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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Social choice and technical problems in electronic funds transfer systems


Over the last decade, plans for using computer-based sytems to automate the transfer of debits and credits have moved from a technologist's pipe dream to an emerging reality. During the last few years, several components of this technology have been developed in prototype form and have begun to be implemented on a large scale, while such systems promise financial benefits for the institutions that exploit them, they also raise significant social, legal, and technical questions that must be resolved if full-scale systems for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) are not to cause more problems for the larger public than they solve. This paper examines the benefits that EFTs may provide and the social problems they raise in the context of enduring value conflicts.

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