Like everyone else, I try to be a good person. Above all, I resist the urge to make snap judgments about my fellowman. But, I confess, the smug attitude of the tech savvy can set my teeth on edge. David Wolman is tech savvy person. In his book, The End of Money, he writes about the year he decided to live without cash and to make all his financial transactions — large and small — with credit cards, debit cards, PayPal or with a plastic called Squares. Squares attaches to smart phones and iPods and allows a customer to make a purchase without taking his wallet out of his pocket.
These plastic alternatives to money may sound like heaven to a techie, but I say, “Not so fast.” When I peel off those dollars from my wallet, I get tactile and visual feedback that my wealth is diminishing. Plastic substitutes don’t provide that sort of information which is why some psychologists believe the credit card has made debt the national pastime. Worse, these gizmos aren’t any more secure or practical than money. They can be stolen twice over: physically or by electronic means. And are they really convenient? Ever stood behind a bloke who insists upon paying for his latte with a credit card? The cashier waits, the customer waits and all the customers standing in line behind the latte lover also wait as a series of bits and bytes search for each other. Sometimes the transaction goes through on the first try, but often it doesn’t. Then the whole techie dance starts again. If it fails a third time, we wait while the manger is called to confer. How much easier it would have been just to lay $3.00 on the counter and leave.
Aside from the human energy involved to complete electronic transactions, I wonder about the power grid. With all these Facebook Twitter, CD, DVD, music and game users on line mightn’t the system fail? Southern California’s Edison thinks it might. Recently, the company implemented a policy of rolling blackouts this summer to protect its infrastructure. Imagine it: all those techies staring into the dark, blinking their eyes like cave dwellers, immobilized and wondering what to do. If it ever happens where I live, a troglodyte, like me — with no eBook reader, no IPod and no IPad – has a course of action. I’ll light a candle and open up a good book.
(Courtesy of booksonthebible.com)