Books and documents:
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà, Brauli Tamarit Tamarit.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Magdalena Grau, Agustí Chalaux.
In the next few years in Europe and all other industrial countries,
most citizens will be carrying several electronic cards -credit, debit,
identification... cards- and will have to learn by heart their corresponding
security codes. Plastic money will reduce costs for the banks, and activate
some public and private services. But, will the citizens' privacy be protected?
Will monetics (electronic money) contribute in any way to improve the economic,
political or judicial system?.
If things stay as they are, many citizens will not have money cards
because they will not be solvent. Others still will refuse to carry them,
for fear of being controlled. However, besides having money cards anybody
will still be able to obtain «bank notes» and will be able
to use them, to carry out all sorts of legal and illegal operations (reserved
funds; traffic of influences, drugs, arms; fiscal fraud and currency evasion,...).
In Europe was will live under the impression of greater control of population,
but subtle and hidden fraud will still prevail and there will be no benefits,
to hardly anyone except those derived from the cost reduction in the operations
of the companies applying monetics.
In the coming years, however, another situation may develop. Every citizen
will have only one, unfalsifiable, personal card, linked to the code of
a current account where electronic payments and receits will be noted;
incomes will be paid; tax will be automatically carried out...
A system of a single card and personal current account may finally impose
itself because of its functional consistency. But if there are no other
modifications of the political and judicial institutions, what would be
the advantages for the citizens? Would it go beyond mere convenience? Would
it imply a loss of privacy?.
Monetics is being introduced without any social debate to show its dangers
or possibilities. On the other hand, many present problems appear to be
insoluble in the framework within which they are being raised. Could we
try to design new rules of the social game to favour not only a consistent
and democratic application of monetics, but at the same time help to solve
of some of the main problems we are facing today? With a suitable application
of monetics, could the following matters be solved?:
- avoid the impunity of factual powers working with anonymous money?.
- provide an economic science to work with actual data and be able to analyse
with precision the causes of the crises, the systems of appropriation and
- ensure the privacy of citizens without, at the same time, hindering the
necessary transparency of a lawful State?.
- increase social solidarity and redistribution, ensuring a vital minimum
for everybody, but simplifying and reducing taxes?.
- help decentralize decisions, offering at the same time an overall view
of the framework where they are taken and of their repercussions?.
During many centuries replies have been sought to these questions. Failures
repeated again and again have made us accept life together with the impunity
of foul play and with destitution: «there will always be poor people,
there will always be foul play...».
Possibly there will «always» be people who, for many reasons,
will not know how, or will not be able to, produce the wealth they need
to live, possibly there will «always» be people who will try
to jump over law and to buy other people and consciences to conquer or
hold power. We are not denying these facts. But we are trying to put the
bases so that, in the first case, this does not mean to live in poverty
and, in the second, as these corruptions leave a trace, they can be punished.
Not to look for all possible means to overcome poverty and foul play would
only suggest, either instrumental incapacity, or complicity in the perpetuation
of these realities.
The set of reflections and proposals which will be presented in this
book try to offer the elements to break up complicity and fatalism. If
these proposals do not appear to be sufficient in over social setting,
it will be necessary to find alternatives ways.
It must be kept in mind that the issue of currency as an instrument
of change, not only commercial but also social, is not born only of its
present technological possibilities -monetics-, but is related to the very
concept of currency (as we shall see in the first chapters), and of the
hypothesis that the type of currency (anonymous or personalized, disinformative
or documenting, scarce/plentiful or balanced) favours one or another type
of society and of market. It favours irresponsible power or liable freedom.
Technology can be used to create a currency with either liberating or
repressive features. Even if monetics is not essential to produce a change
in society, it may be necessary to find an alternative use to the present
one in the complex societies which are adopting it for trade and social
The conditions under which of monetics are applied must be very clear.
We run the risk otherwise that the power may want to legitimate it for
the control of people without the people controlling those who are controlling
To choose to establish a system of guarantees for the democratic and
consistent use of electronic currency is certainly risky but necessary.
The content of this book is vertebrated in twenty theses
relating to capacity the type of monetary instrument has to hamper or improve
respect for the law, economic information, responsibility of freedom, and
applicability of economic models,... The last chapters study the dangers
and the possibilities of the various applications of monetics, and submit
a draft of new rules of a social framework to allow a correct application
to take full advantage of its transforming potentiality of monetics.
If readers want to have a synthesized idea of its contents, they may
read The twenty theses which are submitted at the end of the book.
If anyone wants to deepen any of the theses, the corresponding chapter
may be read.
We have not included an extensive proposal of a hypothetic new social
model -one of the many which might be submitted- to avoid judgement of
the central theses, presented in this book, in terms of the shortcomings
and simplifications to be usually found in a global model. This new social
model will be submitted in another wrinting. Some of its elements however
are shown in chapter 19. We would not like to
submit a monetary change without inidicating what we consider to be some
of its potencially liberating characteristics.
These lines have been written from the point of view of
a Western society, that is, developed, industrialized, complex, pro-scientific,
monetized... This is not the only sort of existing society, and possibly
not even the best one. One cannot disregard the conditionings exerted by
the society in which you live. As Westerners, who are at the same time
aware of the other cultures, we may consider that the best way to respect
them is to find the means to stop the turbulent Western civilization, which
is destroying them and us. The best cooperation with the other cultures
lies in our ability to decipher the key elements which keep the West from
modifying its predatory behaviour. We focus the problem from a Western
standpoint, but it is also addressed to all the cultures which have adopted,
to a lesser or larger extent, the market and currency mechanisms.
Regarding to social models, it must be acknowledged that there are not
valid, single, solutions for everybody. What is good for a scale level,
is not for a larger or smaller one. The size or complexity of each culture
and each society will demand the adaptation of suitable replies. But this
is a task which corresponds to each culture and society, and which evidently
exceeds the possibilities of this book.
Even if we limit ourselves to a formulation of the problems and proposals
within the Western framework, their perception is fragmented according
to the different areas of population. Every-body's «spectacles»,
whether a manager or a worker, a politician or a citizen, an economist
or an ecologist, poor or rich, man or woman..., contribute to differing
priorities and sensitiveness. In this context the more general or common
arguments are submitted in this book, while the most specific ones of each
social area are left out for the time being. General argumentations are
bound to interest even those who appear to have more to lose. As in every
synthetic and synergic proposal, everybody has something to gain and something
to lose. Money is very important, but it is not all. And the prevailing
social relations established to obtain it, may not be the best even for
their most unconditional lovers.
We shall feel satisfied if, through these pages, the reader
comes to consider problematic a reality that he previously did not see
as such, and that this consciousness may give birth to a new outlook on
other problems and on their possible solutions.
To change reality is not the task of books, even if, often, books have
been an effective instrument to do so. Future and politics are two vital,
exciting features, because the will of man cannot be foretold. If the paths
suggested are not right, it will be necessary to look for different ones.
The how of change, its practical fulfilment, is the trial by
fire and the great unknown, but it is an open field which goes beyond the
author's responsibility, because it is a collective responsibility of those
who critically share our suggestions. Their feasibility will only be demonstrated,
then, through social testing as a consequence of political will.
The fundamental ideas submitted are a part of the research
carried out all along his life by Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Any wisdom which may be found in them belongs certainly to him.
Without the reflection and support of a group of friends who, first
at the Centre d'Estudis Joan Bardina, and now at EcoConcern, have been
studying these matters in common, the following pages would have never
seen the light. I wish also to thank my friends of Mas Blanc for the quiet
time which has allowed me to finish this work, after years of interrupted
drafts, and also my friend Stefano Puddu Crespellani for sharing this venture
with me. The help of Fundació Jaume Bofill has also been influential
to make me materialize my ideas on paper. The suggestive talks at Tevertet
have offered me the opportunity to put together the theses of this book.
While this book matured, and during the year which lasted the realization
of its edition, some Italian, French and Spanish judges became popular
because of the prosecutions started against known politicians and managers
for supposed crimes of corruption. I have not updated the information because,
in spite of its impressiveness it is unfortunately redundant1.
Names, places and techniques change, but foul play is always the same.
In these countries deep political changes are taking place because of the
action of Justice, even in spite of the fact that it cannot always reach
the bottom of problems because of lack of documentation or because of the
excessive pressure of the powerful under accusation.
In the presentation day of the original edition of «The Power
of Money», in January 1992, I announced some features of an Anticorruption
Plan which might instrumentally forbid most of the crimes which undermine
the credibility of the democratic system. Shortly after that I prepared
it and sent it to several communication media. In the year which has gone,
more problems have been added to corruption, which appear to be insoluble
under the present rules of the game. The mistrust of citizens towards a
far-away Europe, with no possibility of effective control of the new macro-institutions,
has caused the process of European unity to stagger. But it has been the
monetary storms produced by speculation which have given knowledge of the
radical impossibility of developing communal policies as long as currencies
can be moved electronically all over the world completely free of any productive
or trade purpose.
Because of the significance of all these facts, I have included an increased
version of the «Anticorruption Plan» as an annex
to this English edition. It is a plan with operative proposals to introduce
a «transparency regime» which may be introduced slowly and
adapted to different political frameworks: from one single State to the
European Community and to international relations. The «Plan»
allows to foresee the feasibility of the book's theses and at the same
time, it contributes some more elaborated arguments to some features of
the «Plan» which, because of the shortness of their exposition,
may not appear to be clear enough.
information may be found in the papers, and many books have been published
on the cases of corruption. Unfortunately, suggestions to overcome them
are not plentiful.