Talk: Privacy or welfare - pick one: Cryptocurrencies, taxation, and the legibility of culture

The Future of Money
Saturday 12th of November, 2011

by Smári McCarthy

Maintaining welfare systems, education systems, and various other non-market services falls within the domain of the modern state, but the state cannot operate without tax revenue. Cryptocurrencies appeal to technologists and hackers because they have the potential to be radically decentralized, secure and anonymous, but all of these stand in blatant opposition to the concept of taxation.

If systems like Bitcoin become too widespread, it may portent the breakdown of the modern nation state. While taxes represent a monetization on social activities by a monopoly, and are only understandable to the state through a systemic reduction of social complexity into "legible" units, we are forced to ask ourselves whether the elimination of taxation, and the state by association, could improve society - and whether we have the ability to build better and more egalitarian systems to replace the state's functions.

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