Ocasio-Cortez compares Libra to "company scrip" at Congressional hearing

18 Jul, 2019 | Updated: 18 Jul, 2019
by David Robb
News
Ocasio-Cortez compares Libra to company scrip at Congressional hearing

Calibra chief David Marcus fielded questions about the Libra project from U.S. officials today, at the second government hearing in two days. One of the most vocal critics of Facebook's new currency was Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, as reported by CoinTelegraph.

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives have expressed worries about the Libra project ever since its whitepaper was launched around a month ago. Facebook's privacy violations have been a major source of controversy over recent years, and the prospect of one of the world's most influential private companies being able to effectively print its own money is another cause for concern.

As one of the most prominent political figures currently opposing the excessive influence of private capital over American politics, and U.S. society in general, Ocasio-Cortez was predictably reluctant to be swayed by Marcus' reassurances that Facebook and Calibra (the subsidiary set up by the social media giant to develop Libra) will play by the rules and have the public's best interests at heart.

At today's congressional hearing, the young Democrat drew a comparison between Libra and 'company scrip': "You stated yesterday in front of the Senate Committee that you would be open to accepting 100% of your pay in Libra. In the history of this country, there is a term for being paid in a corporate-controlled currency … It’s called 'scrip'. The idea that your pay could be controlled by a corporation instead of a sovereign government. Do you think that there is any risk here?".

Scrip has been illegal as a form of payment in the U.S. since 1938, in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Ocasio-Cortez also pointed out that the governance of Libra will be entirely undemocratic, being composed of Facebook's private partners who have paid handsomely for their position. She also pushed Marcus for technical details about Libra, and about currencies in general. He claimed that "sovereign currency should remain sovereign", but didn't give an opinion on whether Libra should be considered a public good.

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