|September 21, 2084
Money a Waste, Economists Conclude
WASHINGTON DC--A special research committee convened by the U. S. Treasury
Department, and including officials and economists from the General
Accounting Office and Federal Reserve Board, released on Thursday its
"Final Report on the Role of Money in the Economy," concluding that "money
is currently the single greatest source of inefficiency in the exchange of
services and goods," and recommending that Congress "take steps to phase
out the public use of the U. S. Dollar." U. S. Treasury Secretary Frieda
Bootle welcomed the report, and simultaneously announced a proposed 23 step
phase-out schedule for the beloved currency: "We're pleased that the
Committee has come to the same conclusion that a number of us have reached
privately in recent years, and we're prepared to take concrete steps to
increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the U. S. economy."
Pointing to recent developments in valuation, bargaining, and proxy
technologies, the Committee concluded that "alternatives of considerably
greater efficiency and lesser transaction costs" could save a dollar-less
economy up to 14.7 trillion dollars annually, including the costs of
maintaining dollar-oriented accounting and financial systems. Discussing
the potential savings, Secretary Bootle noted that "it is not entirely
specious to say that, by eliminating the dollar, we will be saving, on an
annual basis, the total number of dollars exchanged in a given year."
The majority of the currency alternatives cited by the Committee
are based on a computational technology known as an "eigenutil."
Eigenutils are dynamic, compressed descriptions of individual "utility
functions" the function which translates an individual's needs and desires
into comparative valuations of the goods and services offered in the
marketplace. Because eigenutils are computationally describable, they can
be easily exchanged and compared over computer networks, enabling
frictionless barter transactions of unprecedented complexity and efficiency.
"Money was always a dumb technology," exclaims MIT economist
Professor Jessup Hare. "A useful technology, but a dumb one nevertheless.
An eigenutil economy is orders of magnitude more subtle in its ability to
capture and fulfill the needs of actors in a market. Translating my needs
into a dollar figure was always reductive. Sure, it was easier than
bartering at every step, but that increased efficiency came at the cost.
With eigenutils, we no longer have to make that trade-off."
Using eigenutils, bartering bots and software proxies can
automatically and efficiently negotiate the direct exchange of goods,
including value exchanges between employers and employees. Instead of
receiving money in exchange for labor, employees will, likely, receive a
negotiated bundle of goods and services, which she can in turn barter for
others in the open market.
"At last, all goods in the market will be accurately valued," notes
Professor Hare, "and value will flow freely throughout the economy. The
real difficulty with money was that it created an inefficient meta-need:
the need for money itself. Resources were often expended solely for the
purpose of accumulating money, which, in itself, is largely worthless."
Among concerns about the move to a dollar-less economy are
objections to the Treasury Department's proposal to privatize the dollar as
part of the phase-out process. "First, let me say that, during this
transition period, it makes sense for us to get some value out of the
dollar by spinning it off," explained Secretary Bootle. "And we won't spin
it off until it clearly no longer has monopoly power over the valuation
Additional concerns about the impact of the plan on the consumer
savings rate will be addressed by "the development of futures bartering and
related transactions," notes Bootle. "This will be a brave, new economy,
fueled by incredible technical solutions. The Fed, for instance, will be
able to influence the economy directly by tweaking the eigenutil
infrastructure. Once valuation technologies get smarter, so will our