“World” economics columnist Philippe Escande in his column.
losses and profits. This is a great subject we can offer to bachelor degree candidates sweating their copy on Monday, June 17: What is the basis of power? For a country, the first element is, of course, legal effect, and the second element is, of course, currency. The privileges that accompany the modern state. So it’s no surprise that Facebook, with its 2.4 billion “citizens”, has chosen to create its own currency at a time when the debate is raging everywhere, including in the U.S., over whether it should be disbanded. Money is indeed a powerful vehicle for integration. To strengthen European unity, its promoters created the euro. Speed up transactions and make transactions more economical.
The idea seems bright. No more cash, credit cards, foreign exchange. seamless money. A real revolution should abuse the economic model of banks, consisting of various commissions, especially in card payments and foreign exchange.
But it’s not that simple. Facebook is not a country. However, Europe was not made stronger by the introduction of the euro, thanks to a truly common culture. Instead, it hastened divisions among members. Likewise, Facebook’s “Libra” won’t have much impact on ordering a taxi or a bouquet of flowers, but if it becomes an alternative currency in countries with the most volatile currencies (from Venezuela to Argentina, via India or certain African countries.
Furthermore, the issue of trust, which is the origin of the invention of money, remains. To this end, Facebook has created a foundation in Switzerland, managed by 20 members of its consortium. This community of merchants will act as the central bank and will monitor the use of currencies based on a basket of currencies, of which the U.S. dollar will continue to dominate, as it has in the world of traditional currencies. Therefore, trusted third parties are not as independent as other virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, nor protected by the state like traditional central banks.
But the biggest paradox is that this new ambition for global and private currencies is emerging at a time when the world is increasingly shaped by protectionist and sovereignty-conscious policies. It’s as if Mark Zuckerberg is alone with Facebook in pursuit of a dashed borderless dream.