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Re: Extortion Explosion

   Cheer up, Cassandra!  Things aren't all that bad.

   > New opportunities in the extortion industry:
   > Old problem: the victim may inform the police, making it risky to pick up the
   > money, which will likely be watched.
   >      New solution: demand payment via cryptomoney.

   Many forms of electronic money can be traced if there is cooperation
   between the payer and the bank.  For example, [...]
   However, if she simply _tells_ the bank the value of C,
   then when Bob goes to deposit it, he can get caught.

Fine, if there are some forms of electronic money which can be traced
sufficiently to suppress extortion by rivals, and there are some forms
which are less traceable, will we have the wisdom to advocate the ones
which enable our main oppressor to maintain its monopoly on extorting
us?  I suspect for many on this list, it would be a bitter pill
indeed (it was for me).

   > Old problem: you may be caught firebombing the house, shooting the victim,
   > slashing the victim's daughter's face, or whatever; if you subcontract to a
   > thug, the thug may be caught and inform on you.
   >      New solution: use cryptomoney (and a reputation for paying) to hire thugs
   > while maintaining anonymity.

   Well, if thugs know that they are now going to be taking the sole
   responsibility for their actions, without the safety of knowing that
   they can rat on their employer if worse comes to worst, then they'll
   charge more to make up for the greater risk.  This will make extortion
   less profitable.

Enough to outweigh the new advantages?

   > Old problem: providing protection, so that you keep a supply of economically
   > viable victims from whom to extort.
   >      New solution: Please find one! If the government can't protect victims
   > from you, how can you protect them from competitors?

   This is the key point.  What stops protection rackets now?  Is it really
   the points listed above: that the money may be traced, that others may
   falsely benefit from my reputation, that thugs may inform on me?  What
   about simple physical surveillance of property?  What about revenge on
   the transgressors?  (As above, the revenge would be restricted to the
   thugs who did the job, but if it was bad enough it would still have a
   strong deterrent effect.)

My impression is that *the* weak link in extortion activities now is
how to pick up the money.  This is where most extorters get caught,
and it is where our monopolistic extortion & protect racket
concentrate their protection activities when faced with a competitor.
If someone has a more informed understanding of the practice of "law
enforcement authorities" when faced with competitive extortion, please
post.  Thanks.

   > Wishful thinking in the pursuit of liberty is no virtue; realism in the
   > defense of imperfect liberty is no vice. Free-lance oppression isn't freedom,
   > and I don't want it.
   > Cassandra

   It makes more sense to have good fire and police forces to deal with
   the bad guys than to get all in a tizzy because the bad guys can talk
   to each other now without getting caught.

If I believed that the police forces could still protect effectively
when deprived of their major tool (monitoring the money pickup), then
my objection would go away.  However, I don't see how they can.  It's
just too easy to firebomb a house (or any number of other attacks)
when no one's looking.