Business & Finance

The cashless society

The cashless society
January 12th, 2010
Author: Jeff Taylor

According to the Telegraph there is the distinct possibility that the ‘cashless society’ may be just around the corner. In the report, Steve Perry of Visa Europe argues that card payments are cheaper than cash. What our Steve hasn’t hoisted in is that cards ARE cash. Or maybe he has but does not want us to realise the concept. The main reason for a noteless and coinless society he says is that electronic is cheaper.

In the same way that coloured beads, split sticks and ‘ Wampum’ were used as immediate vehicles for transferring value, printed notes and coins do the same but so do credit and debit cards.

But here’s the crux of the matter. Beads, sticks, Wampum, notes and coins were physically held by the owner. The contents of a debit or credit card account are held and controlled by a third party on the ‘owners’ behalf. And that third party will have to account for the movement of that value to a government for tax (and other) purposes.

Getting rid of notes and coins is not getting rid of ‘cash’. It is getting rid of one type of cash, the type of cash that ensures anonymity. Because all transactions by debit and credit card will be monitored and analysed by computers linked to whoever.

Great you say. No more unaccountable payments to dodgy plumbers. No more prostitution that relies so much on notes and coins. No more drug pushers on street corners. No more tax evasion. ‘If you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear’ from the computer snoopers.

“Ah! But Mrs Smith, we notice you’ve purchased more that the health recommendations allow for chocolate éclairs. You’ve also smoked over 20 cigarettes a day and had three MacDonalds fatty burgers this week. I also see that your husband has a penchant for the local newsagent ‘top-shelf’ products and that your son has bought a book that is on our ‘suspect list’. Also, looking at your overall spend, we see a discrepancy with your tax return.So you can understand why we are doubling your personal taxes, freezing your assets and raiding your house. After all if you’ve nothing to hide …….. .”

Sound a bit over the top? Alarmist? Of course that wouldn't happen here? Well, governemnt and local authorities have a history of misusing laws and information to their own ends. All that data exists for card payments already. Supermarkets and card issuers (banks) use it for marketing purposes. With all payments electronically based do you really think we can keep the government's grubby paws off of the data? There is also already talk of imposing a 'Tobin tax' on financial services transactions. A society where only electronic transactions took place would be a temptation no government could resist. And the new tax would only take the cost of transactions back to about the level of when we used notes and coins so what's the problem?

Every aspect of our lives bar-coded and reduced to digits that any busy-body can scrutinise. A nation (if not a world) of digitised consumers and taxpayers.

1984 is breathing fire down our necks, cash in the form of notes and coins may actually be the last refuge of our real individual freedom. But only for the poor of course.

There will be many people who will want to evade this system. Those who are wealthy and don't want their children's inheritance taxed out of existence for example. The rich will accumulate other means of transfer such as rare metals. They after all won't be allowed to get caught in the tax trap. A whole parallel system, a new form of 'cash' could evolve for them. For the rest of us I see a lot more bartering and direct swapping of goods and services returning to society as we try to eke out our living.

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12 Responses to “The cashless society”

  1. Brett Farrell says:

    It will happen primarily because of the convenience of it all. It does not take long to get use to a debit card. Not to mention that more and more services and sales are conducted online which makes the debit card even more essential. I like to tell myself that none of this paranoid rambling will happen in my life time but in reallity it could but yet it is still not going to stop me from using my debit card.
    Well many conspiracy theorist will renounce myself and my ways as stupidity and blindness, i'll take my annointed lot for it leaves me somewhere between happiness and contentment. As soon as someone goes to far I'll leave it to the paranoids to blow the whistle and then I'll look into it. In the meanwhile I'll embrace progress as opposed to bartering a bunch of self raised chickens and misc. livestock from my own backyard.

  2. Mickey S says:

    The bigger a government grows & exspands its powers the more freedom the people lose. Busy bodies politicans always seem to protect their wealth & power while stealing the hard earned money of the little people thru taxes,regulations,fees,manipulation of the monetary system by giving control to central banks. The US polititions were highjacked by the progressives that allowed the private bank owned by banksters called the Federal Reserve in 1913 to make Americans think the banking system was a part of gov which was totally false. Now after many years of booms & busts Americans are waking up to what the Fed & its banking parters have done to our monetary system. The true unemployment rates in the US is 20+% & rising while the wall st banks are still loaded with toxic waste they create. America went from a savers naion to a debt based nation under the Feds unsound ponzie style of monetary policy that feeds how politicans can spend without true responsiblity to the people. They act more like kings or dictators than servents to up hold the Constitution. Only those that gave big money to elect Obama have got the sweet deals,thus leaving the middle & lower class to bear the burden of the progressive movement.
    But there is a huge movement in the US to fire the progressives of both parties in 2010. It may not be to late to reverse some of damage,but it will take years of pain to rid our nation of banks that use Usuary,fee after fees to rob the workers.
    The barter system is alive & well in the nation's small towns where community banks are not leveraged up like the JPM,GS, both with Trillions in derivatives that have no vaule, & when these come due, the tax payers Will not allow he gov to steal from them again.
    As far as debit & credit cards,americans are trying to get out of debt or filing chapter 7 to cancel their debt & get gov out of their life. No FIAT CURRENCY is safe,nations are devauleing at a fast rate & this does not go over well to the people whos paper money buys half in one day. But those that are holding physical gold & silver have lost nothing.! The big World Default is here, so get prepared for a time that only the very old remembers & knows how to survive,because your government is @ucking BROKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. jimh says:

    Its not about whether someone has anything to hide. Its about freedom and slavery.

  4. vic says:

    every transaction via debit or credit card has a fee for the retailer. So everyone gets higher prices because of the new business expense and the visa earns $.25 everytime a purchase is made anywhere in the world. This help society how?

  5. Angry says:

    Stop talking about it and do something. I use CASH only. I will never get a credit/debit card. FTS. I dont want anybody knowing what I buy.

  6. pheasguide says:

    The credit card companies usually charge 4% from a merchant. I do not know if that figure changed in the last decade. The entity that stands to make the most is the credit card companies or in essence the large global banks Bank of America Citi, and other banks offering credit or debit cards. Throw them all out. Ron Paul fiscal responsible money-Real money is the answer not more elec. money.

  7. Sean says:

    There are no fees using cash. No gimmicks. Cash works best when there is no power. Electronic transactions become worthless.

  8. voodoo says:

    i carry a debt check card on my key chain with my car keys. its so easy to use, every time i go i just swipe and go. every ninute i can save on a tracsaction time is more time for me to spend doing other things. i wish i could thumb print and make shopping even faster. more time to lay in the pool. i dont care if they see my purchased. any one with that much time to track all our transactionl, well good luck with that. my sis hates the data mining so i hear it from both sides. she is right but i want more tech to make life easier. if the food police come to the door because i bought a big bag of doritos i guess ill offer him a beer to go with them. lol if they come for my shoes or choc bars they must come with the army. roflmao voodoo

  9. fed up says:

    Hey why don't we just skip to the next step and bring in the mark, you know, the mark on the right hand or the forehead. That way we would be in line with what the bible has to say about the last days. Just think, we could get rid of all these evil bastards a lot sooner if we just agree to go along with their plans for world domination, bringing in the anti-Christ and even Armageddon. Heck maybe if we are real lucky we will get rapture d and not have to sick around for any of this crap.
    Give me a break , you really want everything you do to be recorded on some computer somewhere? Not me, I will continue to do what I can to keep what I spend my hard earned dollars on as private as I can. Including refusing to use their preferred customer cards.

  10. Blong says:

    People will use gold and silver to buy weed and other black market goodies!

  11. mizner park apartments says:

    For me it isn't that people are "paid what they are worth" so much as the systemic over-valuation of the work performed. How is it possible, with massive layoffs and downsize–the market awash with employees–that compensation continues to increase? These bankers are the same folks who advise corporate management . . . doesn't such a practice call into question the validity of the advice? Lastly, could it be that the "bonus pool" is a third lower this year than previously because of "supply" being taken out of the market? That is to say, since Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearn, and Lehman, no longer "exist" the bonus pool dropped because of fewer employees?