent obviously has no intention of laying out the specifics of what this system will be like, and feels that she can win this debate by listing massive quantities of alleged benefits without any explanation of the structure that will achieve them or how that system will be kept from malfunctioning, I'll handle it.

The answer, has, afterall, been right in front of our faces for the entirety of this debate, and no doubt many of the readers were wondering when it would come up.

Federal Reserve System


Agrarian and progressive interests, led by William Jennings Bryan, favored a central bank under public, rather than banker, control. But the vast majority of the nation's bankers, concerned about government intervention in the banking business, opposed a central bank structure directed by political appointees.

The legislation that Congress ultimately adopted in 1913 reflected a hard-fought battle to balance these two competing views and created the hybrid public-private, centralized-decentralized structure that we have today.


So, the argument between centralization and decentralization, between government and private control, has already been waged and already been answered.

The answer that was formulated was the Federal Reserve. We've been using it for nearly a century, and far from moving away from it, we are now allowing it to use OUR MONEY, taken from our bank accounts without our permission, and buying up Freddie, Fannie, AIG, Citigroup, and so on, and place them not under the control of any constitutional branch of our government, but under extra-constitutional "independent federal agencies" staffed by non-elected individuals (not too unlike the Fed itself) like the FHFA which took over Fannie and Feddie.

We're looking at the fed, whose board members owe their positions to the President, and who cannot be voted out by the people, issuing and controlling electronic money, which will then goes to banks which participate in the Federal Reserve System, which are on their way to being nationalized and thus also run by individuals appointed by the President, and unlike now, withdrawing your money won't be available as an option to escape. That doesn't sound very decentralized to me.
The history of the agencies involved, particularly the fed, also makes it abundantly clear that constitutionality and the consent of the governed will continue to be ignored.

Under the normal modus operundi of our government in these matters, it is a near certainty that there would be violence over a move to a cashless society.

Especially given the most horrifying prospect:

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, money can simply be deleted under this system, or in a best-case-scenario, still be rendered inaccessible while the government spends a ton of money paying flunkies to sort through boxes of printouts, trying to figure out how much everybody had before the computer went on the fritz.

From the last source in my previous post:


A story surfaced this week of a computer technician for the Alaska Department of Revenue who accidentally deleted a $38 billion data account. The backups that the department instated were useless, forcing a $200,000 manual recovery effort using the account's paper trail.


So let us suppose for a moment that the people aren't worried about their privacy, aren't worried that unelected, unaccountable men have control over their financies, have no apocalyptic religious concerns that a system without which "nobody can buy or sell", and aren't worried about the fact that criminals now have to burglarize homes to steal valuables to sell because they can't just take cash out of register and the liquor store.

Even if the people dismiss all of that, it's safe to say that they will be fighting mad when they find out that a simple, common human error can either permanently delete our wealth, or at the very least can cut them off from all of their savings and any possibility of obtaining more for as long as it might take to fix the problem.

We've all been there- you go to the gas station before work because you need a quick breakfast and some gasoline. But their system is down and you don't have cash. So you go somewhere else and maybe you're 10 minutes late for work.

What if everyone's system was down though? You'd be out of gas, away from home, unable to get to work (not that your boss will mind- he can't do business that day), with nothing to eat and no way of obtaining anything that you need. And you wouldn't know how long it was going to last. That's just what you need at 7:30 AM on a monday, right?

Whats worse, you wouldn't be alone. People would keep coming in, unable to get gas, and some of them wouldn't be able to leave again, depending how low their tank was.

In a few hours there'd be dozens of people stacked up with no way to get gas, food or anything else, at pretty much every gas station in America. How long would it be before the looting started? As my opponent has pointed out, I'm a bad person- 15 minutes might do it- afterall, I'm the guy who leaves 5 bucks on the counter and just walks out without his change when a clerk is screwing around on the job.

But even for the rest of you, it'd be thunder dome by sundown. Under our present system, stores have contingency plans for going cash and carry in a disaster. That would become impossible in a cashless society- there will be no safety net when things do not go as they should.

So we can't afford this system to EVER go down for even one day in even one major city, or it's going to take armed troops to get the djinni back in the bottle. If you're comfortable with that, knock yourself out, go support the cashless system, and I'll tell you where to forward my mail when i find a cash-loving country that will take me.

As my opponent pointed out for me while trying to rebut the fact that electronic criminals are doing more damage than the ones stealing cash, most of the costs being incurred from cybercrime are not theft. It's just smart people on their computers trying to hurt various entities that they don't like.

Perhaps my opponent doesn't understand, but that is the scarriest part. The ones who are most likely to succeed are the ones who aren't trying to do something meticulous, like siphoning off a few million into another count and covering their tracks. The ones who will likely succeed most often are the ones who just want to watch the world burn (or those who want to watch a certain company burn so that their stock in a competitor will shoot up).

A simple DoS attack that any script kiddie can attempt, which works by flooding the system with an overwhelming amount of junk traffic, can shut down organizations with even the most tremendous resources for hours potentially. Do you really want the economy to freeze everytime some kid sees the movie Hackers for the first time?

As for my opponents socratic questions

1. Yes, Of course it's evil to kill someone over money you lent them. But I didn't say I lent it to him. I said he cheated me out of it. He simply didn't pay me for more than a weeks worth of work and got clear of the labor board by means of fraud, aided by another member of a criminal organization to which he belongs, namely the Hessians. To be worked for no pay- used as a slave if you will- by members of an organized crime syndicate is ample justification for homicide.

2. No. Simply paying under the table and reporting nothing in the traditional sense is mostly done by small proprietorships these days. Larger companies, particularly in construction and related fields (including landscaping) have advanced well beyond that, which is why my labor union has had to fight so hard against misclassification of labor. By representing employees as outside contractors, nobody ever gets a look at what happened until the job is over and the worker has moved on, and unless the union or Jerry Brown or some other outstanding entity intervenes, the biggest risk is that the worker will be busted as an unlicensed contractor.

Therefore,
3. No, this won't benefit the American worker or the economy. It will not stop their jobs from being stolen, it will get their houses broken into more often, it will strip away their right to privacy and subject many new aspects of their lives to government review, it will open them up to new extremes of cyber-terrorism, and if things really go bad it might cause them civil unrest.

4. No, for the same reasons explained in number 2.



posted on Mar, 18 2009 @ 12:41 PM
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Taking my 24 hour extension.



posted on Mar, 19 2009 @ 01:24 PM
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REBUTTAL

My Opponent’s response to the illegal immigration question was unfortunately self-centered and nonsensical. In a cashless society the contractor would have to pay ‘Pedro from Panama’ and there would be a record of it. If my opponent and his union wanted to bring charges and prove this to be the case they could, and would be able to prove that the contractor is hiring and paying non-citizens, regardless of whether the contractor had moved to another area or not.

EVEN CREDIT CARD SYSTEMS DO NOT GO DOWN NATION OR CITYWIDE

Again, let us look past my opponent’s endless apocalyptic -- and in this instance, willfully obtuse -- fear mongering and be practical here. Have you in let’s say, the last 30 years, since the introduction of the ATM and the widespread use of credit cards, known of any city, or town even, to lose its functional capacity for either of those common form of payment instruments? No. You have not. Why is this? Because there are decentralized safety mechanisms in place which prevent these systems from a domino-like collapse. There is no reason to even remotely entertain the idea that a cashless society would not have far more sophisticated buffers in place and be prepared for contingencies.

Even in a power outage scenario the payment transaction device could have internal battery built in to record transactions, merchants could put a limit on the size of transactions they would be willing to make, and the government would have to guarantee the money if it was proved to not be there. Would this create an opportunity for the criminal to take advantage in this scenario? Yes, but on a small scale. And we can see from the power outages in NYC a couple of years back, the citizenry did not descend into chaos and criminal conduct, but people, being intrinsically good, came together and enjoyed a rare shared sense of community instead.

And this applies to his vast oversimplification of what it would take to hack into such a system. Even today’s DOS attacks do not traditionally take out banks and payment system networks, but do disrupt their web-based presence. And it is not like we would be talking about systems that are exposed on the web.

We are talking about a cashless system not unlike any other payment system today will rely virtual private network (VPN), these are difficult to hack even by todays standards. Systemic and software exploits are found and patched when discovered. ‘Insiders’ would have limited access; even more so than today’s multiple layer security that is in place which stops bank tellers or ‘rogue bank presidents’ from taking down their entire banking systems. This is without considering the accountability of this act and the repercussions that would be attendant even if they managed it.

As for viruses and malware, again by creating a secure hothouse environment with no eternal web access beyond the assigned portion of the financial network you obviously and dramatically reduce the risk of that. Nothing is, or will ever be, full proof but there are certainly ways to create a segregated secure system where the cost-benefit ratio makes sense to all reasonable people.

 

CLOSING STATEMENT

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
- Thomas Jefferson


The crux of this debate seems to be turning on the idea that the American people are either powerless over their destinies and their government, or are still able to be empowered and actively engaged in its form and future formation.

Folks, because of its amazing beneficial properties, we are inexorably moving towards a cashless society, whether you, my opponent or I like it or not. The question then becomes, what kind of cashless society are we going to be living in? One that is subtly shackled to us as we, the consumer/Citizen, keep ever embracing the convenience and benefits of cashless transactions; so much so that The Fed and the Treasury can keep removing paper-currency from the marketplace until such time as there is so little of it in our hands they will tell us no more and impose their own brand of cashless society on us?



U.S. currency (dollar bills of all amounts) totaled $784 billion in 2006, but probably half or more is held outside the United States by foreigners who prize dollars--especially $100 bills--as a store of value. That suggests that less than $400 billion in currency supports a $13 trillion economy. In 1970, the economy's relative need for cash was almost twice as high. 3 LINES


LINK

Or will we have one where we see the wave of the future and demand to have control over it and how it impacts us?
 


I initially set-out to simply show the benefits of cashless society by highlighting the various detriments of paper money: cost, crime, terrorism, drug trade, environmental degradation, illegal immigration, etc. and to demonstrate how the benefits of cashless society outweigh a cash based one. I have now, in the course of this journey, also found myself actually embracing the idea of a cashless society as a possible answer to our economic woes, as well as a potential catalyst to aid in the abolition of The Fed. (So, you can imagine my delight that my opponent has so thoughtfully brought us up to speed on that particular institution.)

As for my opponents defeatist harangues about how we can never be rid of The Fed, hence never have a secure regulated cashless society, I say “do not listen to his tales of woe and despair!” Not only has Congressman Ron Paul introduced legislation to abolish The Fed, he has also wisely introduced another bill that calls for an audit of The Fed and twenty-eight of his fellow congresspersons are now co-sponsoring the bill within weeks of its introduction. There is hope and momentum with this audit because it is designed to expose The Fed and in turn abolish it. LINK

If that were to come to pass we would need a radical monetary overhaul. An openly regulated cashless dollar could actually serve as a viable option for this as runs on banks, what The Fed supposedly protects us from, would become a moot point and essentially impossible in an openly regulated cashless society.

This would be accomplished by requiring transparency for banks books, in turn we agree not to engage in a ‘run’ with the understanding that the government would protect our financial interests – not unlike the FDIC, if it was funded -- before the banks; a reasonable quid-pro-quo exchange for whatever privacy issues the citizenry may feel it is losing, or wake-up and realize they have already lost, as we have none of these proposed safeguards today.

In my scenario banks would still exist, but in a far different capacity than they do today. They would exist as a buffer between the government and the citizen and have regulated requirements to lend based on specific currency allotments both from the government and its depositors. They would generate revenue in terms of issuing loans and credit, certain agreed and regulated fees but that would be the end of it. This idea that as a consortium (i.e. The Fed) they are the lender of last resort is obviously not tenable anymore since they are functioning with money we are ‘giving’ them.

I feel that I have clearly exampled the benefits of a cashless society and been able to demonstrate a myriad of ways that it is superior to a cash based system, which was my assigned task. Beyond that, and while I have your ‘ear’, please allow me to also say that the time is at hand for an overhaul of our financial system and a cashless society is inevitable, and suggest that perhaps this is the time to marry the two imperatives and get serious about bargaining the terms under which we will accept both.



posted on Mar, 20 2009 @ 01:03 PM
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As much as anyone else, I love a plan that looks good on paper. I even find fun in assuming a perfect world just so I can play with my ideas without having to be concerned about how dangerous their weaknesses are. My position is kind of a buzz kill.

But although my opponent's position may be less depressing (utopian fantasies tend to be upbeat afterall), and no doubt she has presented it in an attractive format, with lots of little benefits beautifully organized for us to appreciate, ultimately there is nothing here in favor of a cashless society which trumps the consequences we would be inviting upon ourselves by attempting to impose such a system.

My opponent told us she would be making some assumptions and detailing the structure of this system, using SELT as a model. But it turned out SELT isn't even a cashless system, my opponent never did commit to any educated guess about the structure of this system. My opponent's only firm conviction on the structure of the system is that it whenever I point out a weakness, that weakness isn't part of the vague system she's advocating.
If the person who is supposed to be selling you this system and telling you what it does and how it does it can't tell you how it's going to work, how can you believe it's going to work?

The unavoidable truths though, regardless of structure, are as follows:

  • There will be no cash to steal- thieves will have to steal property. And do you know where there's lots of property with no security cameras and relatively few people to interfere (sometimes none at all)? That's right: your house.

  • Your formerly private cash transactions will become a matter of record.

  • What used to be as simple as reaching into your pocket will require you to communicate with a large electronic system, and if the system stops be it from terrorism, from a storm knocking out local phone lines, from a power outage, whatever, the money stops.

  • Possession, often described as "9/10 of the law" will become ZERO. When entity X says it has an extra billion dollars, nobody can say, "oh yeah, let's see the money". How's that for counterfeiting- all you've got to do is type it into a computer. And if entity X says that you owe them 100 bucks, you can't beat them just by keeping your wallet in your pocket.

  • People will distrust and oppose the government. People always distrust and oppose the government. And they will do so now on an issue that even my opponent says could lead to violence.


And for all that, yes we not pass germs on dollars- only on doors, handshakes, switches, buttons, fixtures, furniture, etc etc etc. So we'll get a little less benefit than simply washing our hands like momma told us to. Listen to your momma.

Yes, the pollution caused by the dollar bills we dont recycle (which apparently we could be recycling, my opponent said we do recycle some) would be eliminated, leaving only the pollution from your car, your home electricity, all of the packaging from stuff you buy, the stuff you buy itself when you're done with it, the industrial waste from producing that stuff, the junk mail from advertising that stuff, etc etc etc. (if only we had more money than junkmail...).

Yes it won't be possible to pay cash under the table- instead tax evasion must be accomplished through misclassification of labor, through use of false or stolen SSNs, etc- the same methods that most violators are ALREADY USING and ALREADY generating paper trails for. It's such a major problem that even FED EX is facing $319,000,000 in fines over it, on the heels of a $17 Million lawsuit against them over the same. So Fed Ex will keep breaking the law even when they get caught and sued, but at least Pedro's Landscaping will go out of business.

And what about the savings? My opponent suggests that government will forbid banks from turning a profit just because they will have a monopoly on the money supply. I'm taking wagers if anyone's interested.
And why do banks charge fees? Maybe because massive computer systems are more expensive than little paper rectangles? My opponent never gave us a side by side comparrison of the cost of printing money versus the cost of a national cashless system.

Nobody has ever brought all credit systems down simultaneously yet, because the common motive is extortion from a single company, not destruction. However, hackers have proven that they can bring a whole payment service to its knees for as long as a week, and cause enough damage to drive away clients for good. My opponent can't show us a hard limit on the scalability of such attacks; he simply assumed they never actually happen. They do happen, and there is no technical barrier to using them as the single greatest weapon ever directed against this country.

My friends, on one side of the scale you have less than 1% of our pollution, less than 1% of our health problems, and a similarly slim minority of our uncollected taxes.
But in trade for those you must give up your government's obedience of the constitution, some of your privacy, the relative safety of your home, and the security of the economy from terrorist attack or disaster.

And let's be very clear, the system CAN go down.
news.zdnet.com...

Online credit card processor Authorize.net on Wednesday acknowledged that large-scale data attacks have disrupted credit card processing for its Internet merchants over the last week... (snip)

"I can't tell you how much business we have lost," said Jason Oliver, vice president of client technical services at Web application maker Snapbridge Software. "I, for one, will consider moving my business from them."

Snapbridge uses Authorize.net's service to allow its customers to buy software with a credit card. Potential buyers were stymied and may not have returned to buy later, Oliver said.


Much larger outages have occurred as well due to power failure. I have personally seen situations lasting several hours where, because of power failures, the only people doing business were owner-proprieters, doing business out of a petty cash box- specifically during the blackout of August 10, 1996.
List of significant power outages

But in 1999, 70% of Brazil actually lost power for several hours. Brazil is rapidly growing industrialized nation- this ain't Somalia we're talking about. If it can happen there, it could happen here on a bad enough day. What would that do to a world dependent upon electronic cash?

A battery in your credit card will not power the phone lines to conduct electronic business. In a large scale power outage, unlike a localized one, your phone company loses power too, the phone grid goes down, and no amount of batteries can get you line. We will NEED cold hard currency on the one day out of thousands when something like that happens, and those days HAVE come and WILL come again.

The marginal benefits of a cashless society cannot even begin to cast a shadow upon the grim realities that cash at least provides us minimal insulation against. We need the security of cash. Going electronic might wonderful, but going CASHLESS is a horrible idea. We need the option- we need that redundant low-tech system for contingencies. We must not go to a cashless system.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 04:02 PM
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The Vagabond has won through majority decision and will advance to the Third round.



Round One: Opening Statements

TheWayISeeIt - Her opening statements were impressive, to say the least. Very informative, detailed, and basic – not too in depth for an introduction.

The Vagabond – He did not disappoint with his rebuttal opening. Something tells me there will be a lot of talk about privacy

Round 1: 10-10 Tie

Quotes of the Round


Originally posted by TheWayISeeIt
Let’s whet our appetite with an amuse bouche before the banquet of benefits I will be serving up, shall we?



Originally posted by The Vagabond
Some systems are harder to crack than others, but secure? Not in a world where Markus Hess (source 1a) can hack the pentagon, and the only way to catch him is by tricking him into mailing in for hard copies.


Round Two: Rebuttals

TheWayISeeIt – Well constructed argument. No critiques can be offered from this guy (me).

The Vagabond – Right off the bat he came out with a few semperfortis-like Socratic Questions, which I believe will prove tricky for TheWayISeeIt.

Round 2: 10-10 Tie

Quotes of the Round


Originally posted by TheWayISeeIt
Anyone Can Knock Someone Over the Head and Stick their Hands in a Cash Register



Originally posted by The Vagabond
They're the only entity in America's insurance industry that can actually FORCE everyone to become customers, and they still can't make money.


Round Three: Rebuttals

TheWayISeeIt – A good job was done of deflecting the Socratic Questions. When I first read them, I thought for sure they would stir up some trouble, but she just deflected them off as if they were silly. Also, I was particularly impressed by her discussion of refuting of The Vagabond’s fiscal setup.

The only hang up I have on this post is about the ability of the United States to control its population and whether or not this bill would mobilize people to join politics. After seeing this election and the important issues that were on the table, and then witnessing the impending show that was put on where every policy was swept under the rug so that people could get more information on who wore a lapel to the debate… I am not inclined to agree.

The Vagabond – It was quite a show to see him reuse the Socratic Questions and turn TheWayISeeIt’s answers against her. In the end, I had to edge the round out to The Vagabond due to an amazing job with rebuttals and the systematic picking apart of his opponent’s argument.

Round 3: 10-9 The Vagabond

Quote of the Round


Originally posted by The Vagabond
They certainly didn't amend the constitution to allow for the PATRIOT ACT. Likewise, there was no amendment to usher in the phenomenon of what the ACLU has dubbed, The Constitution-Free Zone.


Round Four: Rebuttals

TheWayISeeIt – WOW! Just wow. I did not see that coming (see the quote of the round below for what I referring to). Moving on, the rest of the argument seemed well put together and easy enough to understand.

The Vagabond

Round 4: 10-10 Tie

Quotes of the Round


Originally posted by TheWayISeeIt
…the one that fits his view of the world and humanity. Which is a world full of people like himself; one populated with men who would kill another man over five hundred dollars owed and then lie about it because they are afraid of retribution.


The Vagabond gets two

Originally posted by The Vagabond
Since my opponent obviously has no intention of laying out the specifics of what this system will be like, and feels that she can win this debate by listing massive quantities of alleged benefits without any explanation of the structure that will achieve them or how that system will be kept from malfunctioning, I'll handle it.



Originally posted by The Vagabond
How long would it be before the looting started? As my opponent has pointed out, I'm a bad person- 15 minutes might do it….


Round Five: Closing Statements

TheWayISeeIt – Good rebuttals and closing statements. Perfect score this round also.

The Vagabond – Really, this was just a case of the perfect argument. TheWayISeeIt maybe could have pulled out a tie/victory with the Cochran chewbacca defense… but even then I am not sure. The Vagabond raised doubts in all of the right places:

  • Would it really help stop crime?
  • Would our money really be safe?
  • Would our rights really be protected?

In the end, there was no way TheWayISeeIt could effectively answer these questions. From the evidence presented here, there is no way to move all cash safely into a digital realm. With that, here are the final scores:

The Vagabond: 50
TheWayISeeIt: 49

Congrats to both fighters for a great show.



Opening: TWISI had a strong start. She provided good facts about cashless transactions.Good point on bank fees and there cost to the consumer.

First reply: has a good rebuttal. Shows the strength of current encrypting tech. Good argument with how dirty money actually is. Also shows the possible benefits reaped from the collection of unpaid taxes.

Second reply: Strong description of what would need to be done to implement and how it could truly empower the population. Definitely not afraid to verbally spare with TV.

Good job on the cost of the money to both the environment and monetarily.

Third reply: Has good rebuttal of TV's stats and the actual number of thefts. Ties her theory to it nicely.

Closing: I at first thought TWISI may have misstepped with the question of the mass power outage but she did bring up the blackout in New York a few years ago.


The Vagabond

Opening: Gives a good basis for why the removal of the privacy factor would be a detriment. Good rebuttal of the Singapore example.

First reply: Has good examples of what happens when things become too centralized. Good reference to the current economic situation and how the bankers can't be trusted. Social Security is another good example of mismanagement.

Second reply: TV's full strategy starts to come to light. The instance of the loss of freedom and liberty is a strong one with regards to the switch.

Good on pointing out the attempted side step of the Socratic Questions. The crime stats for cyber theft and crime are staggering and TV makes a good case for the increase of it in a cashless society.

Third reply: Again, sticks to his course. The Fed was an expected play. TV has used the independent federal agencies direction well throughout this debate.

TV's closing was strong. Good rebuttal of TWISI's assertion of the power outage would do no damage.The attack on Authorize was a big point.

I have to say this was a pleasure to read. TWISI made a really passionate case for her side. The Vagabond also painted a pretty vivid picture. It was hard to decide but in the end, I found that The Vagabond had a little stronger case. That's no knock on TWISI though. She did an incredible job and should be one to watch out for.

Winner: The Vagabond.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 04:04 PM
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Read and enjoyed both



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 04:15 PM
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I haven't read the judgements yet, just the result.

I just want to say first that I think TWISI did an OUTSTANDING job in most respects, and did so in a way that sharply contrasted with some of my biggest weaknesses- this one really could have gone either way in my opinion- i don't think I could have been shocked by any result.



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 04:41 PM
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Thank you both to the Judges and The Vagabond for your thoughtful and encouraging comments.

I have to say, it was not easy for me to argue that position as I whole-heartedly disagree with it and TV is a mighty opponent. I am glad to have had the experience of going 'toe-to-toe' with him and think that I too am a winner in that I am a better debator for having the had experience.

Cheers!

TWISI



posted on Mar, 25 2009 @ 04:51 PM
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reply to post by TheWayISeeIt
 


That's funny, I wanted your position.






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