Tainted money

Tainted money

Tainted Money?
Tainted Money?

What if we started tracing how money moves around in our economy, in an open and transparent way?

Hypothetically, Practically (see below(!)), I can start voluntarily taint money that goes through me. Publicize how much money I got from who, and to who do I give it. An extreme way of “voting” with every economic transaction I make. What if organizations started to do this in a standardized way?

Could this make some money worth more than other money?

Could this make our economy more “compassionate”, as Daniel Goleman would put it?

Technically, we can very easily start doing some things in this direction. Open a free account, and start logging our transactions over the net.

Decide that the money I got from here, is going in this direction – and see how it goes (or get stuck) from there on…

A proper meta-data would allow us to ask some interesting questions.

Was a shady business involved in the sources I got this money from?

How is my donation being used?

Did the government just “taint” 1 trillion USD last month??

“I only accept money from vegetarians…”

Stuff like that 🙂

Sounds easy to implement, and could be tons of fun, don’t you think?







<date>March 31st, 2009</date>









<date>April 16th, 2009</date>


<comment>That photo you see up there :)</comment>


Update: a more appropriate representations…






<date>March 31st, 2009</date>


<comment>Income tax…</comment>


5 thoughts on “Tainted money

  1. Interesting idea,
    But even for a person like me, who is not addicted to his privacy, it sounds very scaring, that someone may detect every step I do.
    Personally, most of my purchases are very “ideological” – I buy in little stores in the city center for fighting SUBURBANIZATION etc.
    On the other hand, as I hate the consumerism culture, I buy very little anyway.
    I think this is the usual problem / pradox of the social / ecological activists: we try to change things by bans / encouraging of bad / good business. But who is a real social activist, doesn’t buy too much from the first time, and thus our impact is rather small :).

  2. 1) Regarding privacy – publicize only what you feel comfortable with. People are proud of many of their shoppings, and on many occasions are interested in showing off – to promote ideas / stories / an image.
    2) It’s not the “size” of the transaction that counts… 🙂
    Actually, why not allow for logging of free stuff that’s important to you?

    Don't you just LOVE couch-surfing, reading free books on an open-source linux, listening to Creative-Commons music while drinking fresh orange juice - a gift from mother nature? :)

  3. Interesting

    Regarding privacy – there are VISA that watch over our shoulders.

    I thinks its like the opposite of ban – because no one will write the bad things – only the positive ones.

    This idea is close to one of the LETS (local trade system) I heard of – of something like public account-book.

    Danger of backfire – many commercial are status signatures – “I have an expensive car” –

    What about “fraud” – you need a way to show that the other side got the payment.

    This idea can help make the operations of “etic shops” like Oxfam, fair trade, and so on much more transparent.

    “Local multiplayer 3” (or something like this) of New economic foundation can also benefit from this idea (they use it to help local communities to keep there income stay in the community and not running out of the system – like plugging the holes of a bucket instead of increasing the inflow)

    I need to think about it some more.

  4. Regarding the backfire of “I have an expensive car” – go ahead – brag about your car – that’s the kind of a person you are and it’s OK. What’s not OK is that the company that sells you this car is employing 8 years old. Hopefully, you’ll decide to buy a car from a different manufacturer next time.
    Regarding the “fraud” – same here – lie about your expenses. Just remember that everything you write is going to stay there. If sometime later somebody will deny that you paid him, well,… It’s your word against his. What is not deniable – is that you did use your password to log that transaction in this moment in time. Remember – everything is open.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *