American progressives, In particular, the high-profile group of Congressmen known as the “Squad” has been very vocal on issues of economic justice, the corrosive social impact of big tech, and the need to reinvent financial and monetary policies in the post-2008 period COVID-19.
How do you see blockchain technologies and subsequent debates that have surrounded the digital dollar, given the potential for overlap when it comes to concerns such as financial inclusion, efficient distribution and citizen privacy?
In a recent interview with Forbes, the economic policy advisors to various squad members – Alexia Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) – pointed out that their position was that of many in the Blockchain space.
Chastity Murphy, economic policy advisor to Rep. Tlaib, advocated the digital dollar issue as addressed in the recent Automatic Boost to Communities Act, which proposed digitizing the currency by 2021 to improve the efficiency of public stimulus payments. Murphy said:
“Blockchain technology is very exciting, especially from people thinking about using it in the private sector. When it comes to publicly managed digital payments, the biggest question is not how to create a distributed ledger that is managed by multiple actors, but how to create digital money that you can keep in your pocket that doesn’t require a ledger . In our opinion, this is the top priority. “
Murphy and other Squad advisors have emphasized the importance of allowing recurring payments to citizens during the COVID-19 economic and health crisis.
For progressives like Murphy, the commitment to new technology in finance and public order focuses less on the short-circuited state and other intermediary actors than on the prejudices inherent in many of the so-called “disruptive” solutions. or innovative.
Murphy pointed to the systemic and harmful effects of automation and algorithmic governance on underserved communities and people with color. To illustrate this point, Featured facial recognition technology and its potential to reinforce racial discrimination in areas such as law enforcement and surveillance. For them, this technology is “an example of what happens when efficiency and design problems are separated from exclusion, access and data protection problems”.
Another response from Aya Ibrahim, Representative Pressley’s economic policy advisor, found a similar difference in priorities when it comes to private actors looking to develop their own “solutions” to financial exclusion. She told Forbes:
“The selling point of Facebook’s Libra initially was that this would be a way to put the unbanked on deposit and better serve the less banked, but that wouldn’t necessarily exist if we had provided the services we should have been.”
In their emphasis on the need for coordinated, state-led, and publicly enforceable measures to combat financial marginalization, growing inequality, and secular stagnation, the team’s priorities – particularly those related to financial and monetary policy – set them at a certain level. Removal of decentralized digital currency advocates from the private sector.
Progressives have been influenced by heterodox economic thinkers like Stephanie Kelton and other proponents of modern monetary policy, as well as economists who advocate the possibilities of an “entrepreneurial state”., like Mariana Mazzucato.
Such thinkers share a critical stance with many proponents of cryptocurrencies when it comes to measures like quantitative easing and loose monetary policy. However, his criticism is motivated by the regressive impact of this policy on economic distribution due to excessive asset price inflation.
In a similar way Progressives’ advocacy of deficit spending and the macroeconomic flexibility many states enjoy as monetary sovereigns is a world far from proponents of “hard money” and limited currency supply in the crypto space.
Still, big-tech critics across the political spectrum will no doubt recall Ocasio-Cortez’s sharp characterization of Facebook’s proposals for Libra in 2019:
“In the history of this country, there has been a deadline for receiving payments in a corporate-controlled currency. […] It’s called ‘scrip’ “.
“The idea that your salary might be controlled by a corporation rather than a sovereign government,” Ocasio-Cortez went on, risks destabilizing what should be a public good.