Home Topics in Depth Economics Cashless society: A huge threat to our freedom

  • PiedPiper (1183 posts)
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    Cashless society: A huge threat to our freedom


    Econgularity, shorthand for economic singularity, is an ugly word I created to describe an unfortunate approaching moment in time when our current technological snooping prowess, the ease of big data manipulation and our sprint to a cashless economy will converge. This will happen in such a way as to permit governments to exercise incredibly powerful control over all human behavior.

    Tune in to CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Friday at 3pm ET. Signature Bank Chairman Scott Shay will be on, talking about how close we are to becoming a cashless society and the huge threat it is to our freedom.

    While this may sound like a paranoid doomsday scenario to some, as a real world finance professional, I believe that this scenario is not only eminently possible, but most of the technology is already available — albeit not yet fully marshaled — to frighteningly make it reality.

    Technological advances have led to the creation of algorithms that can instantaneously review financial transactions, determining the nature, location and even the appropriateness of a purchase decision. These have been freely used by credit- and debit-card companies.


    May 2016

    Berkshire Hathaway just increased its bet on Visa, which is set to gain as the cashless society becomes a reality.

    The move was relatively small, just a 3% increase in Berkshire’s existing stake, but it casts a spotlight on the payments space, where investors are poised to enjoy strong long-term gains as consumers continue to switch from cash and checks to credit cards, debit cards and mobile payments.

    Leading the cashless race is Sweden, where paper and coins accounted for just 20% of all consumer payments in 2015, according to Euromonitor International numbers cited by The New York Times. But don’t get too hung up on that figure. In the rest of the world, 75% of all transactions are still made using paper money, according to Euromonitor International, so the shift has plenty of room to run yet.

    That’s great news for San Francisco-based Visa, which operates the world’s largest payment network, spread out over 200 countries and capable of handling more than 56,000 transaction messages per second…cont’d




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  • Silver Witch (5426 posts)
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    1. It is not paranoia if it is true.

    It is the direction we are going and I don’t think there is anything we can do about it.  To keep the wage slaves going you must own them, just like the company store and the company home of olden days; one could not rebel because you would have NOTHING if you lost your job, no food, no home.

  • MyDogsBFF (43 posts)
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    2. This scares me tremendously …

    Technology continues to overwhelm every industry and society I can think of, and we do not need technology as currency. However, I am concerned that it may be unavoidable in the next decade or so without fierce resistance by us proles. I switched from a big bank over 10-years ago and could not be happier. I know small local and regional banks are dependent and affected by large money center banks, but I encourage anyone who will listen to run away from JPM Chase, BoA, Citi, WF, etc. Less indentured.

    "When too many Americans don't vote or participate, some see apathy and despair. I see disappointment and even outrage. And I believe that out of this frustration can come hope and action." - Paul Wellstone
  • hypergrove (196 posts)
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    3. Econgularity, a fine invention

    for sharply increasing trends in economic measures.

    I’m wondering if it’s the endpoint(s) that bothers you, or the steward(s) of your transaction history who bothers you?

    Personally I’m divided, as I instinctively prefer an exchange system that promotes a high velocity/turnover of each dollar invested/spent in the economy.  For instance I’d like to prove that a dollar spent on defense is extraordinarily bad for the economy, compared to a dollar for social services.  I’d like to know when a dollar is being used in black markets, that is, I want those transactions to be taxed, according to the law.

    As a strong supporter of public state banks, I’d want them to issue debit cards too.  If the steward for your transactions is a public bank, would you feel better about this unstoppable trend?

    Nice post, thank you PiedPiper.

    J ! Justice, Democrats, Justice ! P ! Primary the Corporatists ! R ! Roosevelt’s 2nd Bill of Rights !