Cashless Society? Eric Dubin And Charles Horton – “Double Crossed Radio”
from UCYTV, via The News Doctors
TND Podcast Spotlight: Double Crossed Radio
Is a cashless society just the natural progression of financial market innovation? Reviewing humanity’s evolution from barter to currency, and the development of electronic payment transactions (debit cards, credit cards, etc.) and clearance systems (the “pipes” of the international banking system and capital markets), a strong case can be made that technology will march forward. Technology can be put to beneficial use, or it can enslave and kill. If indeed a cashless society, or near cashless society, proves to be inevitable, it is theoretically possible to have a system set-up that isn’t dominated by governments, nor vulnerable to security risk and political abuse. But “the powers that be” certainly have other plans!
Chuck and I wanted to give ample spotlight to the horrors that can easily grow out of a cashless society. But if enough people demand a system for and by the common man, it’s theoretically possible to see this technology a force for liberty. Is the liberty route likely? Probably not – at least, not until there’s some sort of catalytic event that wakes up enough people demanding that a cashless society control grid is off the table. It’s also abundantly clear that the current burst of cashless society talk by academia and the financial policy establishment is surfacing now primarily because the “powers that be” are freaked-out about a financial crash and bank runs.
The first salvos in this war on cash have already fired: e.g., bank account withdraw limits; rules put in place to block withdraws from money market accounts and other accounts during a financial crisis; charging interest and/or monthly “service fees” on accounts; capital controls and onerous reporting for international transactions; “bail-ins” where your currency on deposit is expropriated; etc. It’s going to get worse…
During the show, Chuck and I reference an interesting article and a white paper from MasterCard. The article was written by Elizabeth Kolar way back in 1993 and published at Foundation For Economic Education (FEE), which is predominately libertarian and sympathetic to the Austrian School of Economics.
Kolar’s arguments about the progression of technology are compelling. But considering her employer’s reputation as being part of the problem with the political “establishment” (particularly after Diebold moved aggressively into the electronic voting machine market in the 1990s and 2000s) and the publication with FEE, I must confess I did a double-take. Nevertheless, putting political judgments to the side, her basic argument about the progression of technology is probably going to prove correct. Humanity’s challenge is to make sure that if a cashless society develops, that its architecture and function advance freedom and liberty, not power mad governments and the oligarchs that usually control governments.
The MasterCard white paper has interesting country-specific statistics. Naturally, MasterCard would very much like to see a cashless society develop, so it’s good to take a peek at the arguments they make advocating for what will most certainly prove to be a big benefit to their bottom-line!
- Toward a Cashless Society – Elizabeth Kolar’
- Cashless Journey: Tracking the Global Shift to Cashless Societies – MasterCard
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