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Re: [Taler] Money with capabilities

From: Özgür Kesim
Subject: Re: [Taler] Money with capabilities
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2021 10:49:44 +0200

Thus spake Jacob Bachmeyer (jcb62281@gmail.com):

> This is basic microeconomics:  supply (of money in your
> wallet) and demand (for money to make your desired
> purchases) govern your perceived value of the money.
> Money with limited demand (because it can only be spent on
> some items) is less valuable to its holder and therefore
> *more* likely to be spent frivolously.
> Yes, even age restrictions:  minors (who already have less
> understanding of the value of money, which is one of the
> reasons we put limits on them in the first place) will be
> more likely to spend larger amounts more readily, thus
> driving inflation in items purchasable by minors.  There
> Is No Free Lunch Here.

I don't see how the effect of moving existing, ID-based age
verification for goods and services into the tokens in GNU
Taler would change the purchasing habbits of minors.  In an
ideal world, they would be able to purchase exactly the same
goods and services in both payment systems.

It's the anonymity, the subsidiarity principle and
simplification of age verification that an extended GNU
Taler can offer that makes all the difference.

> Lastly, there is a "thin end of the wedge" here.  Today it
> is minors, tomorrow it is people with addictions,
> somewhere down the line it is disfavored ethnic groups.
> There are some things that should *not* be made easy.
> This ethical principle used to be well-understood.

This argument does not take into account the severity of the
privacy problems that currently exist with the ID-based age
verification (thereby neglecting another ethical principle).

But I agree that there is a trade-off to be made here.  For
the sake of argument let me frame it as dichotomy between
only two outcomes: The proposed mechanism

 - removes the risks of ID-based age verification, provides
   minors anonymity, parents/guards the control and
   merchants simplicity.

 - might become the "thin end of the wedge" for similar, yet
   unethical restrictions.

To give us a sense of the magnitude of the first outcome:

According to the European buero of statistics in 2020 we had
46,486,453 minors (age bucket 8 to 17) in 28 European
countries.  That is more then 10% of the total population of
447,319,916 (numbers from https://bit.ly/32iWEyV).  Those
(alongside with parents/guards and merchants) would benefit
from anonymous age verification.

My position is that the benefit of the first outcome is real
and substantial, while the other is possible (technically)
but hypothetical (requires sufficient political consent).

But maybe I'm too Europe-centric here?


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