Comments: Paypal moves further away from money

I just came across a site selling and sharing essays amongst students. Here's an 4th year college essay on systemic risk for sale http://www.cheathouse.com/essay/essay_view.php?p_essay_id=15978

Of course, they take Paypal, credit cards, and even will hit your phone bill. $4 for a week, or $50 for the year.

Posted by Iang at May 23, 2004 07:59 AM

Which is worse, restricting users or uses?

The functions of money include unit of measure, medium of exchange, and store of value. If an intermediary can take away any of these functions then it's not money.

Posted by Todd at May 23, 2004 01:32 PM

Todd wrote:

"The functions of money include unit of measure, medium of exchange, and store of value. If an intermediary can take away any of these functions then it's not money."

Not if you accept former treasury secretary, William Simons "dogfood" definition of money.

"If the dog eats it, it's dogfood."


S a n d y

Posted by Sandy Sandfort at May 23, 2004 09:05 PM

> I.e., the Issuer of a gold currency does not offer the service to just
> anyone, and you don't have your normal consumer right of equal service.
> This seems to have resulted in some quite fierce closures of accounts,
> but it also seems to have preserved the currencies as, well, currency.

I am not following you here. No sarcasm: I'm really lost. Can you explain again, more slowly?

Posted by Olivier at May 24, 2004 03:11 PM

OL,

Paypal are half way down the slippery slope, in that they set what products can be used, and their list is already very long. So, anyone who doesn't like something - and there's always someone, right? - can complain and get the list enlarged. Gradually the currency loses its currency.

An alternate is to say nothing about any type of usage, but to simply state that accounts can be closed, totally at the Issuer's discretion. Then, if there is a problem with, say, postcards of Nazis with Naked Fruit being exposed this week in the press, the account can be shut down. But if there is an user selling paintings of Naked Communists with Fruit, then that merchant can be left alone.

The trick is to recognise that there is no need to "act consistently" as there are no consumer rules or common carrier obligations. If as a money issuer you can pick and choose your customers (Paypal can't really, but a gold Issuer can) then you pick the nice people and kick out the bad people. Where you decide who is who.

Which saves having to keep up with the slippery slope. That's the theory, anyway.

Posted by Iang at May 24, 2004 03:19 PM
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