In China, a large-scale experiment is starting to introduce a digital yuan with a limited shelf life: if you don’t spend it on time, the money burns out. The experiment is part of a plan for a total change in the global financial system, said the experts we interviewed: there will be no salaries or taxes in the usual sense, it will be pointless to save and acquire, and there is no property, only rent.
Hurry up to spend
China is serious: the digital yuan should replace the dollar on the world stage and end the country’s dependence on the United States. It will be issued exclusively by the Central Bank. Competitors represented by cryptocurrency miners are mercilessly persecuted: recently, the PRC has banned all operations with “crypt”. And the digital yuan has one interesting property: after a certain time, it disappears.
Recently in Shenzhen, one hundred thousand residents were given 200 digital yuan each. To spend them, they were given only ten days. It was possible to spend only in shops selected by the authorities, however, there were already ten thousand stores.
The main thing: people had to download the application and enter all kinds of personal data into it. Formally, the digital yuan is anonymous, but even the authorities admit that “control from above has been established over it.” It is clear that the experiment is intended to test the system as a whole, and most importantly, work with personal data.
It is officially stated that the “temporary” yuan is intended to save the economy from crises. The authorities will force spending during periods of recession, drastically limiting the “suitability” of money. The “temporary” currency is good for megaprojects as well. For decades, financiers all over the world have been racking their brains over how to finance huge construction projects without accelerating inflation. Now it’s simple: funds disappear when the project ends.
So far, this problem is being solved by “dyeing”: the state prints money for a specific project, prohibiting spending it for other purposes (“dyes”). A similar tool is used in budgetary policy. However, funds still enter the economy, only more slowly, so the instrument is imperfect.
So far, China has not focused on the “temporary” nature of the digital yuan. The stage of promotion is in progress: the tax on transactions has been canceled, and it has also been announced that the “digital yuan” is open to all companies that have come under US sanctions and cannot fully work with the dollar.
Reform of the world financial system is, in fact, overdue. The US is once again discussing the prospect of a country’s default. There is no doubt that there will be no default this fall, and the country will once again just print money to service its debt, but this cannot go on forever. And then it only gets worse: according to UN estimates, the “green transformation” will require trillions of dollars in investments, which, in general, are nowhere to be found.
The only idea – to force the consumer to pay through high prices of goods and taxes on meat or gasoline – does not shine with novelty and clearly contradicts the goal of overcoming poverty.
The emergence of a certain barter system is not ruled out, but on new grounds. The idea of barter is widely discussed in the theory of the so-called economics of merit, according to which money, in fact, is canceled, and “society” provides some benefits to its citizens in exchange for conscious behavior. The only problem is how to create a system of accounting for such “merit”.
Supporters of the “temporary currency” compare it to potatoes: either you eat the crop on time, or it disappears. The Chinese social rating system, strikes people with a lack of awareness in their rights, including moving around the country.
“The social rating system is ideal for measuring merit,” says an expert who asked not to be named.
But maybe the fears are far-fetched, and the analogies are lame? What would a financial system with “temporary” money actually look like? How to accumulate “temporary” money? How do you spend them?
No taxes, no salary
If you change one thing, then everything changes. The concept of time-limited money will abolish both wages and taxes, and completely transform monetary relations.
The world will sooner or later switch to this system, because it is supposed to be fairer and simpler, it’s a matter of time. What will it consist of?
First of all, taxes as such will disappear. The modern tax system has enormous transaction costs. Digital currency simplifies everything. The downside is that tax is levied on working money, and not on the money that is hidden, which demotivates the active part of the business and the population. The solution is obvious: nothing should lie. If the money is lying, it simply evaporates.
The shelf life of money is calculated similar to the half-life of nuclear materials. The ratio of GDP to country budget revenues is taken, this is, with some amendments, the “life” of money.
But who issues that kind of money? Possibly, in the near future, the person himself will act as the issuer. In order to enable people to more freely dispose of “temporary” money, it is reasonable to count their half-life not from the emission, but from the first transaction. Thus, salaries as such disappear, but an analogue of basic income appears. The money issued by citizens can be “dyed”: for example, put, that 20% of the issued people are obliged to direct to investing in megaprojects. Which one – he chooses. If time has passed and the megaproject has not taken off, the money invested by citizens disappears, and the project remains without funding.
This is a terrible future
In essence, we take a part of the country’s GDP for a year and distribute it among citizens in a special way. Voucher privatization will give impetus to the new market economy. The post-industrial economy needs something like this, and on an ongoing basis.
There are, of course, many questions, and the most obvious one is that the role of money as a measure of labor disappears, and accordingly, motivation to work also disappears. In fact, money loses its functions and ceases to be a store of value. Resources are accumulating today, and attention is the most valuable thing. Likes and re-posts are becoming a new currency.
“Temporary” money can hardly be called money. Money is a universal means of payment and savings. There is no universality here, and in fact we have a surrogate – like those that companies produced in difficult times. Those surrogates could also be purchased only in certain stores.
But if the “green transition” does not imply such a radical reform of finance, where can we get the money for it? Despite the fact that the sums are called enormous, there is money. It is a matter of the will of the regulator to involve them in green projects or those that have been in the queue for a long time and are not directly related to the green ones. It seems that the latter is more likely, but so far it is difficult to guess.
A new financial system will nevertheless appear, but not soon. To implement at lightning speed means to bring down the economy. In China, the forcing of the Green Agenda has already led to a collapse. You need to worry when countries like Iceland or Norway start experimenting – in 10-15 years after that, “temporary money” will be everywhere.
But in general – this is it, the future, without property and savings. There is sharing everywhere, an apartment for rent, a bike for rent, we work in a coworking space. People have nothing of their own.
This is a terrible world, we are used to the fact that there are more and more resources, more energy, and life is getting better. But it will not be so: here’s an emissions voucher for two trips by car or one flight by plane. It is not a fact that healthcare will improve: the body may be healed, but mental illnesses will become more and more serious.
The answer to the question in the title is quite obvious: inclusive capitalism is the end of an era, its agony. It can last a century, or it can become a substrate for a new form of social life. In context, a more significant thing should be noted. If we are ready to see only movement towards the destruction of freedoms, consolidation of the role of man as a separate function, we cease to be acting elements of society, and after that we cease to exist as subjects of history. Then civilization will not even resemble a “human”. For those who consider themselves a person, for any reasonable representative of humanity, it becomes necessary to see and implement alternatives to the imposed future.
The insect people in “Hellstrom’s Hive” from the novel by Frank Herbert come to mind.
But there are also pluses – for example, a decrease in crime: the soft people (or not humans with the current essence of the word) of the future would never think of breaking the law. n general, a person is a flexible animal, he will adapt to this, too.