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Monetary Privacy!?

“Preventing money laundering” is another way to say our financial system puts a huge amount of effort into preventing monetary privacy.

This is widely seen as obviously good. It's not. It has some apparent upsides and downsides. It violates a major principle, so it's presumably actually bad. It being bad doesn't mean we should get rid of it overnight; we have to figure out good ways to transition our system and alternative ways to solve the genuine problems that anti-money-laundering currently addresses.

The basic underlying tensions here is: privacy is helpful to criminals. But privacy is also great for non-criminals! And I don't think a trusted central authority knowing everything about everyone is the right way to handle crime, because the government can't be trusted that much and because there needs to be market competition in order to fight crime better.

I think it'd be best to stop blaming tools of crime which are also tools of non-crime – such as money and guns – and go after criminals more directly without causing a lot of collateral damage for the rest of society.


Elliot Temple on February 13, 2018

Comments (2)

fighting crime

Yes, more privacy for all would be great.

Can you explain about how market competition helps to fight crime?

anonymous at 5:26 AM on February 14, 2018 | #9519
if a company has to outcompete another company for customers, they do a better job.

Anonymous at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2018 | #9520

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)