I ran across terminologies like merchant account service and merchant accounts on the web. I could not help but mused on it in terms of philosophy.
One of my favorite philosophers is Paul Ricouer. His article entitled, "Socius and the Neighbor" is one of my favorite read. Based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the question, "Who is my neighbor?" Ricouer came up with the Socius which he described as the human relationship that one have with an organized group or the person that one can encounter through social function. On the other hand, the neighbor is the personal way that one encounters another as a person, the interpersonal connectivity with varying degrees of intimacy.
Business transactions on the web are done through a merchant account. This allows a merchant or a business owner to accept credit card payments from customers and have the funds deposited into a banking account. Companies provide merchant account services for these business owners and consumers. They assist in processing credit cards and online application of these accounts to put the exchange of goods and services through. These companies have relationships with processing banks. These processing banks do the work that gets the merchants paid for their sales. The whole thing is a depiction of the Socius. It is a relationship on its own which impresses the corporate spirit reigning in the virtual world.
For come to think of it, this relationship differs from the conventional way of handing someone face-to-face with money as payment for goods and services provided. It varies compared to the ancient praxis of barter, where the exchange of goods are meant to establish cultural connections.
The systemic process of merchant accounts and services deals with people as organizations through impersonal manner. It involves exchange in a maze between people occupying spaces miles apart. They can be faceless but never credit-card-less. This way it oftentimes poses threats of fraud and entails high risk. It would be good to refer to a merchant account specialist who can deal with it the "neighborly," the personal way.
It is amazing that the Socius which deals on the web brings with it the presence of the neighbor in its dealings with merchant accounts. For on a deeper level, there is global interconnectivity which is working and exchanging online. They may be dealing impersonally and corporately but they cling on to one personal value and that is trust.
Merchant accounts and services as a system embody the socius and the neighbor where a person deals with the world through one's social function or through one's call.
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