But the machinations are just the same as regards swings in value of national currencies. But the central bank of a government has more tools at its disposal to try and keep the economy in check and control the money supply. This is the big fear, whether it's airtime minutes or even Ithaca Hours, but it doesn't make it any less real of a form of money. I think your concern about who is safeguarding that money supply is a real one because it's a private corporate entity, and not necessarily a government, which circles back to that idea that people seem to trust governments more than banks or let's say big telecom companies — which maybe isn't saying so much, but it does say something.
I ALSO WONDER ABOUT NOT JUST THE TRUST IN THE MONEY SUPPLY, BUT ACCOUNTABILITY. IF CHINA MOBILE WANTED TO CHANGE THE PRICES THAT IT CHARGED FOR ITS AIRTIME MINUTES, LET'S ASSUME THAT BETWEEN THREE AND 12 PEOPLE NEED TO SIGN OFF ON THAT DECISION AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL TO MAKE IT SO. WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE? WE DON'T EVEN KNOW THEIR NAMES — AS OPPOSED TO GOVERNMENT. EVEN THOUGH THERE'S A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF UN-ACCOUNTABILITY OR DELAYED ACCOUNTABILITY BUILT INTO THE FED, FOR EXAMPLE OR THE WESTERN EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANKING SYSTEM, THERE'S SOME. WE KNOW WHO BEN BERNANKE IS AND OUR REPRESENTATIVES CAN GO HOLLER AT HIM, IF THEY WANT TO. WE HAVE THAT RIGHT, WE HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF TRANSPARENCY. ISN'T THAT THE REASON PEOPLE TRUST GOVERNMENTS MORE THAN THEY TRUST BANKS?
DW I think so. Or at least I think that's the idea. The worrier in me says you're exactly right, the top-brass China Mobile could be that could just be horrible increasing the fees like that and nobody knows who they are and can go after them. But the technologist in me, without sounding too much like a Pollyanna, would hope that there are just enough options in the future when it comes to varying forms of currency that if people found they're getting charged too much for such-and-such that they would just jump. They would jump to another currency, another national currency maybe, or whether it's kilowatt hours, or airtime minutes of another carrier or something like that. I know that sounds a little bit simplistic, but we could see enough start-up activity and technology activity to make those options available. But if we don't, I think you're right. How do we know that these businesses will act for the benefit of the masses, and not necessarily for themselves? That doesn't bode well.
ROBERT, IMAGINE THERE IS SOMEONE IN GUANGZHOU WHO HAS 10,000 AIRTIME MINUTES. THAT'S PROBABLY A LOW NUMBER OF WHAT SOME OF THESE PEOPLE'S BALANCES ARE LIKE. WHAT IF THEY SWAP AND THEN THEY HAVE TO TAKE PAYMENTS IN MULTIPLE TYPES OF AIRTIME MINUTES? THAT BRINGS BACK THE FRICTION THAT THEY'RE TRYING TO ESCAPE.
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