Saturday, 30 December 2017

Cashless Society 'IF' We need money?





Cash, wonger, greenbacks, denaro, wedge and Benjamin’s
Money is known many names
It’s something we all know about
Some have too much and others too little and for some it’s considered the root of all evil
 But what if it was to go away?

In a world of ever increasing digital currencies, and the surge in their popularity.
We ask what a cashless future may look like, and what implications it may have.
Would it be the paradise of Star Trek, everyone working for the betterment of humanity rather than personal gain or could it be a completely controlled hell?
 Devoid of equality and freedom?
Money in one form or another has been with us since the dawn of civilization. It has come in my shapes and forms. 

The Chinese used bronze to trade in 1100BC
The modern idea of money in the form of coins has been with us since the time of Rome.
Early metal money came in varying forms it was often made from precious metals and used in conjunction with the barter system.
The first known true currency was created by King Alyattes in Lydia, now part of Turkey, in 600BC.
The use of paper as currency began in China and was carried to the West by Marco polo.
Paper money started out as simple I owe you written notes on which the person carrying this paper was promised an amount of something in exchange.
This practice really took hold during the time of the crusades.
The Knights Templar would furnish travelers with these early credit notes. The traveler could then cash them in when arriving at another Temple stronghold at their destination.
This practice led to much of the great wealth acquired by the Templars and we can still see its, and their influence today in the old capital of the Templar empire The City of London.
The City of London is a city and county that contains the historic center and the primary central business district of London.
It is separate to London and holds a lot power even today. It has been a den of secrets for hundreds of year and maybe worth a look into with another video.
if you would be interested seeing that Let me know in the comment below?
So back to cash.
Money did not stop evolving and the introduction of the first digital currency came with the creation of credit cards 1946.
John Biggins pioneered this idea with Charg-It card.
This was a real turning point in the history of money for the first time people trusted in 0 and 1’s instead of gold silver and paper promises.
1999 saw the first mobile banking introduced this in conjunction with the release of the first smart phones.
Today 81% of people use their phones to bank and this figure grows year on year.
Digital is here to stay.
In 2014 things really blew up.
Contactless payment had been with the world since 2008 but as smartphone technology grew more secure more and more people adapted to this payment.
The idea of money being a form data had taken hold. The rise of cryptocurrencies at this time also helping to cement the idea in people’s minds.
Now Money is created traded and exchanged all the time with no physical presence except the device it is being transmitted from.
So we all see the positives of this new way of handling money.
Its convenience, no need to carry around bulky cash less chance of having it stolen the fact that it is an even medium of exchange etc, it would seem the world has embraced these new methods.
So are there any downsides?
 Some experts have reported their fears of the world becoming a two-tier urban system, in this system those with the lowest incomes could become separated from the mainstream digital commercial infrastructure due to their dependency on traditional forms of currency.
This due to the not being able to afford to purchase the relative technologies they would need to keep up with the pace of development.
This could cause splits in society as areas divide along the lines of the currency they use.
The development of smart cities with the latest and greatest devices at everyone’s disposal and a second class using only cash.
The next problem is the power and control this may afford the creators of these currency.
As the old saying goes “he who controls the money controls the world”
our current technological snooping prowess and the ease of which big data manipulation can occur could lead to speculation and manipulation of currency values, something we have seen recently with cryptocurrencies employing the old pump and dump strategy .
Algorithms have been created to monitor suspicious activity but could this morph into a day when the health records of an overweight person would lead to a situation in which they find that any sugary drink purchases they make are declined.
And the line MAY not stop at diet. What about the media we consume could ideas that do not conform be shunned and blacklisted, purchases banned by the currency providers?
The government also has a huge stake in a cashless society.
We see politics and big business becoming ever more interconnected, could we see this relationship between business and government change into a system of totalitarian control.
The government allowing the companies free reign as long as the data is shared and the algorithm works to support government narrative.
The U.S. government has used similar methods to limit the freedom of its citizens before.
 They made it increasingly difficult for companies to operate or individuals to transact by adding compliance hurdles for banks wishing to deal with certain clients.
They did this by making it too expensive to deal with certain clients, this sending the signal that banks should not deal with this client type, the government can then keep that company or person out of the banking system.
In a cashless world you would become a persona non grata.
That thought is scary, very 1984 Orwellian control.
However it could be the tip of the iceberg. If you are found to be subversive or hold views or a lifestyle that counters Government could they ‘with a push of a button’ delete your finances?
What could you do?
And this raises another issue what about those that are experiencing hard times, homeless destitute people often survive through begging. How could they beg for a digital currency?
This problem has begun to rear its head today, In Amsterdam, homeless people selling street magazine Z!, the Dutch equivalent of The Big Issue, struggle to find customers still using cash.
 Z! Trialed card payments by giving a dozen of the city’s vendor’s iZettle readers back in 2013, but the method was deemed too cumbersome.
With the likes of Bitcoin showing no signs of slowing in popularity some may argue that they are antidote to this scenario, the problem is that they need connectivity.
This connectivity could become subject to monitoring, control of bitcoin coming via meta-data and behavioral analysis.
We should be careful of this drive towards cashless living, it is being pushed as a great freedom and a convenient method of transaction but could be a means to our enslavement.
If a dystopian future awaits us is uncertain, there is the real fear that governments may find the power irresistible.
 The controlling of the everyday behavior of their citizens simply because they can or because of some perceived outside threat.
If we move into this world and say good bye to cash could we ever get the freedom it affords us back?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

2 comments:

  1. It's slightly at a tangent, but, there was a really interesting 30-min talk by James Burke on BBC radio on Boxing day about the End of Scarcity. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jvfc4 (Thanks to asinine digital rights, the chances are you'll be blocked from listening if you are not in the UK)

    Anyway his line is: Fast moving developments in nano tech replication mean that within fifty years nothing will have value, because nothing will be scarce. We won't even need cashless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip I am off to search it now.

      Delete

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