That's not preserving wealth, though, that's risking it. It's an important and valuable thing, to be sure, but there should be some way of being able to hold on to what you've earned without risk.
Why? Value isn't static. Think about pre-currency economies running on barter. Cows are still the primary means of exchange in a lot of east African communities. How do you preserve the value of a herd of cattle? You can't just lock them in a pen for as long as you want, they'll die and begin to rot. You'll have to care for them yourself, or lend or sell them on to someone else in return for something else, such as a contract for future goods or services.
There's no good reason that anyone should expect currency-based economies to function any differently at a fundamental level. Trying to lock up wealth into no-risk hoards is a recipe for stagnancy at best, and we're all be better off with the vitality of constantly fluctuating credit markets. Yes, there is uncertainty and risk from having to invest your savings, but that's simply a reflection of the nature of life and reality, the world around us is constantly changing and we could all die tomorrow. At the moment, the best we can do is pretend that some assets are risk free, such as with insured deposits. But the truth is that such schemes merely move the risk around so that it's borne by other parties, such as governments or private insurers. Even precious metals aren't risk-free, you're counting on other investors and metal brokers to keep up the price for you.
Without that ability, we are all but indentured servants.
Indentured to our own need for scarce resources in order to survive, perhaps. But there's no financial scheme at all which can hope to solve that, it's the fundamental economic problem. There's just no way out until our production becomes unlimited.
No. Economies are active things, people need a constant supply of goods and services to fulfill both basic needs and more frivolous desires. Given that reality, trying to preserve "wealth" in the form of completely inactive assets (like a big pile of gold) is a bad thing, it does no one but the owner any good. Instead, you want people to preserve their wealth in the form of productive assets, stuff which has value to other people because of what it does for them, things like equity in businesses or investment loans.
From a monetary perspective: trying to give people ways to save wealth that doesn't involve any risk encourages people to use those methods, which drains money from the credit market that would otherwise be used to invest in new enterprises.
To put this in context of the Bitcoin issue, I want to be clear that I have no objection to Bitcoin. In fact, I'm kind of hoping that it ends up taking on the role that gold has been serving for a while, as an inert asset with stable supply that's popularly believed to have uses an alternative currency. Then at least we could free up the supply of gold for other, more useful things. Bitcoin does potentially have a role to play in the economy, but it's as a complement to fiat currencies, not a replacement.
Yeah, static currencies are great until you run into a balance of payments crisis or deflation.
I remind you that the government of Cyprus didn't steal anyone's money. The banks were bankrupt, they couldn't honor all the deposit accounts. The government actually borrowed a huge amount of money in order to guarantee depositors retained more of their savings than they would have otherwise.
Everyone could do with a reminder that their bank deposits are loans, not cash vaults. Those investments can sometimes fail. Nor is currency a good way to store your wealth, anyway. It is a means of facilitating exchanges, preserving value is not its purpose.
That Brodwin article attacks "special interest giveaways" in one paragraph, and then bemoans the fact that such trade deals would forbid such provisions as the "Buy American" law in the very next. I'm not sure if that's willfull blindness or he truly doesn't realize the hypocrisy.
I'm sympathetic to Techdirt's concerns with trade deals' promotion of insane IP regulations and the lack of transparency. But I worry that y'all are letting that concern push you into alliance with old-style protectionist populism.
I don't know what you're so worried about, the cooperation is obviously entirely voluntary; companies aren't forced to do anything. If they don't wish to cooperate, they can simply choose to pay the fines instead.
As a technology enthusiast, I pretty much assume that surveillance technology will soon be good enough to make this kind of thing possible regardless of what sort of countermeasures a court could take. Or at least, good enough that effective countermeasures will be prohibitively expensive.
So I wonder if the legal system can adapt to a world where keeping many privileged communications actually secret is impossible. I certainly hope so, as I don't think we can rely on bad actors to be shamed into good behavior by folks like Mr. Geigner telling them that "the judicial process is simply too important to kneecap."
Still there's a lesson here: people would love to see the government create an actual national free public WiFi network. I wonder if any of our representatives or agency directors managed to pick up on that subtext.
>Fighting against encryption is a game that can't be won in the long term.
Although I'd certainly like this to be true, I'm not convinced it really is. Certainly the cat-and-mouse game seems likely to continue indefinitely, but it seems to me that simple nature will always favor the people trying to discover and decrypt information, and not the people trying to keep information hidden and secret.