Books and documents:
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà, Brauli Tamarit Tamarit.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Agustí Chalaux de Subirà.
Magdalena Grau, Agustí Chalaux.
Chapter 4. The good use of instruments.
Another «responsibilizing-informative» use of currency
does not depend, however, only from the good will and the morality
of the people, but it depends also on the type of currency, that is from
the features of the monetary instrument.
We are easily tempted to consider that the good or bad use of an instrument
depends almost exclusively on the good or ill-will of the user. We will
not deny the importance of this good or ill-will, but it must be acknowledged
that the design itself of an instrument can lead to its good or ill use.
The information the user has on the dangers and possibilities, the sanction
or impunity for its misuse, the type of built-in security mechanism, its
success among population, the myths surrounding it... are a number of variables
which help and bring about a given use of any instrument. The hunting and/or
war instruments, from the dagger, the spear and the bow to the shotgun,
include, in each culture and historical moment, this compound of «precautions»
and «forethoughts» which become more complex as the instrument
Nowadays, when we speak of technology, not only must we keep in mind
the hardware (the instrument, the device...) and the software (the rules
which allow the use of the hardware), but also what is called «brainware»
or «knoware» (why, how, when, where... the hardware and the
software must be used1).
«To play with fire» is an expression which indicates the
danger in the use of some given instruments: Every instrument has its context,
which is either useless and/or dangerous (a knife thrown on a beach, a
car for sailing). The use of any instrument requires a minimum training
and/or ability (you do not give a knife to a child, nor a car to somebody
who can't drive). The more dangerous an instrument, the more precautions
there are to be taken (the sheath of a dagger, the safety belt). There
are control instruments which are used for «measuring, documenting,
recording... the use of other instruments (meters, recorders...) in order
to know the limitations, consumptions or responsibilities (speedometers,
Among these instrumental changes some are especially significant: the
self-control instruments of any system, being apparently unimportant, have
nontheless a great importance to reach a balance of the system, whether
with respect to its effectivity or to the responsibility of its users.
In the first case we have, for example, all the self-regulating cybernetic
instruments (thermostat, gyropilot...). In the second case we have the
self-documentation systems (coach tachymeters, which give documentary evidence
of the driver's imprudence, the black boxes of airplanes, which record
any mechanical or human failures). Nobody is surprised that these self-regulating
and self-documenting instruments are introduced in complex or high strategic
value systems. On the contrary, we seem to feel some sort of anguish to
use these systems for the self-regulation and self-documentation of such
delicate, complex and important instruments as economy, politics, justice
We acknowledge the right of the monetary authorities to put limitations
to the invention of money by the banks, but the instruments they have available
are generally ineffective and insufficient. We accept that Justice must
support the lawful State and the equality of everybody in face of the law,
but the instruments are insufficient and ineffective, both with respect
to documentation and to their actual independence in face of the State
and in face of factual powers.
What features should an information system have, to allow the improvement
and responsibilization in decision taking at all levels (territorial, district,
State) and fields (politics, market, justice...)? Let us itemize some of
- it should not be bureaucratic, it should not need endless officials, inspectors
- it should be as automatized as possible, it should not need complicated
declarations or documentations.
- it should not be under the Ministry of Finance, or the police, or the executive,
or private companies, i.e. it should not be in the hands of anybody having
the ability to act against the citizens beyond or below law.
- it should respect and protect everybody's privacy, but this should not
be an excuse to conceal irresponsibility and crime, either public or private.
- in matters of general interest -not personal- it should be transparent
and accessible, that is within reach of the different levels of understanding.
- it should bring about a better production and distribution of goods within
an ecological framework.
- it should bring about a better participation and responsibility in political
We should therefore find which of the present informative instruments or
systems could offer these features, after the necessary modifications.
It is possible that in this search we find that the monetary system
can be adapted in a conscious way, so that it offers these features in
a consistent and democratic framework.
Therefore, in the case of currency (hardware) we must study in depth,
to what extent its features (software) are favourable to some given antidemocratic
and antieconomic uses (brainware), and to what extent it is possible, socially
and technically, to modify these features in order to improve their positive
functions, with a minimum of negative malfunctions, as it is done with
any instrumental or technological problem.
Zeleny (1985), «La sfida della complessità», Feltrinelli,