L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 325, June 26, 2005
"We're All Indians, Now"
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L. Reichard White writes in his essay "Good News!! 3.9 Million More IDs Are Missing! (http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2005/tle324-20050619-04.html) about some alternatives to the mainstream, track-every- transaction financial system of bank accounts and credit cards. He mentions, "Paypal, Goldmoney, E-gold, Americans for Lawful Financial Independence and Information, MY ICIS (Interactive Currency Interface System)."
PayPal is closely tied to the mainstream system, uses many servers in the USA which are subject to subpoena and court orders, and is licensed in several states. It is therefore not really an alternative to the mainstream system. With some 58 million users and $17 billion or more per year in transaction activity, it is part of the mainstream. There are also serious deficits in its online security. Phishing attacks are very prevalent with PayPal accounts.
GoldMoney is a true free market money alternative. It uses gold as its basic unit of account. The GoldMoney.com service also makes effective use of what I call "jurisdictional arbitrage." The company is an Isle of Man business enterprise, its gold is stored in London, its data on the Channel Isle of Jersey, and network support comes from South Africa. There are limitations, though, on how much transaction activity you may have with GoldMoney without providing identity papers. On the plus side of that equation, the identity papers are sent to and stored in the financial privacy haven of Jersey, which has much better laws than many large countries. Jersey is also where data about your transactions involving GoldMoney is stored, so you are about as well protected as you can be with any system where identity papers are involved.
E-gold is not a good alternative, for Americans, although it does make use of some jurisdictional arbitrage features. The gold is stored in London, Zurich, and Dubai. The company is organized in Nevis, had a Bermuda trustee for a time, and is otherwise multinational. However, the data is stored in Florida, and the data is very much subject to subpoena and court orders. That's fine for foreigners, who see the USA as a privacy haven for good reason. It is terrible for any Americans, though. However, there is an adjunct system, 1MDC.com which uses e-gold as its base system of value, but stores data about transactions in Anguilla and other privacy havens. It is very easy to use 1MDC as an alternative to e-gold.
The ALFII.com and MyICIS.com systems which Mr. White mentions are both related companies. They were developed in Berryville, Arkansas by one of the leading proponents of the Liberty Dollar, Mr. Wayne Hicks. Much of the computer tech was handled by his son Tony, who is a very talented programmer. I believe that Mr. Hicks invented the electronic money order, although another company has claimed the technology through various statements and machinations. Mr. Hicks is an honorable man, and has made a good faith effort to provide financial services in the free market. Limitations might involve the location of data servers, though.
There are other alternatives, including e-Bullion.com, based in Switzerland with multi-national gold storage, a Panama corporation; Pecunix.com based in New Zealand with Swiss gold storage, also a Panama corporation; newcomer the Phoenix Dollar; the e-dinar.com system for Islamic customers and those with a penchant for MidEast activities, and the good old Liberty Dollar with paper and digital warehouse receipts as well as gold and silver specie on offer. I review these systems on my web site at http://indomitus.net/2004status.htmla free page with many facts and figures.
One of the things about identity theft that I don't think is very widely covered is the entire fallacy of identity papers being your identity. Of course, your actual identity is yourself. You are who you are, and to a very large extent, you are whoever you say you are. The concept of identification in a free market setting is based largely on your reputation. People who know you are able to identify you, by name, and may have good or bad things to say about their dealings with you. It is this sort of reputation that makes a real difference in your business dealings. No piece of paper or plastic is ever going to be able to substitute for your reputation.
In some ways, the first identity theft was by the government when they decreed that identity papers were required. Some of the history is quite nuanced and interesting. Sam Rayburn of Orange, Texas introduced one of the first state driver license laws way back around 1910 or so. Insurance companies picked up on this idea and, in their drive to socialize and centralize things, began to require driver licenses for their insured. So the voluntary system became mandatory, as did insurance for operating your own property in a motor vehicle. (Insurance companies had previously gotten clever at providing fire insurace and grabbing fees, but off-loading the provision of fire protection services including fire trucks and firemen onto the taxpayers. Devious scum.)
The 1917 Trading with the Enemy act created a process of registering "aliens." Conceivably, that power was available under the constitution which grants the federal government the authority to regulate immigration in various ways. In the 1930s, under FDR, the 1917 act was amended to establish that all Americans were "the enemy," and required identity papers, passports, and the like. In other words, your identity was stolen by the government and in its place you were left holding a piece of paper.
Where identity is personal and free market oriented, there is no identity theft. Who can steal your reputation within a community or fool people into thinking they are dealing with you when your dealings are face-to-face? When your identity is represented by a name and date of birth or by a nine-digit number, your real identity has been compromised. Little wonder then that it is a big industry to "protect" or to "steal" that substitute identity.
Identity and free market money are important issues. Accept no substitutes for the real thing.
It is probably an exercise in futility, nevertheless anyone who wishes to can sign Ralph Nader's online petition to impeach Bush and Cheney:
It is far, far past time for these lying warmongers to go.
James J Odle