Fixing the euro and Public Digital Payments Platform


#1

we are calling for the development of a Public Digital Payments Platform (PDPP) in every European country. The PDPP creates a reserve account for each taxpayer. Each taxpayer is then provided with a PIN that allows them to transfer credit from their reserve account to the state — as a form of tax payment — or to any other taxpayer’s account. In doing so, the PDPP affords national governments greater fiscal sovereignty against the Fiscal Stability Treaty.

I have serious concerns about this point. While I understand the proposal comes from Yanis’ imagination when facing the harsh fiscal constraints in Greece in 2015. It was an intelligent idea to circumvent the Eurozone’s stupid rules.

However I am less sure this proposal makes sense as a European proposal for the next election for several reasons:

  1. The proposal will unnecessarily create a perception that European Spring wants to setup an IT infrastructure to prepare a breakup of the euro. I know this isn’t what we want but I can already hear them screaming… How does this proposal “fixes the euro” anyway? Yanis’ idea was a contingency plan, not a plan A.
  2. The current platform already proposes a multitude of measures in order to reverse the austerity curse (the Green investment plan, the new EU budget, the universal dividend, getting rid of the fiscal compact etc etc.). If all those proposals will work, do we still need this PDPP. Do we need to circumvent the rules if we will change those rules?
  3. Last and not least, it is not clear at all what is the benefit of this proposal from a citizens perspective. How does it help me as a citizen to have another payment system? It looks quite technical and may confuse people more than it will convince citizens.

All in all, I would suggest dropping this point because it doesn’t have much potential for the campaign and may create serious difficulties for European Spring to defend it in the eurozone debate.


Universal Citizen’s Dividend and role of ECB
#2

Hi Stanislas! Please make sure to submit your suggestions here: https://our.europeanspring.net/
Click on the graphic in the designated area and you’ll find a form to submit suggestions.


#3

Oh, I see! I didn’t understand that clicking on areas of the graphic would lead somewhere. Thanks for the tip.


#4

Indeed this point is for most people to technical.
I think we can get more voters for this European cooperative peoples bank (ecpb)


#5

I think we have to made a big effort to explain this porposal in the easiest and clearest way is possible


#6

I totally agree with @Stanislas_J: it is absolutely unclear of how the PDPP would differ for the citizen from a normal bank checking account, and what benefit is expected from creating another burocratic institution.

Either there is no difference to a checking account, in which case the point should be dropped. Or the issue is too technical, then it should be elaborated so it can be understood even by a not so very smart 12-year old, or else I would remove it from the program.


#7

I think the idea is to have a financial institution for essential public services - saving, transactions, taxation - that can’t fail in case of a breakdown of the finance sector, as happened 2008 and is about to happen again soon seeing as nothing changed. Isn’t that alone worth it? Basically you pay nothing for building it - and you can let banks fail without bailout, for the biggest saving sum I could imagine and with the consequence of a maybe more prudent financial sector. The idea is like - I don’t know - mindblowingly good.

Apart from that it improves taxation and prevents tax evasion - a huge problem if you think about it.

Also helps the citizens with practical things like taking cash or payment in other European countries - I personally just don’t accept that I have to pay 5% of my transaction plus account fee plus advertisement bullshit, have no interest whatsoever and cant be sure my money is even save. The audacity of it…

Helps more than it hurts and is overdue in our time. The really nice side-effect a country with this system could leave the Euro and change their currency with a lot less difficulties than without it. Whatever you think about wether the Euro is good or bad (personally I stick with Prof. Joseph Stiglitz that the Euro is terrible in its current form) paving the way for a better future either way could reduce the suffering from another great-great-depression-like economical desaster in Europe, I think its a bargain.

I have serious concerns about this point. While I understand the proposal comes from Yanis’ imagination when facing the harsh fiscal constraints in Greece in 2015. It was an intelligent idea to circumvent the Eurozone’s stupid rules.

I don’t know where the majority of Europeans actually stands on the Euro-issue, but why exactly shouln’t we agree, support and welcome solutions to harsh fiscal constraints and stupid Eurozone rules when they are clearly not supported by a majority and common sense? Is capital or people more important to us? Eurozone-countries have given up their fiscal independence to a stupid system - either fix the system or take back independence. The system doesn’t get fixed. Leaves only one option. Thank god that option does not demand any rash actions.

I have to agree with you though, its very technical and not put this way in the program.


#8

Probably yes, but the same questions remain for many of us: is it really needed, what is the benefit, how does this complement all the other proposals @Stanislas_J mentioned. We’re not all economists. Maybe everyone else gets it, if so I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to vote on a program I don’t fully understand. A few people seem to be confused by this so it might be worth explaining more in detail.


#9

Thanks, you explain the pros a bit better.
I still don’t understand how this would happen at zero cost (somebody has to set it up and manage it, don’t they?) and ok, I am not economically well versed enough to know if it is a good idea, at this point, to prepare to break up the euro. Intuitively I would probably “play it safe” (if that is even safe, probably not) and try to change it from within, like the rest of the EU, but I really wouldn’t know. I just mention that to say that I think many people are like me: they don’t know enough to have an educated opinion and trust whatever guru they happen to find more convincing (which means nothing, I can be convinced of anything, in economics, by a good enough speaker). So if we are all asked to vote, even the economically illiterate among us, then yes, this point is too technical and makes many of us waver…
Also, there is the claim that this ends austerity: how does that follow? I do understand that it might help in the event of the next crisis, for our personal savings and public works etc., it may prevent the arguments for needing the next austerity, but how does it end the current trends?


#10

We are looking for easy answers to the difficulties of the real world. But economy and finance are artificial human constructs, their complexity today is just veiled greed and power abuse. They are simple: Fair distribution of scarce goods - the purpose of economy. A system of trust in exchange-ability - money. Lastly, for greatness, we need investment into dreams and visions to make them real - banking, taxation.

Without fairness and distribution of scarce goods, we fight, we suffer, we diminish. Without a system of trust, we can’t deal with strangers prosper together, we live in monotone, small worlds. Without combined spending, no big projects for our common good, no roads, no internet, no public healthcare.

Sustainability is the measure of success, but includes social, ecological and financial long term progress. Ditch any of the three and we all suffer.

Now first - a digital currency and public banking platform provides a tool for a more trusted form of money than the Euro, and a cheaper banking and taxation option than our private banks and tax-hell-holes. It does that in parallel and without damage to existing institutions. It does just one thing: competition. The Euro won’t continue unless it proves it is better than the new alternative. Private banks will fail unless they provide a useful service. Countries will have to justify tax evasion and unfair taxation seeing as the alternative. And remember - it won’t cost more than we pay in today’s banking fees anyway, because the software and servers behind it remain the same.

It strengthens trust in the public, it strengthens fairness and equality, it provides financial self-determination. I don’t really know what Austerity is but for me its being governed by fear. Fear of loosing everything. It forces me to support things I know are wrong just because there seems to be no other way. What I see in a digital currency and public banking platform is a good alternative to that. When my money is save, I can think about a better future. When I can trust in my fellow citizens fiduciary responsibilities, I happily pay my share.

Public-profit-banking instead of forced individual-profit-for-public-risk-banks and no arbitrary fee or taxation with endless paperwork and loopholes, that’s what this is about. Right and as a positive side-effect, creating a new monetary zone is just a few lines of code and no chaos.


#11

Well, thank you very much for the effort, I do appreciate it. Unfortunately, due to my own ignorance, none of this really explains anything to me. A digital payment system does not seem to me to compete with banks in the sense that you mean. As long as it’s just about paying for goods, there is not such a huge issue that I see, frankly, nor many ties to austerity. The problems I would have with banks (if I had all that interaction with them) would have to do with loans, mortgages, pension schemes, investment accounts (or saving accounts, whatever they are called), all that stuff, which a digital public payment would have little to do with, as far as I can see: I’m probably wrong, so I’d need a much clearer explanation of what this public platform can do and how. The more it does, the harder and more expensive it will be to manage. “A few lines of code” is an extremely optimistic view of things, I think.
What self-determination does it provide? Why on earth would your money be safe? If there is massive inflation or any other type of collapse of the currency, your money is just as unsafe as it is now… if that’s what you mean by ‘safe’.

I obviously see the problems with the way banks function. I think I just really don’t understand what exactly this new public platform would be, what it could do, how it is envisioned, why anyone thinks it’s so trivial to architecture (code-wise I mean). As to austerity, I understood it to mean massive cuts to public spending in the name of “saving”, while at the same time giving massive bailouts to private institutions, hand-outs in the form of tax-cuts, and, in my own country, constant pardoning of tax evaders’ debts. These issues will remain. A public money exchange platform will not have much effect on how a government decides to spend its money - if they don’t have to bail out banks anymore, they’ll just say “perfect, no more spending, our public debt is reduced by so many %”, they’re not going to start rebuilding hospitals and hiring doctors and teachers. Maybe one day, in 50 years, in 2 or 3 generations, if banks definitely die out and everything is publicly owned, but certainly not because we use a new paypal…

OK, I’ve laid out my ignorance in full: it’s embarrassing, I know, I don’t understand anything about anything, but maybe this’ll make it clearer why I (and maybe some others like me) struggle to get the full utility of this proposal.
I’m not against it, mind you, I really don’t care either way very much, I just would like to understand the big claims behind it that I can’t see.

Thanks again for your patience :slight_smile:


#12

I can see benefits in a European CoOperative Bank.

Many countries have a savings bank model:

UK - the old Building Societies, only Nationwide is left. Account holders vote on Directors and direction.
Spain or at least Catalonia has the Caixas. Though I don’t know if they are account holder owned.

My understanding is that a Digital Payment System and/or European Public Bank would

A: automatically open accounts for all citizens at age 18
B: give all account holders a vote in the direction of the bank eg; investment portfolio choices, directorships etc

I do think a non-plc owned digital payment system is a positive thing.
Currently PayPal takes 3% of a vast portion of money transfers.

I guess the idea is to make a European version of the Kenyan M-Pesa concept, but with the banking services expected by Europeans?

My concern is the wording I have seen: it implies to me that each country creates its own People’S Bank, rather than creating a pan-European Bank.


#13

Also, in Sebastian_P’s most recent reply, this hypothetical banking system uses its own currency unit.

I fear the danger there is Financiers using the exchange markets to devalue / profit from exchanging with this new currency unit.

Why can’t this new bank system simply use the Euro?