From: (John Turmel)
Subject: TURMEL: Duncan MacGregor and untrustworthy LETS code?
Date: Tue May  6 05:58:17 1997

From: aa735@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Duncan MacGregor)
Newsgroups: can.politics,
Subject: Re: TURMEL: More on Global ETS
Date: Sat May  3 11:20:31 1997

DM: The essential problem with LETS, like any other method of trading,
is that it requires TRUST to operate.
     JCT: No. It requires the intelligence to see that every token
issued is based on a known standard. A receipt for a known standard
requires no trust in its worth. The standard in store obviates that

DM: And TRUST is a commodity that is in very short supply right now.
     JCT: Too bad blind mistrust was not too.

DM: Given that inflation has damaged our ability to trust the official
currency (and recent actions by the governing Liberals [reportedly
printing more money] are rather inflationary), why should we trust
that this new instrument will be any more reliable?
     JCT: The whole point is that I want the Liberals to print their
own money instead of giving the banks the license to print and
loanshark it back to the government. And issuing new tokens based on a
a known standard is not inflationary.

DM: As for Mr. Turmel's claim that we can TRUST computer programs to
operate without human intervention, I can only gag... as will any
other computer-literate person.
     JCT: Every computer-literate person knows that once the program
is perfect, it's the computer that may be untrustworthy. I've trusted
my vaunted Wordstar program for the past 10 years and it's never
failed to act exactly as it should unless interfered with by some kind
of system crash or off-switch. But word-processing program itself has
proven to be completely trustworthy without any supervision or dread
from me.

DM: I design and implement computer programs. Object-oriented,
dataflow-based, imperative, functional or otherwise, programs are as
fallible as the humans who wrote them, if not more so.
     JCT: I've been using AccPacc Simply to do my accounting for years
and it has never proved untrustworthy. And anyone can run a LETS with
only the asset accounts module. So if all the major and minor
accounting systems which can do LETS accounting are trustworthy, why
would there be any fear that the LETS program has any important bugs.
Assuming bugs, especially in trivial arithmetic accounting where
everything must balance before Simply will accept a post, is not the
sign of a great programmer. Assuming bugs where it's too simple for
any bugs is not credible.

DM: "Artificial" intelligence not-withstanding,
     JCT: No. I said ordinary intelligence would do. Cashiers
in every casino of the world have mastered the concept of tokens for
collateral on a one-to-one basis so it doesn't take a rocket scientist
to handle a 1/s currency system flawlessly.

DM: computer systems have a LONG way to go toward being as adaptable
as human beings.
     JCT: We're not trying to adapt computer systems as human beings,
we're trying to adapt computer code to same patterns as in the human
brain of a casino cashier. Once the program replicates the in-out
process that cashiers deal with all the time, there is no reasons
programs can't account for the chips as efficiently as cashiers, who
do use computers and LETS software anyway, have always done.

DM: And even then, they will still be fallible. Too many people
conceive of computers or robots as "gods".
     JCT: Actually, a computer is a God of Counting compared to the
counting I can do. Thank God we are the creators of this Godly
accounting system which will serve us.

DM: Allow someone who knows something about the subject on the leading
(or is that "bleeding"?) edge to disabuse you of the notion.
     JCT: A leading edge? That's what every runner racing forward
with no opponents ahead of him thinks until he realizes he's going

DM: In short, LETS not be stupid.
     JCT: Agreed. Try to distinguish between a trustworthy computer
program and a trustworthy computer in the future. I'm not having any

Duncan MacGregor |  | #include <disclaimer.h>
Also at: "" | To err is human...
     JCT: And you've been pretty human...
     I had immediately answered him:

JCT: I'll let you run the chips and I'll bet there's nothing you can
do to screw them up or you'll be fired. Casino cashiers cope all the
time. Casinos derive no power by the fact that we use their chips.
There is no power to be feared.
     JCT: His response:

DM: A person can *choose* whether or not he/she plays at a casino. We
have *no* choice about legal tender.
     JCT: True. But LETS is an alternative choice about private
tender which no non-members are forced to accept. And you do have a
choice whether you will use this casino's private tender or that
casino's private tender.

DM: It is this *monopoly* situation that gives the Bank of Canada (and
to some extent, the other banks) authority without responsibility.
     JCT: It was a monopoly only while there were no private currency
systems available. Now that software is available for free on the
Internet for you to start your own private LETS currency system, the
Monopoly of Credit no longer exists for LETS members. Of course, the
rest of the world is still enslaved by their monopoly of credit, but
that's coming to and end. That's why we are breaking their monopoly by
using our computers to create our own local currency just as they have
used their computers to create their national legal tender.

DM: While there may be banks and trust companies in Canada other than
the Big Five, their *monopoly* position is an ominous abuse of power.
     JCT: And they'll have to give up that power and restrict their
computers to a pure service charge if they want to compete with all
the new LETS bankers opening up to liquify their community credit for
only a service charge.

DM: Are one casino's chips good at another casino?
     JCT: As long as they're based on the same standard, whose name is
on the chips is quite irrelevant. As long as the banks use the same
standard and don't charge interest, I have no aversion to their
providing my liquidity for me.

DM: Read above. Any organization that gains a monopoly of some type of
authority creates a serious question about responsibility. I have not
seen that question answered.
     JCT: Even if all the casinos in the world started a global
clearinghouse for their inter-casino transactions, there would be no
power to the clearinghouse as long as all transactions always balance.
     It is silly not to trust any casino's poker chips is they follow
the standard casino accounting principle of issuing liquidity on a
one-to-one basis with collateral. It is too trivial to defraud as
everyone may watch the accounts which always balance.
     So the issue of trust only applies to 1/(s-i) currency systems
which suffer the inevitable inflation but the issue of trust does not
apply to 1/s one-for-one currency systems which can not suffer

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