0125 - 6.28793 creds - 2020.02.24

Comic!

Comment:

All of Zoa's transactions are, necessarily, recorded. Even if, hypothetically, it accepted a sack of grain in exchange for its services, it would need to itemize and evaluate said sack so that it could report its earnings to its owner, pay taxes, list the sack as one of its associated assets, etc. Zoa enjoys a great deal of autonomy (because said autonomy is profitable), but it's still, in some ways, on a pretty tight leash.

Of course, all of Lee's transactions are similarly recorded and monitored. In theory, Lee could trade people services or assets, but, in practical terms, everything they do is in credits, which are electronic. We've seen quite a bit of this already in the present, as more and more commerce is handled through debit, credit, and other purely digital interactions.

The move to digital currency is (rightly) seen as exclusionary to poorer individuals, yet another way low- and no-income people are pushed to the margins of society. Businesses that don't accept cash are effectively banning customers who might happen to be poor. After all, it's hard to open a checking account when you don't have a fixed address and the money you want to deposit is a cupful of assorted change - even more so when the intermittent banking fees are a significant chunk of those earnings.

Man, remember when we were kids, and the bank paid you for some reason? That was a weird time, huh?

Anyway, I might point out that the dollar certainly still exists in Forward (the Canadian Consumer Credit is a meta-currency, its value set by fiat as a certain amount of Canadian dollars, fluctuating automatically with the cost of living), and, if Lee felt that their personal financial liberty was being infringed by a totalitarian government, they are absolutely free to convert their creds into dollar bills. They would then (as with crypto currency today) have to find vendors willing to accept tokens whose primary selling point is that the government cannot track your purchases. Also, they'd have the asset tax on those dollar bills automatically deducted from their basic income until they can somehow prove that they're no longer holding the asset. Also, although the actual purchases are anonymized, if there's enough incidental evidence that Lee's activity is detrimental to themselves or others, a red flag will pop up in some database somewhere, and they might get a visit from a sympathetic counsellor who wants to help make sure they're not inadvertently committing a crime or putting themselves in crushing debt.

Yes, the personal debt that is a hallmark of the twenty-first century economy is a thing of the past by 2167. You're also not allowed to set your own house on fire.

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Transcript:

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0125 - 2167/07/06/13:12 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, Lee's bedroom.
Zoa: Okay, y'know what? Deal. I'll pay you five creds for a cuddle if you pay me five creds for a cuddle.
LC: Well, alright then.
Zoa: You wanna be big spoon or little spoon or face each other, or what?
LC: Here, we'll get under the covers face to face, we can leave your back exposed so you don't overheat.
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Zoa: Good thinking. Did you want to put on pajamas, or strip down, or for me to strip down, or...
LC: Wait, why did you just take six-point-two-eight-seven-nine-three credits from me?
Zoa: Transfer fees and sales tax.
LC: Do I get the price modifier for being a student like Caleb did?
Zoa: Apparently only if you're either enrolled in an actual program, or in at least five different classes.
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LC: Why are we paying each other in money at all? Why not just exchange hug for hug?
Zoa: Because that would be hard for me to put in a proper financial report for DemeGeek, and harder for me to pay taxes on.
Zoa: I also may not accept payment in goats or sacks of grain.
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LC: You're not allowed to barter or trade at all?
Zoa: Oh, I can trade, I'm just not rated for livestock care or long term food storage.
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