I don’t care what you think of me. I like money. I’m not talking about quantity. I’m talking about money as a form of payment. The financial industry is coaxing consumers to move to a cashless society. All I have to do is allow someone to stick a computer chip at the end of my finger. It’s so easy, once the bleeding stops.
Surprisingly, the chips are everywhere. In Sweden, the takeover is so complete, writing a check or using an ATM is ancient history.
Chips mean you’ll never again have to take out your wallet. Money has so many drawbacks, say digital promoters. It’s dirty. Some blaggard may attempt to steal it. Worse, we lose it.. Paying in cash wastes time at the register, as well. On the other hand, with electronic currency, money laundering will be a thing of the past. Digital transactions, other than Bitcoin, are harder to hide. (“The End of Cash?” by James Surowiecki, Town&Country, Feb. 2019, pg.84.)
Too many people are buying into these arguments for my liking. In South Korea, where digital commerce is also big, no one worries that every transaction is recorded. Who cares about the lack of privacy?
Okay. But consider the jobs lost, from the bank tellers to bank guards. And what about folks who live on transitory incomes –the homeless who collect tin cans, day workers, and those who are sometimes paid off the books, like nannies, gardeners and housekeepers? How are they to become a part of the digital system?
Convenience is only one reason commerce is pushing for a cashless society. They want to increase profits. Paying fewer workers fattens the bottom line. And, let’s not forget another reason. Studies show when people see money flying from of their wallet, they tend to spend less. (Ibid, pg. 107)
As for talk of convenience, what happens when the system shuts down, as it so often does, thanks to electrical storms, a breakdown in the grid and cyber-attacks? Visa in Europe suffered a 10 hour shutdown last June which “sent shock waves through the continent’s economy.”(Ibid, pg. 107.)
I’ll keep my money, thank you. Tracking it is preferable to being tracked. I’ve been counting my pennies since my first piggy bank. Yes, money is dirty. That’s why my mom taught me to wash my hands.