Sat Feb 28th, 2015 at 04:23:41 AM EST
Considering the interest in alternative currencies, I did not want to leave the discoveries of this community sitting inside a long comment thread. In particular since a write-up I did in Swedish got some attention.
front-paged by afew
First off, the deal includes the infrastructure for an e-currency controlled by the Greek government:
Reform VAT policy, administration and enforcement. Robust efforts will be made to improve collection and fight evasion making full use of electronic means and other technological innovations.
[Public finance] Payment procedures will be modernised and accelerated while providing a higher degree of financial and budgetary flexibility and accountability for independent and/or regulatory entities.
* Devise and implement a strategy on the clearance of arrears, tax refunds and pension claims.
Establish a transparent, electronic, real time institutional framework for public tenders/procurement - re-establishing DIAVGEIA (a side-lined online public registry of activities relating to public procurement)
Improve swiftly, in agreement with the institutions, the legislation for repayments of tax and social security arrears
Step up enforcement methods and procedures, including the legal framework for collecting unpaid taxes and effectively implement collection tools
issuance of a Citizen Smart Card that can be used as an ID card, in the Health System, as well as for gaining access to the food stamp program etc
Then add that both Greece finance minister Varoufakis and its deputy labor minister Antonopoulos has argued tax credits in different forms as a way to finance expansionary policies without deficits.
And then you end up with:
You hand out smart cards to the entire population. They are initially intended for accessing the health system, and for food stamps. Every citizen has an account created by the government. Retailers and health providers need terminals, obviously.
Then, some time later, ta-daa, you roll out Citizen Smart Card 2.0. It's the card you already have, but now you have an "Air Miles" account, with an initial free allocation on it. You can use your Air Miles to pay your tax. Retailers who accept food stamps will accept them for payment too, using them for their own tax liabilities, and exchanging them with other companies (all companies can have an Air Miles account too). Government income support would also be paid through the system, perhaps pensions...
Pretty quickly you have critical mass for a purely electronic currency -- I don't see any immediate need for physical scrip.
And you need to wire up all stores anyway since you want to collect VAT effectively. Who can object to that.
Also add from the program:
GREEK GVT REFORM AGENDA.pdf
Evaluate the pilot Minimum Guaranteed Income scheme with a view to extending it nationwide
GREEK GVT REFORM AGENDA.pdf
[P]rovide targeted assistance to employees between 50 and 65, including through a Guaranteed Basic Income scheme, so as to eliminate the social and political pressure for early retirement which over-burdens the pension funds.
So Greece has in exchange for a bridge loan committed to, among other things, establishing what is in effect an e-currrency controlled by the Greek government and to provide a basic level of support to all citizens, possibly through said e-currency.
Also, having an e-currency in place should make handling a forced exit out of the euro much easier. The digital payment structure is there and physical money can be rolled out in timely fashion. Since this gives a better negotiation position to the Greek government, I would say it also decreases the risk of Greece being forced out.
All in all, quite a coup. It is like only one of the finance ministers involved knows what he is doing.