In our 22nd Software Freedom Podcast episode, we talk with Johannes Näder, Senior Policy Project Manager at the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), about “Public Money? Public Code!”.
The “tax payer” but more important the workers, provision the government with their labour time or goods, which the state purchases, by issuing currency using a computer to mark-up bank accounts. In the old days it was by fountain pen on ledger. The State does not get their own currency off tax-payers, it is the other way around. Tax return is indeed a return (revenir) a redemption accounting operation, for living in a state providing public services. But the State does not need your tax payments to issue more currency, they just need a computer to mark-up your bank account. Tax return ensures continuous demand for the otherwise worthless tax credits. Tax liabilities drive demand for the otherwise worthless currency, they are not supply of the currency for the monopoly issuer! All state currencies everywhere are simple public monopolies. Orthodox economists simply do not understand this, so get public policy horribly wrong and backwards (neoliberalism) - mostly out of ignorance I’d say, not always overt malice.
So “public money” is the correct terminology to use, but we folks in free software need top be acutely aware of the public purpose involved. the State can always contract or hire private firms to provision the State with software etc., the question is “Why?” If it is proprietary then the State should not be using that software!
Invite me on your show if you want to chat about all this.