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Re: [Taler] Money with capabilities

From: Sebastian Javier Marchano
Subject: Re: [Taler] Money with capabilities
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2021 12:42:55 -0300

The problem with "just-for-food money" notionally denominated in the
same currency as "general" money is that it will exacerbate food price
inflation for everyone:  money that can only be spent on food has no
other value, therefore rational (and probably most irrational) actors
will be less reluctant to spend it on food, including paying higher
prices for the same food, squeezing people who do not have
"just-for-food money" and who must make trade-offs to balance their own
I believe that this is the fundamental issue behind the "steak on food
stamps" problem.

Thanks Jacob, I think that the problem you describe is for a situation where there is a just-for-food currency. Having 1 currency and a payment system that allows you to configure restrictions is different. In some sense, it will be like buying stuff like 18+ where you need your id:
 * merchants gets the normal currency, no food currency that needs to exchange
 * money supply is different, since there are only 2 currencies
Although I share with you the concern about what it would mean to add this kind of configurable restrictions.

These are wicked design problems we are dealing with, and we should proceed with caution :)

I can not agree more, design here is more difficult than implementation :). 
I think this feature is part of current transactions with cash/cards but with controls outside the payment process. Making these complex controls just output a boolean result will enhance privacy.


On Wed, 25 Aug 2021 at 11:16, Özgür Kesim <oec-taler@kesim.org> wrote:
[This is a bit late of a reply, but... reasons.]

Hi Talerians,

from the arguments presented from Sebastian, Jacob, Belen and me so
far I would conclude that the universal purchasing power of money is
a property that should be not tampered with.

We presented various kinds of reasons for why money with limited
purchasing power is problematic - here is my honest attempt of a short

 - economical reasons
   (rising food prices; economic isolation and exclusion)

 - political reasons
   (LPP as an agent for oppression; social justice should be fought
    politically; difficulty of aligning people's needs with money's

 - social reasons
   (equalizing effects of UPP money; LPP introducing additional
    dependencies and power dynamics)

 - health/psychological reasons
   (LPP would not heal addiction; missing friction and bad design of
    digital payment systems is the problem, not UPP)

 - anti-technocratic reasons
   (things that are technologically possible might not be necessary or
    even harmful)

and there are probably more reasons in favour of UPP money.

Especially the suggestions and recommendations from Belen for
_voluntary_ limitation and self-regulation, supported by well designed
(in function) wallet apps (rather than money), seem to me a good
starting point for further investigations and research in this area.

However, I think there is still a case to be made for LPP, but
strictly in the context of age restriction:

# Why age is different

Age and age verfication is not only a matter between parents and
children, because also _merchants_ are legally obliged to require age
verification for certain goods and services.

The current implementations of age restriction all (ultimately)
require an ID-based proof of age, of the parents and/or the minor.
While there are proposals for privacy-friendly identity management
systems, they would still involve a legal authority for approval of
the ID attributes.

This is why I think that an extentions of GNU Taler providing
_anonymous age restriction_ based on the _subsidiarity principle_
(parents/legal guards as the approving authority, not other legal
institutions) would help insofar as _merchants_ would not have to
check, verify or store any privacy related material and the decisions
are made by the parents/wardens (and still allowing for involvement of
the minors).

Such an age-specific extension of GNU Taler can be designed and
implemented in a way that it would be very difficult to be used for
anything else but age verification.

To summarize, the proposed anonymous age restriction extension to GNU
Taler would

- not introduce a restriction that doesn't exist yet,

- guarantee anonymity and reduce the amount of collected data for age
  restriction to a minimum,

- reduce the complexity and risks involved with existing mechanisms
  for age verification,

- simplify the process of age verification for merchants and minors

- shift the reponsibility and control over age restriction to where it
  (legally) belongs.


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