Money a Waste, Economists Conclude

Sept. 21, 2084
WASHINGTON DC–A special research committee convened by the U. S. Treasury Department, and including officials and economists from the General Accounting Office and Federal Reserve Board, released on Thursday its “Final Report on the Role of Money in the Economy,” concluding that “money is currently the single greatest source of inefficiency in the exchange of services and goods,” and recommending that Congress “take steps to phase out the public use of the U. S. Dollar.” U. S. Treasury Secretary Frieda Bootle welcomed the report, and simultaneously announced a proposed 23 step phase-out schedule for the beloved currency: “We’re pleased that the Committee has come to the same conclusion that a number of us have reached privately in recent years, and we’re prepared to take concrete steps to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the U. S. economy.”

Pointing to recent developments in valuation, bargaining, and proxy technologies, the Committee concluded that “alternatives of considerably greater efficiency and lesser transaction costs” could save a dollar-less economy up to 14.7 trillion dollars annually, including the costs of maintaining dollar-oriented accounting and financial systems. Discussing the potential savings, Secretary Bootle noted that “it is not entirely specious to say that, by eliminating the dollar, we will be saving, on an annual basis, the total number of dollars exchanged in a given year.”

The majority of the currency alternatives cited by the Committee are based on a computational technology known as an “eigenutil.” Eigenutils are dynamic, compressed descriptions of individual “utility functions” the function which translates an individual’s needs and desires into comparative valuations of the goods and services offered in the marketplace. Because eigenutils are computationally describable, they can be easily exchanged and compared over computer networks, enabling frictionless barter transactions of unprecedented complexity and efficiency.

“Money was always a dumb technology,” exclaims MIT economist Professor Jessup Hare. “A useful technology, but a dumb one nevertheless. An eigenutil economy is orders of magnitude more subtle in its ability to capture and fulfill the needs of actors in a market. Translating my needs into a dollar figure was always reductive. Sure, it was easier than bartering at every step, but that increased efficiency came at the cost. With eigenutils, we no longer have to make that trade-off.”

Using eigenutils, bartering bots and software proxies can automatically and efficiently negotiate the direct exchange of goods, including value exchanges between employers and employees. Instead of receiving money in exchange for labor, employees will, likely, receive a negotiated bundle of goods and services, which she can in turn barter for others in the open market.[p]
“At last, all goods in the market will be accurately valued,” notes Professor Hare, “and value will flow freely throughout the economy. The real difficulty with money was that it created an inefficient meta-need: the need for money itself. Resources were often expended solely for the purpose of accumulating money, which, in itself, is largely worthless.”

Among concerns about the move to a dollar-less economy are objections to the Treasury Department’s proposal to privatize the dollar as part of the phase-out process. “First, let me say that, during this transition period, it makes sense for us to get some value out of the dollar by spinning it off,” explained Secretary Bootle. “And we won’t spin it off until it clearly no longer has monopoly power over the valuation market.”

Additional concerns about the impact of the plan on the consumer savings rate will be addressed by “the development of futures bartering and related transactions,” notes Bootle. “This will be a brave, new economy, fueled by incredible technical solutions. The Fed, for instance, will be able to influence the economy directly by tweaking the eigenutil infrastructure. Once valuation technologies get smarter, so will our policies.”

Sperm Warfare ‘Realistic Threat,’ Study Concludes

Feb. 14, 2012
SANTA MONICA–A recently released RAND Corporation study identifies Sperm Warfare tactics as the most “realistic threat to the morale of American Troops deployed in forward and danger areas.” The report, commissioned by the U. S. Department of Defense, calls for U. S. officials to seek emendations to the International Biological Weapons Convention clarifying the weapons status of reproductive gene therapies.

Sperm Warfare tactics involve the strategic deployment of aerosol-borne, non-pathological, asymptomatic “Cuckoo” viruses affecting the genetic content of human spermatozoa. The “Cuckoos” lurk in the vas deferens, attacking newly formed sperm cells and replacing their genetic material with DNA designated by the virus programmer. In the eyes of proponents, these “Cuckoos” do no “damage” and are not “weapons” covered by the Convention because they merely replace the victim’s DNA with the complete, healthy DNA of another man.

“Sperm Warfare really is more a form of propaganda than of physical attack,” explains RAND research associate Tigre Fielding. “It targets morale. You let the enemy know that you are using these tactics–announce that all of their children will, genetically, be related to somebody from the other side, even to some enemy leader–then deploy the cuckoos secretly. Soldiers might hesitate before killing the fathers of their own children. Either that or they’ll be afraid of having to raise a brood of little Hitlers later on.”

Originally developed as a “peace keeping” technology to be deployed in regions threatened with ethnic and racial violence, customized “Cuckoo” viruses with “offensive functionality” are reportedly either in production or under development in military labs worldwide. Refined versions of the viruses more effectively evade detection both during deployment and once inside the body. The RAND report warns additionally of a new class of “Stealth Cuckoos” that piggyback on reproductive cells, camouflaging their genetic contents with a “ghost” copy of the original DNA accurate enough to fool most widely available genetic tests.

Defense Department officials responded to the RAND report by issuing a new set of standing orders and practices to be followed in the event a Sperm Warfare attack is indicated. Soldiers in affected zones immediately don protective masks and manually induce ejaculation until given the all clear. Ejaculation in the minutes after exposure has been reported to dramatically decrease infection rates.

Asked about the new orders, most soldiers declared themselves resolved to do their duty. “You get over the awkwardness of the situation pretty quickly,” explains Pvt. Jake Reede. “We have to do what we have to do to respond to the threat. My only real problem is the constant drilling. I’m worn out.”

NYSE Officials Plan Animal Sacrifice on Exchange Floor

May 8, 2064
ELIZABETH, NJ–New York Stock Exchange officials today unveiled plans to sacrifice a “flawless, golden calf” on the Exchange’s new, high-fashion trading floor later in the month. “Our aim here at the NYSE is to do everything possible to protect our member firms and listing companies,” explains NYSE spokesperson Will Furggle, “including taking all measures recommended by cutting-edge science. Our theorists tell us that this sacrifice will have an enormous positive impact 10, 20, even 30 years out.”

NYSE researchers prescribed the sacrifice on the basis of an application of the precepts of chaos and complexity theories to the “ecology” of the Exchange. “The NYSE is a dynamic ecosystem,” notes NYSE Chaos Chief Miranda Reapes. “At its heart is a fairly ordered complex system, but at the periphery there are eddies, pools of chaos. These eddies interact, liminally, with the biotic systems they overlap. These interactions don’t mean anything in the short term, but the sensitivity of the system to initial conditions is such that, over time, modulating these interactions can have a significant impact. This sacrifice will be the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings in China.”

Reached in his drawing-room on the Exchange floor, long-time NYSE veteran and J.P. Morgan VP Alfonso Evening responded to news of the sacrifice: “I don’t hold much truck with those chaos people, but, the whole thing does make a kind of sense to me. The Floor is pretty much just ceremonial nowadays anyway. Used to be that we would actually exchange money and securities down here. Now I’m just constantly cinching up this damn BOSS corset and making the rounds with my calling cards.”

Others are more critical of the plans. “This is yet another example of the developed world appropriating without compensation the discoveries of traditional and indigenous peoples around the world,” points out Josephine Pow, Yale Law Professor and founding member of the Free Information League. “We saw it when the big genetics and drug companies stole knowledge of traditional medicines, reverse-engineered them, then turned around and exploited them on the basis of government-protected patents. This is the same story all over again. These “chaos” people have suddenly discovered the value of a number of traditional cultural practices. And then they exploit them with no thought of compensating the people whose knowledge they have stolen.”[p]
The NYSE plans call for the sacrifice to take place at noon on a Friday, and for each of the members of the exchange to imbibe a thimbleful of the calf’s blood. The calf itself, currently stabled on the visitors’ observation deck, is, as recommended by the experts, entirely gold in color, and without blemish. The calf was genetically manufactured by Perdue Meat Sciences to meet the Exchange’s specifications. to Run for Washington Senate Seat

June 14, 2040
SEATTLE–Web retailer today confirmed widespread rumors that it will seek election to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first corporation to pursue an elected position at the federal level. “We’re gonzo to do great things for the people of Washington State,” exclaimed Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos at a campaign-launch event held for Amazon employees. “Each and every one of us is going to have a part in deciding the most important issues of the day. We’ve done great things bringing great products to great people through a great medium; now we’ll bring them great government too!”

In announcing its candidacy, Amazon joins a small but growing rank of office-seeking and office-holding corporations. Starting with the groundbreaking appointment of Merck to the New Jersey Supreme Court, and culminating, dramatically, with the election last November of Alcoa to the governorship of Ohio, the movement to encourage successful, publicly-held corporations to bring their organizational efficiencies to the public-sector has been gaining popular support. “There were some initial popular perception problems in the beginning,” notes Steven Jingo, head of Corporations for Better Government, a lobbying group for corporations seeking partnership with local and state governments. “But our focus groups are telling us that people really appreciate when companies give back to the community by taking on the responsibility of public office.”

Despite rumored encouragement from both the Republican and Democratic parties, Amazon has bucked the trend and announced its intention to run as an Independent: “Those other parties may have something to offer old economy types, but we speak our own language,” declared Bezos.

“We wish Amazon luck,” concedes Republican Party organizer Henry Door. “Every successful corporate candidate has been on a G.O.P. ticket. We pioneered the whole thing. The Democrats are just playing catch-up on this one.”

“We carefully considered affiliating with one of the two major parties,” explains Amazon campaign director Scott Flipper. “They both made attractive offers, but we felt that affiliating would dilute the value of our proprietary platform. We owe it to our shareholders to defend our patented One-Click Constituent technology.”

Without the support of the two major parties, Amazon will have to be innovative to attract sufficient support to win in November. In addition to employee loyalty agreements requiring Amazon employees to vote for the company, Amazon has also instituted an incentive plan offering additional options to employees for each voter they can sign to an exclusive voting agreement. “Vote Amazon and Save on Shipping!” declares a recent ad campaign targeted at Washington residents and their relatives.

“This comes dangerously close to buying votes,” opines Seattle area political chat host Marie Drape. “But this also shows the sort of innovative problem-solving we get with corporate candidates. You don’t see things like this from traditional parties and traditional candidates. It’s like a breath of fresh air, and the voters are eager for something new that works.”