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.”