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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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A new short story
Old 10-24-2016   #1
Roger Hicks
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A new short story

There's a new short story on the .eu site: The New Gold Standard.

I'd be interested to hear others' views on the nature of internet nanopayments, as outlined in the story. It's borrowed from Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future, and as far as I can see, it's a very good idea. All right, there's the old saying "If you want to send a message, call Western Union" but I think there's more to the story than just that message. Or the Gold Standard. Or the European Civil War...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-24-2016   #2
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I enjoyed your story and the idea of a new post-apocalyptic and perhaps more realistically-based economy Roger. The post-war aspect reminded me of one of my favourite sci-fi stories, A Canticle for Leibowitz (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz). I haven't worked out what to say about nanopayments though - if they are the engine of this new economy, then they seem like a good thing.
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Old 10-24-2016   #3
mfunnell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
I'd be interested to hear others' views on the nature of internet nanopayments, as outlined in the story. It's borrowed from Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future, and as far as I can see, it's a very good idea.
Roger,

I agree that the idea of nanopayments is a very good one that might enable all kinds of things from small-scale enterprise through solving the "who pays for the news" problem killing newspapers around the world. I liked the way you used the Tobin tax and Universal Basic Income to explain interfaces between the "real" (macropayment) economy and the small-scale economy, and to include monetary metals in the mix (though I'm a tad sceptical about the latter, nicely though you've done it).

But what really kicks my scepticism into high gear is:
Quote:
but the only big losers tended to be those who had been grievously financially overprivileged to begin with
I really like that idea! Unfortunately, it seems an almost impossible circumstance - European Civil War or not.

Back to nanopayments: because I work in payments processing (down in the weeds of technical detail) I started trying to think through how they could be made to work - really work, at the level where the devil really is in the details. While thinking, I identified lots of devils! I'm not saying it's impossible (most certainly it isn't) but there are plenty of inconvenient little devils that will need settling if nanopayments are to become as pervasive, secure, and straightforward to use as I think they'd need to be.

Thanks very much for a nice story that did make me think (even if too much of that thinking seems at least vaguely work-related).

...Mike
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Old 10-24-2016   #4
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfunnell View Post
Roger,

I agree that the idea of nanopayments is a very good one that might enable all kinds of things from small-scale enterprise through solving the "who pays for the news" problem killing newspapers around the world. I liked the way you used the Tobin tax and Universal Basic Income to explain interfaces between the "real" (macropayment) economy and the small-scale economy, and to include monetary metals in the mix (though I'm a tad sceptical about the latter, nicely though you've done it).

But what really kicks my scepticism into high gear is:
I really like that idea! Unfortunately, it seems an almost impossible circumstance - European Civil War or not.

Back to nanopayments: because I work in payments processing (down in the weeds of technical detail) I started trying to think through how they could be made to work - really work, at the level where the devil really is in the details. While thinking, I identified lots of devils! I'm not saying it's impossible (most certainly it isn't) but there are plenty of inconvenient little devils that will need settling if nanopayments are to become as pervasive, secure, and straightforward to use as I think they'd need to be.

Thanks very much for a nice story that did make me think (even if too much of that thinking seems at least vaguely work-related).

...Mike
Dear Mike,

Glad you liked it, and (semi) sorry it was work related. Only semi, though, because it's people like you who could make it work.

Here's a bit more fantasy, though. What about a government-run search engine/ nanopayment system, funded entirely by picopayments? I'd cheerfully see a picopayment taken off my nanopayments, and it's a hell of a revenue stream...

RFF could do OK out of it!

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-27-2016   #5
ph.
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Michael Gaismar would have approved. Email, however, might have done in the Post offices.

Enjoyable read, and time to switch rangefinderforum on to nanopayments.

p.
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Old 10-27-2016   #6
Ko.Fe.
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https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Nanopayments
Sounds like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_scheme
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Old 10-27-2016   #7
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Good to hear that some people actually read Jaron Lanier and are actually thinking of some other way of doing things rather than the everpresent "race to the bottom".
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Old 10-27-2016   #8
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It all sounds good, so long as the hackers don't figure out how to siphon off or misplace one's nanopayment. And then of course there's the issue of paying for the "common good" infrastructure (internet, highways, schools, defense, ...). Pico-taxes? Who watches the tax collector?

And regarding speculators... so long as there's someone that wants to leverage his 'coin' into something bigger without physically working for it, there will be speculation/hedge-fundery, etc..
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