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News From The Future-25

NEWS FROM THE FUTURE – The End of Cash, “Don’t show me the money: Why eliminating cash may be the secret to prosperity” By Dominic Basulto at The Washington Post…

Sweden’s push to become the first-ever nation to phase out physical bills and coins marks the next major evolution in the creation of the cashless society. In some areas of Sweden, people no longer need to carry around bills or plastic cards, and payments for everyday items like bus tickets and groceries are made by mobile devices. The ultimate point of arrival, of course, is the creation of the truly cashless society in which all payments are digital and mobile devices contain all the information we once entrusted to our wallets.

BitCoin really didn’t work out, but I’m starting to see a lot of NFC payment methods popping up and swipe-less credit cards. There are even person-to-person dongles like Square. Every few months in the USA you hear more calls to kill off the penny. What do you think Makers? Is cash on its way out?

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Johnny Cash says:

    Not a good idea.

    1. Merglyn says:

      heh. Johnny “CASH” I get it. Very punny.

  2. FredB says:

    Sweden has high bank fees on their cashless transactions. This hurts small businesses like news stands.

    Do you want Big Brother to know everything about every penny you spend? Where you were when you spent it?

    Do you want Big Brother to have the power to turn off your money at a whim? All of it or selectively as in you spent too much on junk food already per government guidelines so no candy for you, transaction denied

    I know that Bjorn Ulvaeus (Who? ed; One of the guys from ABBA, ask your grandparents.) favors this cashless scheme because his son has been robbed. To me that’s a people problem and not a cash problem but, that’s just me.

    1. Merglyn says:

      mmmmm I love the smell of socialism in the morning!

    2. No Agenda Listener says:

      Also, If you spend a lot on junk food or candy, the soon-to-be government run Health Insurance industry will need to raise your rates to be fair to everyone else. And if the people revolt or speak out against the government your money gets turned off like a utility (shut up slave). If there is ever a mistake made (remember, the banks/government will have to track EVERY transaction and EVERY penny everyone has – there are bound to be some problems) there will be no way to buy food, gas or whatever until it gets fixed.

  3. Merglyn says:

    The worst problem comes not from the fees, but rather the physical value. Banks keep track of all of their money, and all of that money exists somewhere. Every dollar in a bank account comes from a real, physical dollar. A lack of this means that crime would be 10X easier. I could start my own paypal, and simply say that I am 100 dollars richer today, and as long as I do it right, I am 100 dollars richer today. As my grandpa always said, and I heartily agree “cash is king.” End of story.
    <3 Merglyn

    1. zing says:

      Not really. Actual physical currency is around 10% of the US money supply, most of it is electronic.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional_reserve_banking

  4. Kingsley D says:

    So you have a yard sale and the government gets its x% sales tax… your kid mows a few lawns for the neighbours and the government gets its x% sales tax.. you lend your pal a hundred bucks and the government gets its x% sales tax.. you would like to buy or pay for goods or services that the government has declared illegal and the government gets its x% sales tax, plus busts your ass. The idea of a cashless society isn’t about convenience or efficiency, it’s about taxation, surveillance and control.

  5. Lurker says:

    It’s important to remember that “cash” in this context, refers to a govt. mandated and controlled payment system, NOT a market derived unit of exchange. The competition the WAPO author espouses is strictly prohibited by law.

    There have been attempts to open up the system to competition, see Rep. Ron Paul’s H.R. 1098 for example. Sad that the author wrote 7 paragraphs yet failed to even mention the one true champion of monetary reform.

  6. KentD says:

    There is a huge hidden economy, and not just illegal activities like drugs or stolen goods. There are also people on disability or Social Security, or who owe money. Even if cash was eliminated, a substitute would emerge, possibly the currency of another country. Dollars are now that currency around the world. Here is one article on the worldwide hidden economy: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/mf_neuwirth_qa/all/1
    As for the penny, back in 1851 when the half-penny was stopped, it was worth an inflation adjusted 10¢. People will not pick up a penny. Stop making them.

  7. Jeff Jukes says:

    The biggest problem is the usual one, what happens when the battery goes flat or the electricity goes off! Until somebody can find a truly uninterruptable power source it won’t happen.

  8. ameyring says:

    What about the poor folks who don’t have electronic devices? The govt or charities will have to provide them. I guess it won’t be much different from the welfare cards many places use.

    1. ameyring says:

      To amend my post, unless poor folks are provided electronic devices they otherwise can’t afford, they may have to keep the plastic welfare cards around, unlike Sweden’s attempt to eliminate them.

  9. Adam O says:

    hmm.. we (sweden) are just about to get our bills and coins updated with new graphics and security measures, and even new values… so seems like the washington post knows something our government doesnt ;)

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