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Re: "The Policeman Inside"

At 09:54 AM 11/5/95 -0800, you wrote:

>My point, originally, to Rich Graves' mention of Chris Hibbert's excellent
>FAQ on Social Security Numbers and person numbers, is that it is no longer
>relevant to fight against a "single index number." Modern data base methods
>are so well-suited to cross-indexing that it hardly matters whether there's
>a single point of entry to the data base or not.

However, modern life is also well-adapted to the counter strategy of
fuzzying up any focus on your "cluster of transactions."  Thus it is trivial
to use multiple names and addresses for multiple transactions.  Particularly
if you "go bare" in the insurance arena, many tracking opportunities are
denied your opponents.  This will also save you big bucks in premiums
foregone.  You also have to watch the stuff most people don't think about
like magazine subscriptions which can easily be had in any name (and should be).

The current possibility of getting multiple secured credit cards in multiple
names will become even more fun as the temporary Visa and Mastercards
(travelers's checks on a card) are issued.  Plenty of entrepreneurs will be
buying and selling those.  Just like the phone card market today.

>THE KEY POINT IS THIS: Are voluntary economic transactions between persons
>to be subject to approval and regulation by the State? 

They will no doubt try but closed systems have a hard time competing with
open systems. A good way to track the future control possibilities is to
track how easy it is to get an internet account.  If it remains as easy to
get an internet account in the future as it does today, then it will be very
hard to indulge in central transaction controls. I am predicting that there
will be a convergence between the ease of communicating over the nets
(institutional ease not interface ease) and the ease of completing
transactions.  I think the convergence will be one sided in the direction of
easier and easier transactions.  Again, I'm not talking about technical ease
here but the structural or institutional ease of completing transactions.
"Frictionless Capitalism" is frictionless across the board.

The belief that it is possible to "press down upon the brow of labor this
Crown of Thorns, to crucify mankind upon a Cross of Red Tape" (to mangle a
phrase) is worthy of ridicule.  I happened to catch "Funeral in Berlin"
today.  The Commies didn't manage it with a lot more going for them than
Slick Willie has.  They got their clocks cleaned by MarketEarth.  The
Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't stand a chance.  

>If babysitting and
>lawnmowing, not to mention hiring someone to write some C code, requires
>submitting tax and Social Security forms, requires checking the J-1 vs.
>Permanent Resident vs. Approved Citizen Unit status, then the die is cast.

I thought the guy was in Zamboanga (where the monkeys have no tails).  At
least that's what he told me in his email.  The gardener was an independent
contractor.  The babysitter worked for a temp agency (at least that's what
she said).  I know I paid a company.  At least the digicash went to
something with a company name.

>Well, the State is becoming more efficient in tracking such things, and tax
>penalties are increasing.

Not sure if that's true.  Are there fewer illegal aliens, fewer people
driving without licenses, fewer people practicing medicine without a
license, etc than in 1960, 1970, 1980?  I seriously doubt it.

>In closing, we must beware "the policeman inside," to use the William
>Burroughs term. A surveillance state that arises because modern computers
>and data bases allow all economic transactions to be monitored, taxed, and
>approved or disapproved is a horror we should fight with all of our
>resources. Whether right-, left-, or libertarian-leaning, the implications
>of this state power to control our lives are horrible.

No argument there.


"Freedom isn't Freeh 
freedom isn't Freeh
you've got to pay the price 
you've got to sacrifice
for your liberty" -- Here's hoping you're all morally rearmed.