A comparative historical, legal and policy analysis of informal and formal money transfer systems
With the most central accessory to wealth a reliable methodology for its transfer, this manuscript probes deep inside the oldest and most widespread yet largely unknown financial subculture ever to exist, a mysterious parallel banking system where the movement of money across national borders frequently remains quite invisible, even today. It does so by providing a comparative analysis of formal and informal methods employed worldwide to transfer money, examining operating characteristics of both types of systems together with the surfeit of legal and regulatory regimes endeavoring to control and enforce consistent standards governing them. It addresses the intriguing puzzle of how to gauge the effects informal systems may have upon money supply measurement and management regimes while suggesting a connection between reliable financial data and global economic stability. It details ways in which money transfer systems are used and can be abused while offering divergent perspectives on the ever-present tension between a constitutional democratic republic government's law enforcement role and civil liberties inherent to citizenship, including a discussion of fundamental human rights issues at stake and the legal basis for loss-of-privacy concerns inextricably linked to the present regulatory framework of formal money transfer systems as distinguished from their older anonymous kin. It proposes concrete steps toward re-liberalizing money transfer systems through the attenuation of legal requirements for information presentment to formal money transfer system providers, addressing the question of whether formal and informal systems can coexist in the long term. It does all of the above while positioning informal money transfer system practices in a comprehensive historical context from its millennia old roots through the present, beginning with money's original construct and evolution under the influence of ancient religious texts from value to metaphor-for-value together with its transformation to an invisible and nearly impossible-to-control cloud of particles empowered to roam the globe free and unbound, fed and propelled by human interaction through billions of individual financial transactions continuously undertaken day and night worldwide, a result of which may ultimately be that such arcane characterizations as formal and informal will, as applied to money transfer systems, inform little and matter less.
Cross border transactions